Master This Magic Chord Progression

Check out this free lesson from Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman on the must-know 1 – 4 -5 chord progression. This is the most common chord progression in music and guitarist should Master This Magic Chord Progression.

1 - 4 - 5 Chord Progression


Hey everybody how’s it going? This is Darrin with bringing you this video lesson and today I want to talk about the 1-4-5 chord progression. So this is a question that I get asked about a lot. You hear in other lessons, you know they’ll talk about songs and they will say this is a one four five, so this just seems to be a topic that has a lot of confusion around it; but it’s actually incredibly simple if you just break it down and you can already do this if you just know some basic chords, you just don’t know that you can already do this. So be sure to click on the link in the description to get the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look.

1 – 4 – 5 Chord Progression

All right, so first thing lets just talk about what a chord progression is. So you already have chords you know; your C and your G, your D, A minor, you know you’ve got all these different chords and when you play a song they’re all put together in a sequence. So you might have something like this. So what that is, is a chord progression, it’s the group of chords that are put together in a certain order and they have a certain duration.

So first of all the 1-4-5 is the most commonly used chord progression across the board and you should Master This Magic Chord Progression. There’s countless songs in any genre you can think of that are all using the one four five chord progression. So simply how we want to break that down is that if you take the major scale and you play the first fourth and fifth note from it, so here we’ll start with G. So the G major scale, if you do not already know the major scale you can actually click right here on the screen and you can go to the lesson that I did just recently on the scale. So if we’re looking at the key of G, I’m starting here on the third fret of the low E because that’s a G and I ascend up to the fourth tone, one, two, three, four and then five. So I have G, C and D, so that’s the one four five, that’s my root note. So now you need to look at the chords that will be based off of that, so in the key of G major the one chord is a major chord, the 4 chord is a major chord and the 5 chord is a major chord. But the one chord can also be a major seventh chord, the 4 chord can also be a major seventh and the fifth chord can be a dominant seventh. So if you really want to dig in into how you determine what chords are based out of the scale then there’s another lesson that I recommend that I’ll put the link right here and this is on a lesson I did on where you can go through and it shows you each chord for each tonality of the major scale, which is just incredibly useful for not only figuring out how to play other songs, but for writing your own songs.

Okay so another simple way that we can determine what one four or five is that you can take starting note, so let’s say we’re going to start here on the fifth fret, so that’s an A, so the note that is straight up from that is D, which is your four chord; the fourth is always just on the same fret on the next string and it’s that way across all the strings except the third and the second and I’ll explain in just a second. So if we were to start here on the fifth fret of the A string, that’s our one chord, our four chord is on the fifth fret of the D string and then the five chord is always one step up from the four chord. So if our 4 chord is on the fifth fret of the D string, our 5 chord would be rooted on the seventh fret. So again we could do A major, D major and E major or we could do A major seven, D major seven and E dominant seven or any combination thereof. You can also do it just with simply with power chords. So you know you just take your power chord shape because a power chord, the most commonly used one is a fifth, so we take that same idea you can get you a Ramones style riff, that’s one four five but just using power chords.

Now you don’t have to use bar chords or power chords necessarily, you can still achieve this by using open chords that you probably started with and if you’re a beginner that you may not even have advanced to bar chords yet; so we could do the same idea with A major, D major and E major, so any combination like that. Now when I was talking about knowing where one four and five is I said it’s always that shape, but when we go from the G string to the B string, the B string is tuned a half step lower, so we have to compensate for that, so our four instead of being on the same fret it’s going to be up one fret. So on the G string it would be the fifth fret and then on the B string your four chord would be rooted off of the sixth fret and then up a whole step from there to the eighth fret for your five chord.

Song Examples

So this one four five progression like is used in lots and lots of stuff. So if we look at a song like Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door; G – D – C, so it’s one four five, but then the second time around it actually changes. Now it’s G – D – A minor, so the first part of is 1 – 5 – 4 actually, but you can take those three chords and you can change the order up on them. So 1 – 5 – 4 and then 1 – 5 – 2 because it goes to A minor and that is the chord that starts on the second degree of the major scale. So another kind of a cool thing that can be done that’s done with the 1 – 4 – 5 is your typical blues.

So this is another thing you hear about is a 12 bar 1 – 4 – 5 blues. A typical one would be in the key of E, our low E string is our one chord so if we go straight up since we’re not playing on a fret we’re playing the open string it would be your open A string and our 5 is the second fret because we’re going a whole step from the open A string, but it doesn’t really have a bluesy kind of a sound, so you could substitute that with seventh chords. So if we take E and we just remove your third finger so now that the D string is being played open that’s e7 and if we take our A chord and we change that so our G string is open that is A7 and then we have B7, second fret of the A string with my second finger, first fret of the D string with my first finger, third fret of the G string with my third finger and then the B string is open and the second fret of the high E with my fourth finger, that’s b7.  So you have two bars of the one chord and one bar of four chord and then back to two bars of the one chord and then two bars of the four five chord, one bar of the four chord and then back to two bars of the one chord; that’s your typical twelve bar 1 – 4 – 5.

So if you enjoyed this video Master This Magic Chord Progression please give me a thumbs up. Leave a comment down below if there’s something you’d like to see covered in a future lesson by myself or one of the other instructors here at Thanks for watching and have a great day.

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