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How to Create Beautiful Chord Progressions

What is your first instinct when somebody asks you to play a C chord? Depending on your knowledge of music theory, you might bust out a second inversion C major triad. Or you might opt for a luxurious C Major7 (9) chord. Still others will default to the classic open-position C shape we learned in our beginning phases.

These are all correct responses, but understanding how to implement each of these variations to construct the most expressive music is an extremely useful exercise, especially when you’re a developing songwriter or improviser.

In my Guitar Super System course, I provide an array of chords and demonstrate how to integrate them into your guitar playing so you can access them in any musical situation, whether you’re writing the next hit song or just trying to convey the sound that resonates with you.

In this video lesson, we’ll take a generic chord progression and transform it into something that feels like a real guitar part. There are multiple strategies you can put into action, such as using a different picking technique, substituting chord forms and even adding new chords as transitional bridges.

Understanding how to execute these tactics will come from emphasizing creativity in your own guitar playing, so everyone will have a different outcome. As musicians, we have an innate desire to express the music we hear in our heads, and an understanding of music theory is helpful in providing a multitude of different choices to assemble truly beautiful chord progressions and melodies.

In the end, whether you understand harmonic analysis or prefer to rely on your ear to tell you what’s right, you’ll find that being mindful of each chord in a given chord progression and how they work together will dramatically effect the end result.

Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric website Music is Win. His entertaining guitar-related content receives hundreds of thousands of video views on Facebook per month, and his online guitar courses tout more than 1,500 students with a cumulative 4.7 rating on Udemy. Get in touch with Tyler on Facebook, watch more of his guitar lessons and vlogs on YouTube, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.