After many years of struggling, I finally found the key to identifying chords that sound great with each other! The word to remember is "key"! When you hear a song, it will be typically played in one key (ex: A, B, C, etc.) and there are a family of chords that belong to this key. Once you know the family members, you can use any of them in your song and they will all sound good! You can mix and match, repeat them, or just use them as you see fit, but this can become a framework for chords you when playing or creating music. This technique applies to any instrument, not just the guitar!
There are 12 different keys ranging from A to G#. However, for the beginner guitarist, let's simplify it down to just three keys for now: C, F and G.
|Key||Chords That Sound Great With Each Other In This Key|
|C||C Major, D Minor, E Minor, F Major, G Major, A Minor, B Diminished|
|F||F Major, G Minor, A Minor, B Flat, C Major, D Minor, E Diminished|
|G||G Major, A Minor, B Minor, C Major, D Major, E Minor, F# Diminished|
My suggestion is to pick up your guitar and start off with one of these keys. Don't worry about playing the diminished, flat or sharp chords. Practice these major and minor chords in the key of C, F or G and see what you can come up with!
If you enjoy this approach to creating songs or playing music, then I would encourage you to learn more about guitar music theory and, in particular, explore the world of the Nashville Number System! It's a terrific way to play and create songs quickly through an easy-to-use number system.
What do you think about using this approach to playing guitar? Have you ever used the Nashville Number System? Please share your feedback with us below!