Real Guitar Live #28 | Most Common Chord Progression and the Axis of Awesomeness

Have you heard of the term common chord progressions? These are progressions that are used all the time in songs. They’re not genre specific and they can be played in any key. There are a few of these common chord progressions, but we’ll talk about one in particular.

There’s a really funny (and insightful!) song by Axis of Awesome that shows you just how many songs you know share the same exact progression. We’ll play along with it so grab your guitar! I’ve also added a link to the video at the bottom of this page.

I’ll go deeper into what this is and why it works the way it does. Music is very interesting this way. There are only 12 notes in Western music, but we have such a diverse catalog of musical styles. Even if songs share the same progression.

We’ll talk more about this and answer your live questions in this month’s RGS Live.

(skip ahead to the time markers below to hear the answers to these questions)

Questions & Answers

[15:35] Someone suggested that I try a thumb-pick and I have been using it ever since. It solves several problems in that it doesn’t fall from your hand and it frees all your fingers for finger-style playing. What I can’t understand is why most guitarists prefer a standard pick? Why isn’t a thumb pick recommended as the standard way to play the guitar? [18:27] In one of your lessons, you taught Major 7th chords. I’ve been practicing, but haven’t quite figured out how and when to incorporate them into a song.

[20:15] Do you recommend tuning down the strings to lower the pitch to make it easier to sing? Example: tune the low E to a D, and tuning the rest of the strings to follow suit? [24:43] Can you explain the CAGED system and how using it can assist our playing?

[26:41] In a minor chord, I understand the 3rd is flattened to create the minor sound. Does the C does it become a B or a Cb? If the note was F, does it become an E or Fb?

[32:17] I have been following your YouTube videos for some time now. I have been playing guitar for a year now and I know a few chords and I am learning fingerstyle. I see so many songs that have just chords.  My question is how do I take those chords and finger pick them to make it sound like a song and not just picking chords?

[38:27] I have trouble switching chords I gave up.[42:26] When you change nylon strings they constantly go out of tune. Are there some tips to get them to stay in tune?

[44:43] I could use some suggestions for muting strings when picking individual strings. Example: playing a scale and keeping other strings from ringing or making noise. ​

[47:43] I’d like to know how to figure out instrumentals in the middle of songs. What I mean are the parts where the person is not singing.  Thank you! I love your channel. ​

[53:45] Would you recommend jazz guitar for a beginner?

Links and Resources:

General Links:

Axis Of Awesomeness video

Real Guitar Academy Links (login first):

Major 7th Chords

RGS Live #27 | Introduction to the CAGED System

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