This Week on the Guitar Blog...


Composing Minor-key Chord Progressions
This GuitarBlog episode explains a few of the most popular methods used in contemporary music to compose minor key chord progressions. Since Minor Keys are one of the most popular tonalities used today, every practicing musician should study the common minor harmonies in modern music.

The lesson starts by using straight-forward I-IV-V situations and building on their relative diatonic chord use. Once these principles are understood, musicians will have more flexibility to produce options for the "Tonic, Sub-Dominant, Dominant," chord applications. The lesson also includes an explanation on the colorful sound of "Harmonic Minor" in this tonality.


Video - PART 1: In the first example, a I-IV-V in the key of "E Minor" is used to demonstrate relative substitution through the Minor Keys "VI and VII" chords. This is quite possibly the most popular Minor Key sound used in the Minor Tonality. In example two, the harmony is extended to the "Seventh-Quality Chords." Here, we find nearly identical application of the "VI and VII" substitutes, with the exception of the strong Dominant 7th sound on the "VII-chord."


membersVideo - PART 2: In the second half of the lesson, (available with the lesson handout in the members area), the application of examples and principles from Part One are put into action. Example three contains a chord progression that combines the use of ideas of the substitution concept with other degrees of "Minor Key-center Harmony." The progression in example three is a, "I-III-VI-V-IV-VII." While the quantity of harmony has increased the flow of the chord changes remains balanced.


Additional harmony is covered in example four with the introduction of the "Harmonic Minor" color. This is a fantastic sound that uses a raised 7th degree in the minor scale to produce an wonderful effect of further tension on both the VII-chord as well as, the V-chord. An explanation of both is provided in the video lesson. The handout covers the application of the raised VII-chord, (applied harmonically as a, 'sharp seventh diminished seventh').


Be sure to watch Part 2 of this lesson and download the handout in the members area of


"Composing Minor-key Chord Progressions"

Harmonic Analysis and Minor Key Theory

Harmonic Minor Scale Application 


For more resources on the topic of Harmony and Theory, visit the course pages at Creative Guitar Studio / Harmony and Theory.


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Recent Video Lessons



September 16, 2016:
Electric Country-Western Swing Blues


PART ONE: In part one (example 1a), we begin by introducing a straight-time country melody in "G Major." The melody is then converted (in example 1b), into a swing feel. Guitarists with little experience in swing will find the conversion particularly helpful in establishing the unique stylistic feel of the swing rhythms found in Western Swing Blues. In example 2, the scales and intervals of Western Swing Blues are introduced in a melodic line (set in "G" Major). The "G Major" Pentatonic scale is our focus. Other intervals of the minor 3rd and augmented 5th are also applied. The study will help players realize the interesting effects of these scales and intervals when applied within Western Swing Blues.

membersPART TWO: The second half of the Masterclass begins by establishing an understanding for Country Swing Blues chord progressions. In example 3, a set of chord changes in the key of "G" are given which demonstrate the various chord types used in this style. Example 4 applies a Western Swing Blues melody over the example 3 chord progression. Everything comes together between these two examples to help the guitarist begin to fully appreciate the harmony and melodies of this style.

Watch Part 2 of this lesson and download the handout and jamtrack in the members area of

Electric Country-Western Swing Blues


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