Note: These videos are old, and I refer to page numbers from my original book that won’t corelate to the ebook I’m offering with this course. I’m currently reworking these videos, but the content here is still applicable.

Welcome to the final stage. Here, we’ll combine changing chords in various 1-4-5-4 configurations to a beat using the rhythms learned in Basic Rhythm Concepts and Strumming.

If you check out Appendix 3, you’ll find chord charts for a 1-4-5-4 progression using the different strumming patterns covered. Hopefully, by now you should be able to strum and have some of the chords memorized. What I’m going to do is give you a routine for the G-C-D-C progression; this can then be applied to the other progressions by swapping the chords out as follows.

G-C-D-C (shown), D-G-A-G, A-D-E-D, Am-Dm-Em-Dm, Am-Dm-E-Dm. The second minor progression uses the E Major as explained in the previous lesson.

Note: I’m starting you off with the G, C and D chords because just as the 1-4-5 is the most popular progression, the G, C and D chords are the most popular open chords. Some songs using these three chords (not necessarily in the same order) are; Sweet Home Alabama-Lynyrd Skynyrd, Good Riddance-Green Day, You Shock Me All Night Long-AC/DC, and Ring Of Fire-Johnny Cash. Again the list is endless, but these will give you an idea.

Step 1: The first thing to do is isolate the hands, by now you should have strumming dialled so we’ll put that on the back burner. We now want to change between two chords at a time; so starting with G and C we’ll get that change happening. Take things slow and put all your concentration into the change trying to make each finger travel the least distance possible to its next position. Another thing to think of is staying relaxed; the slower you take it the more you can focus your attention on the tension in your body and try and eliminate any. Our goal here isn’t speed but consistency and accuracy.

Once you can move between G and C, move to C and D, and then D and C. From there play G-C-D-D-C-G. Depending on you, this could take a week or so, but if you put some focused effort in on a consistent basis you’ll succeed.

Step 2: By now you should feel reasonably comfortable with the above concepts, so we’ll add the strum. First you want a metronome; I found a good one online at the following URL http://www.webmetronome.com/. Set it to 4 beats a cycle and click the 1 in the bottom left to make sure you accent the first beat. From here we want to find our tempo. We’re going to change chords on the first beat of each bar, so you want to find a tempo where you can change each chord in the progression comfortably using the metronome; in this case G-C-D-C. This is important so please don’t try playing faster than you can comfortably.

Now we want to add our strumming hand. If you look at the charts, you’ll notice the rhythms and hopefully understand them (if not re-read the lesson on this). At first we’re going to play using one strum per bar (remember to keep your hand moving to the metronome). Again the key here is consistency; playing slowly in time to a beat is much more beneficial than trying to play fast and then having the flow upset because you can’t change chords quick enough.

At this point, you should be able to hear what I was talking about in the lesson explaining the 1-4-5.

Once you can change chords with ‘whole note’ strumming we want to move to ‘half note’ strumming. The tempo should stay the same, but you may find it more difficult to change chords as the distance between strums gives you less time to change. If this is a problem slow down until you find a comfortable speed, practice it for a while and then slowly bring the speed back up.

Just as before, once you can do ‘half note’ strumming, move on to ‘quarter note’ and then ‘eighth note’ strumming. Again you may have the same problem with changing chords, so just do the same as before and slow down the tempo.

Step 3: Finally, you should now have a solid grasp of changing chords to the different rhythmic divisions, and if so you’re well on your way to a life of musical fulfilment. Now, using the same practice techniques explained above I want you to start on the three remaining patterns in Appendix 3. While the ability to play the different rhythmic divisions is an essential skill, playing them over and over can be a little stale and most strumming patterns are a mixture of these; the three remaining patterns being a mixture of ¼ and 1/8 notes.

If you have reached this point then very well done, you have built a solid foundation with this one chord progression alone, and now other chord progressions should come together much easier. My advice from here is to learn the remaining four progressions, and once completed, try building your speed gradually. If you can do this then you’re awesome, you’ve gained the ability to play all the main open chords musically, which will help you immensely on your musical journey.

As I mentioned in the Introduction, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to send me a message.

Thank you so much for putting your trust in me and I sincerely hope you have benefited from these lessons.

I wish you all the best in your musical endeavours.

Jonny Mac

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