Play Songs On Guitar With Four Chords: G Em C D

This is a standard chord progression that crops up in many songs. When you are used to playing and hearing several of these stock progressions, you will eventually be able to tell just by listening to a song whether it is using one, and which one it is. You will also be able to improvise freely over these types of progressions because when you get used to one, you can apply the same principles to all of them. This chord progression has remained a staple of pop, ballads, rock and indie music – refer to the common chord progression handout for more examples, but everyone from Ed Sheeran to Beyonce to REO Speedwagon to Sam Cooke to Madonna to Johnny Cash to Pink Floyd to Olly Murs to Frank Zappa has used it.

Here is a range of backing tracks in different styles and speeds. Pick slower ones first if you are working on chord changes (beginning guitarists) or trying out new arpeggios/improvisations (improver/intermediate/advanced). While you are playing, you’re aiming to also get to know the personality of this particular chord progression. Feel how the first chord is stable, there’s a sense of falling to the second chord, and the third and fourth have a sense of ‘rising’ to set us up for the first chord again.

 G Em C D

Slower country ballad style

Slow porch style

Slow Acoustic Trio (good for practicing fingerstyle)