GUITAR STYLES: Ragtime Guitar Progressions

April 14, 2017:
Ragtime Guitar Progressions

PART ONE:  The first exercise helps guitar players who are unfamiliar with the style develop the basic Ragtime plucking pattern. Example one uses two dominant 7th chords provided in the third fingerboard position. The study offers up the traditional interior string fingerstyle picking pattern found in Ragtime guitar. The pattern from example one also employs an alternating bass-note idea, (found in hundreds of Ragtime riffs).

Example two adapts a syncopated Ragtime rhythmic variation that involves several dominant 7th chords along with picked embellishments that tie together the harmony of the progression. This technique is extremely popular to the Ragtime style and helps the guitarist to better comprehend the syncopated 16th swing groove found in progressions of this style.

PART TWO: In the second half of the lesson, we begin in example three with a study of the "II-V-V" chord changes. This movement is very common in Ragtime with dominant 7th chord harmonies used across these progressions. Example three explores two similar endings that apply traditional Ragtime guitar phrases from the key of, "G."

In example four, our focus shifts to the sound of the Ragtime style Boogie progression. This set of chord changes creates a Ragtime progression in the key of "G." Even though this riff may not occur as often as the alternate bass fingerpicked riffs, it is still an important groove to learn. Practice this progression, then after you've developed it, transpose it to other chords and other keys.

Develop the phrases included in this lesson plan and expand from here by learning how to play some of the classic Ragtime numbers. One of the easier songs to start with is the piece, Freight Train, by Elizabeth Cotten.

Paid members can download the handout along with the MP3 jamtrack in the members area at:



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  1. As I am a new guitarist, there are so many things that I am very much unfamiliar. There is so many experts has told that as many strings you will have the easier to learn any types of music. It's much harder to play the fewer numbers of strings.
    I have heard before about the Ragtime Guitar Pattern, but I am not so much comfortable with this. Now I have some basic idea about the ragtime pattern. Can I know the full course progress and price, please?

    1. Can you contact me about your specific questions. Use the contact form on the site...