Free Jam Session Survival Kit • Free Chord Charts • Free Cheat Sheets • Free Jam Tracks


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FREE CHORD PROGRESSIONS - by Bradley Laird Bookmark and Share

Instructions For Using These Free Charts
Here is a sample of one of the chord progression charts:

sample free chord progression chart

1. Look up the chord progression for the song you want to play on the index page. You might want to bookmark that page since it lists them all.

2. Under the title of the song you'll see the timing indicated by the words "1 Beat Per Letter" or "2 Beats Per Letter." Some songs have chords which change once per beat (like Blackberry Blossom) and it is easier to read when written as 1 Beat Per Letter. Some songs always stay on a chord for at least 2 beats (like Liberty) and they are easier to read written as “2 Beats Per Letter.”

3: These symbols “|: :|” are called “repeat signs” and you should play the enclosed sections twice. When you see “!” it means an accented chord or “stop”.

4. Most of the tunes which are considered “instrumentals” are traditionally played in one key only. For example: Sally Gooden is always played in the key of A because it is a fiddle tune and that’s where fiddlers like to play it.

5. Songs with words (“vocals”) can potentially be sung in any key, but this site includes the most common keys you will encounter in real sessions.

6. In most cases you will notice that the chord letter names are in groups of four letters. Most songs are structured this way and this grouping is to help you recognize the phrases of the songs and to help you keep your place. ALL of the progressions should be read straight across the page from left to right.

7. If you are a guitar player: You form the chord indicated by the letter and play “bass - strum” once for each beat. See my free guitar lessons for more information.

8. If you are a mandolin player: To play rhythm you would play one off-beat chop for each beat. See my free mandolin lessons for more information.

9. If you are a bass player: You would play one bass note per beat.

10. If you are a bluegrass banjo player you would play one off-beat chop chord per beat. If you are rolling you would play 4 picked notes per beat. You could also play one "thumb-pinch" lick. See my free bluegrass banjo lessons for more information.

11. If you are a clawhammer banjo player you would play one "bump-ditty" pattern for each beat. See my free clawhammer banjo lessons for more information.

12. If a song is marked at being played in 3/4 time: Guitar players play “bass - strum - strum” for each letter, banjos and mandolins play “rest - chop - chop” and basses play “note - rest - rest for each letter.

If you need additional instruction please visit my free lesson sites. The links are on the left column of these pages. Nearly all beginners could gain some valuable insights by taking a look at this free lesson on chord progressions.

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