The 2-5-1 chord progression is the most important 3-chord progression you can learn.

It occurs most often in Jazz, but also in R&B, Gospel, Folk, Rock, and various other styles where more sophisticated songwriters are found.

Let’s look closer at what a “2-5-1” actually is.

If you’re in the key of C major you want to look at the chords that are built from the 1st, 2nd and 5th scale degrees:

C D E F G A B

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

In the key of C major we have a D minor, G and C chord. If we include the 7th note to each of these chords we’ll have the following: Dm7, G7, Cmaj7.

Of course, any extensions can be added to these chords. The second chord will always be a minor quality, the fifth chord will always be a dominant quality and the first chord will always be a major quality.

Below you’ll find a couple variations of the classic “2-5-1” progression in C major and F major.

Ex.1

    Dm7       G7       Cmaj7
E|-----------------------------|
B|---6---------3---------5-----|
G|---5---------4---------4-----|
D|---7---------3---------5-----|
A|---5-------------------3-----|
E|-------------3---------------|

Ex.2

    Gm9    C7        Fmaj9
E|---------------------------|
B|--10------8----------8-----|
G|--10------9----------9-----|
D|--8-------8----------7-----|
A|--10-----------------8-----|
E|----------8----------------|

Want To Learn More …

Lchord-progression-box-2earning guitar chord progressions is one of the most frustrating times for guitarists.

Your fingers are new to the fretboard and the strings, just getting the correct fingers into the correct position can be a chore.

I can assure you all the effort, cursing and determination is worth it because chord progressions are one of the most important aspects of guitar playing.

Almost every piece of music ever written works by organizing chords into groups called chord progressions. Chord progressions are the basis of playing guitar. They set a basic foundation of rhythm.

Sounds quite complex and difficult just to begin with and you haven’t even started learning it yet.

With the right guidance you can make chord progressions fun, easy and improve your playing all at the same time.

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