3 Chord Moves You Have to Hear

How are your chord sub's? If you're like a lot of guitar players, they aren't too great... In this lesson we’re going to talk about how you can build new chord moves into your progressions very easily by way of simply using three different chord substitutions. Two are from the world of 7th’s and one, is from the 11th chord. Best of all these chord substitute ideas are easy to apply and sound fantastic...

Most guitar players, (once they’ve learned the basics about harmony), tend to stick with diatonic chords. And, that's cool, but after awhile you might get a little bored with the basic chords.

So, when the boredom starts to strike - build upon your sound by testing out the effects of Minor 7, Dominant 7, as well as, Dominant 11th chords and use them as basic substitutes. It's easy to do and it sounds awesome.


The first progression that I have for you will be from within the key signature of “C Major.” It will function as our foundational progression. It does not use any substitutes.

This is a straight diatonic chord progression from "C Major" and it focuses on the primary 3-chord theory of the key, (which means we’re using the 1st, 4th and 5th chords). 

Progression 1).

What we’re going to do next is build upon the harmonic motion of the progression by adding in the key’s “II-chord” of Minor 7th. This offers us the chord of "Dm7."

The "Dm7" will act as a substitute into the mix, (used to enhance the progressions harmony). This "Minor 7" substitute chord will be added into the third measure right before playing our diatonic V-chord of “G7.”

NOTE: This chord does not "have" to be placed in the flow of chords where I have used it in the following example. It can be placed anywhere within the progression.

Minor 7 substitute process is a simple one to add into a progression, because all we are doing is simply adding another diatonic chord. However, when applied, it works great to enhance the flow of the harmony.

 Progression 2).

The “Mi7” substitute effect is an easy one to add in. Plus, it offers us a subtle color enhancement across the chords.

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that the "Minor 7" substitute effect is closely related to the sound and color of the "IV-chord" ("F Major" in the case of our example).

This means that, the application of this substitute will more strongly connect harmonically to similar effects that are tied to the use of the, "IV-chord."

There’s another strong effect that we can include which uses a similar trick, and it’s based upon the sound of “Dom. 11th.”

In this "Dom. 11" situation, we will once again add in the substitute chord to our 3rd measure alongside of the key’s “V-Chord.”

 Progression 3).

By this point I'm sure that you’re starting to get an idea for how easy this process is (of adding in simple substitutes around common chord changes).

There is one more idea that I want to cover before we wrap things up, and that’s the sound of adding in another “Dominant 7th” against the Root chord of the key signature.

In the key of “C Major,” we can create a smooth harmonic effect by adding a “C Dom. 7th” chord up against the root chord of, “C Major” to start off our progression in the first measure.

To really spice things up I’ll keep that, “II-chord” substitute and add it into the 2nd measure, plus I’ll also maintain the use of that “G11” in the third measure… Here’s how all of this sounds…

 Progression 4).

Be sure to head over to review all of the guitar courses that are found on my website at CreativeGuitarStudio.com

I’ve got step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses that work alongside of in-depth elective programs to form the best guitar course available.

The courses have been designed so as to help you learn to identify where you're at, and what's required to get you up to that next level of guitar playing, in a very organized step-by-step way, that simply makes sense.

So, I look forward to helping you further at CreativeGuitarStudio.com



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