You need to already recognize with the I, IV, and V7 chords, so to get the vi chord, just begin on the sixth note (E) of the G major scale (Example 1) and after that include the notes G and B for an Em or vi chord (Example 2).
Example 3 offers us the I– vi– IV– V7– I in G using open chords. The progression is played with barre shapes in Example 4. Instead of increasing to the seventh fret for the Em, you could play that chord as open. Example 5 reveals yet another method to play the I– vi– IV– V7– I, this time greater up the neck. Bear in mind that you don’t require to play all five or 6 notes of each barre chord.
Example 6 portrays a variation of the progression utilizing chords on simply the leading 3 strings. The Em chord consists of all open strings, making it easier to get to the C chord that right away follows– an excellent trick when it comes to switching between chords. Note that the development ends with a G voicing that’s greater than the first one, that makes for an interesting contrast.
You should now know how to play a I– vi– IV– V7– I development utilizing various voicings in the secret of G major. To hear it in context, take a look at Merle Haggard’s “I’ll Always Know.” (Though the song utilizes chord shapes in the secret of G, a capo at the 3rd fret causes it to sound in Bb.) In the next lesson we’ll stay in G major for an even longer development, the I– vi– IV– viidim– V7– I.