Top 5 Guitar Chord Progressions Used in Popular Music

When I was learning guitar, I thought my favorite songwriters were geniuses. The more songs I learned to play on my guitar, the more I recognized different repeatable patterns that kept showing up over and over again.

Enter the chord progression.

What is a guitar chord progression?

If you are a student in my 7 Level Guitar System, you will know that I use chords progressions to help you focus on the chords and chord changes you will most likely encounter in popular music.

If you don’t know what a chord progression is, it is a pattern of chords that a play in a loop. This is how songs are written. Usually in grouping of 4 – 8 chords that repeat in a pattern.

For example, in the song Can’t You See by The Marshall Tucker Band, a four chord progression is used for the entire song. That chord progression is: D C G D

Often times in songs and songwriting, the song will use one chord progression for the verse and a different chord progression for the verse.

For example, John Denver’s songs Country Roads has two distinct chord progressions for the verse VS the chorus:

Verse: G G Em Em D D C G

Chorus: G G D D Em Em CC

Notice how the chords are the same, but played in a different order or arrangement.

You can watch the YouTube video below where I will show you the Top 5 Chord Progressions in music along with examples of different songs that use the progressions.

Play Video

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5 Guitar Chord Progressions Used in Popular Music

Below, I am going to share 5 guitar chord progressions commonly use in songs today. I will be demonstrating these in my favorite guitar key for beginners which is G. All this means we will be using the chords: G, Am, Bm, C, D and Em.

I know Bm is a barre chord, but don’t worry, it’s not going to show up in any of the chord progression below. Yay!

Because these chord progressions are used in popular music, that means you can apply them to your own songwriting too! How exciting.

I will display these progression in terms of their music theory formula, for those of you familiar with that terminology and then on the next live, I will list our chords from the key of G.

Common chord progressions in the key of G:

  • 1 – 5 – 6 – 4 or  G, D, Em, C

  • 6 – 4 – 1 – 5 or Em, C, G, D

  • 1 – 4 – 5 – 4 or G, C, D, C

  • 1 – 6 – 4 – 5 or G , Em, C, D

  • 2 – 5 – 1 – 6 or Am, D, G, Em

Now this list is only a sampling of different chord progressions and you can have fun making up your own using my 6 sided DICE METHOD that I discuss in my Music Theory 101 course. I will show you a great way to come up with different chord progressions when you feeling like you are in a rut writing your own songs.

Guitar Chord Progression Chart

If you would like a little cheat sheet for the different major keys on the guitar and the chords that go with them, enter you name and email below and I will email you fun little chart to help you with writing your own songs.

With this chord progression chart, you will know all the chords the go well together so that you never hit a bad note or chord in your song.

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