2 Steps to Composing Killer Chord Progressions

Every guitarist wants to be able to create killer chord progressions. However, a lot of guitarists struggle when trying to come up with them. 

This commonly occurs because the guitar player has not invested enough time into two primary areas. In this post we'll examine what these ares are, and how to build your skills for them...

The first weakness that a player will tend to have is an inability to comprehend harmony. This means that the guitar player has to spend the time to learn the process for how chords fit together.

If you have no concept of what other types of "Minor Chords" fit well with say perhaps the "G Minor Chord," then all of your composing is based upon trial and error against that "G Minor." And, that style of "test this - test that" composing can be very difficult, or even impossible to create decent chord jams within a short time period.

If you know and understand musical keys and harmony you would comprehend that the "G Minor" chord fits well with other minor chords in its key center, like the, "C Minor" and "D Minor." You would also know that "G Minor" fits nicely with a few Major chords as well, like the "Eb Major" and the "F Major."

Try this daily test, for one month... Take a scale (major or minor) and off of every note of that scale create a chord for each degree. Let's try this with "F Minor."

Example: Key of "F Minor"

Pick a new key every day for a month. Study the notes of the key and build a harmony for the key. After one month of doing this simple exercise, you'll have a fantastic ability for being able to know all of the chords that relate to every musical key.

If you are unsure for how chords are constructed from key signatures, then watch my video lesson on "Harmonizing the Major Scale."

Once a musician understands keys and harmony they can build chord changes quickly from any chord at any time.

The “rhythm /groove" side of guitar playing is the other piece of the "Killer Chord Progression" formula. In order to gain the ability to create better rhythm guitar riffs, you will need to become aware of various new ways to combine different rhythms.

In making a study of that work, you can enhance your rhythm guitar playing well beyond what you may have considered as possible.

Rhythms are the foundation that lay the groove of the piece. Without a good groove, you will quite likely never have a solid connection to your listeners feel. Try using the "Rhythm Development Exercise" shown below for 30 days. Test all kinds of grooves and come up with a new groove every day for 30 days.

30 Days of Groove

Here's how the daily routine will work...

- Find an interesting yet simple rhythmic pattern (it must not be based upon actual pitches). The rhythm part can be something you invent, or something that you have taken from an already existing song. You could perhaps use a song in a style that you never compose in. For example, if you always play Rock, try taking the groove from a Katy Perry song, or an Ed Sheeran song.

-  Apply the groove that you have selected for that day using at least two (2) different sets of chords, in two different keys. Try and have a group of chords that use at least 3 chord types from your key center.

Example: Groove using three chords (key of "D Major")

By doing this very simple exercise for 30 days, you will quickly improve your rhythm guitar creativity. Also, you can do this the other way around: Take one chord and play that chord on the guitar using a variety of different rhythmic patterns.

 Example: Rhythm development study played on one chord.

These exercises will give you many new ideas for guitar riffs to use in your music. Spend the time on developing them, the benefits far out-weigh the study time involved for the relatively short 30 day period.



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