Did you know that many popular songs of the last century can be played simply by using the same popular guitar chord progressions? That way, even if you’re just a beginner at playing guitar, you’ll be able to play an entire host of different songs all by mastering a few easy to play popular guitar chord progressions.
So let’s look at one of the most common popular guitar chord progressions of pop and rock music. Most of these progressions rely heavily on the chords G, C and D, so it would be beneficial to fully commit to mastering these individual chords first before starting to work through these popular guitar chord progressions.
The chord progression G-C-G-D isn’t genre specific. In fact, there are so many songs that you can play on your guitar using a variation of these popular guitar chord progressions. Both 1959’s “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley and 1969’s “Ballad of John and Yoko” by the Beatles use this progression with practically the same variations throughout the verses. 1959’s “Barbara Ann” by The Beach Boys and 1958’s “The Twist” do too. Keep in mind, however, that their rhythms will vary, as well as some of the bridges might vary slightly. This is true for any of these songs. You will still need to listen to a recording of the song before getting the particular rhythm completely right.
The G-C-G-C progression is even easier to master, as it only switches back and forth between just two chords. This can be seen used in 1963’s “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” by Manfred Man and 1966’s “Mony, Mony” by Tommy Jones & The Shondells. This is a great example of how two very different songs can share much of the same chord structure while maintaining separate sounds. Both of these songs have been made into popular covers because they are easy to play and their sounds can be considered timeless.
The G-C-D chord progression offers the most sound variety of the group. It’s progression can be found in popular hits like 1957’s “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis and 1960’s “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles. It’s even common in more recent songs like “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman in 1996 or in regional favorites like Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.” It’s a great chord progression to start with because of the variety that it offers.
These progressions are only a start in learning the popular guitar chord progressions that have been used in the past century of popular music. Though these definitely represent some of the easier progressions to learn, they help provide a starting point for further learning.