Invite to the most recent installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to develop your understanding of consistency and the fretboard. In the last lesson, I revealed you how to transition in between the I and ii chords in A and E major. This time I’ll teach you how to move from the I to the vi in the same two keys.

In the secret of A, the I chord is A and the vi is F# m. Example 1 reveals how to change in between these chords using an open A shape and an F# m barred at the second fret. You can likewise approach the F# m from above, with a fifth-fret A barre chord (Example 2). Or attempt increasing from the A barre shape to an F# m chord at the ninth fret, as displayed in Example 3. To play the progression high up the neck, utilize just the four middle strings, rather than full barre chords (Example 4).

Let’s carry on to the key of E, in which the I chord is E and the vi is C# m. Example 5 programs how to move between the two chords using an open E shape and a fourth-fret C# m. Try approaching that very same C# m shape from an E barre chord at the seventh fret, as shown in Example 6. Keep in mind that you can eliminate the highest note on that E shape, and barre strings 2– 4 with your third finger.

Example 7 shows how to go from the E barre chord to a greater C# m shape. In Example 8 we have 2 three-note voicings in 12th position. Because E and C# m share 2 notes (E and G #), all you need to do is change one note (B to C#) by including your third finger. This less-is-more approach will work specifically well if you’re playing with another harmonic instrument or bass.

You should now know various ways to shift between the I and vi chords in the secret of A and E major. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” as carried out by Pete Seeger is a terrific example of a song that uses the I– vi development in the secret of A. In the next lesson, we’ll review numerous voicings of F# dim.