Invite to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series created to construct your fretboard familiarity and understanding of consistency. In previous lessons you concentrated on single chords, however this time you’ll be working with 2 chords you already know– C and G– to play a very typical progression in popular music.

The Work
Example 1a reveals the most typical way to play a C– G progression, that is, with open voicings. For a smoother sound, you can play the C chord a G on string 1, rather than the open E (Example 1b). To switch in between these two chords more easily, you could also try worrying the G chord with your ring finger on string 6, 2nd on string 5, and 4th on string 1. Keep your 4th finger held down when changing in between the C and G chords.
The next few examples are based upon C and G chord shapes in 3rd position. When you play Example 2a, keep your index finger disallowed across strings 5– 1 at fret 3; that will make it efficient to change in between the 2 chords. Examples 2b and 2c usage three-note voicings obtained from the fuller chord in Ex. 2a. Notice that the least expensive note isn’t always the root. In Example 2b, the bottom note of the G chord is the third, B, and in Example 2c, the most affordable note of the C chord is the 5th, G. Likewise, note that while I play the C chord in Ex. 2c with my first, 2nd, and 3rd fingers, you could rather utilize your second, 3rd, and 4th fingers, or barre strings 2– 4.

Example 3 reveals a C– G progression with an eighth-fret barre voicing for the C chord and a tenth-fret barre for the G chord, and Example 4a moves the G chord to the seventh position. Closing things out, Example 4b contains voicings on the leading four strings, stemmed from the shapes in Ex. 4a.

For all of these examples, use as little movement as possible when changing in between chords, and remember to make certain that you can clearly hear each note. The goal is to have all of the shapes in your muscle memory, and to be able to alter chords in rhythm with ease.

Completion Outcome
C– G developments can be heard in songs like “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens, “Let It Be” by the Beatles, and “No Female, No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Stay tuned for next week, when I’ll reveal you how to link G and D chords.