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Chords from within the same key always sound good when played together but there are countless ways of moving away from the 'related' chords. One of the most common ways is to turn the normally minor chords into dominant 7ths, which means 'majorizing' them (my term) , since dominant chords are always major. Another favorite is to turn the normally major IV chord into a minor. Many of the finger style lessons I post here have examples of both those deviations from the diatonic (meaning 'from the major scale'). There is certainly no rule that says you need to stick to those 7 related chords when composing music. Music would become pretty boring if that were the case.

Trickier chord progressions

Progession 1
This one is in 4/4 time, meaning 4 beats per measure. The full progression repeats 6 times. Try starting out with one strum per bar, then try following the piano -- 4 strums per bar.

Progession 2
This one is in 2/4 time, or 2 beats per measure. I added a bass in this one, don't let it confuse you. Just follow the piano sound, one strum on the first beat of each measure.

Progession 3
Another in 4/4 time. This one is a blues progression in A. Notice that you need to change chords halfway through bars 1 and 6. Follow the piano, two strums per measure.

Progession 4
This one is in 3/4 time, a Waltz. Try one strum on the first beat for a while, then try leaving the first beat out and strumming beats 2 and 3 like the hi-hat sound is doing.

I've made four animated videos (above) with some fairly simple chord progressions that you can play along to. I have used most of the open chords you've learned so far. You'll hear that I made the audio tracks in a midi program and didn't use any guitars, I used a piano sound for the chords and I also included a simple drum track so you can hear the tempo. I think you'll find it easier to hear if you're the only guitar playing and it will get you used to playing along with other instruments early on.

Tuning your guitarThe diagram to the left shows the layout of the movies.

• At the top you can see the full progression broken into bars, or measures. The current beat is indicated with two red bars and you'll be able to see it move along in the time-line. You can also see the current beat as a number in the lower right and I underlined beat 1. It's always good to know where (or when) One is.

• The great big letter centre frame is the current chord and (in case you haven't been practicing enough) I also included the chord diagram.

• At the bottom of the frame you'll see the name of the next chord fade in to remind you of what's coming up in the progression so you can prepare your brain, hand and finger.

Chord progressions are the backbones of all the tunes you will be learning. You will begin to see, and hear, that many tunes use the same progressions and that only the melodies change, that some progressions are 'traditional', like the 12 bar blues progression. Progressions are what you will find in tab sites and song books, so learn your chords and get used to changing from one to another Practice as many progressions as you can so that you won't be thwarted by unusual changes. Think ahead, plan the next move well in advance. So far we've looked at the open chords, and there are many tunes that you can play that stick to the open chords, but what you'll need to master, to play through any progression, are barre chords, so ...