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Dobro Lessons: Basic Chord Progressions

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All right guys,
you're doing great.
I think what I wanna do now is,
now that we've been able to get through
some songs, some scales,
and make some progress, I'm gonna discuss
a little bit of music theory.
Now, I'm gonna try not to confuse you too
much or put you to sleep with this.
But just a little bit, I think, will go a
long way in helping us get a better
understanding of the instrument and how
chords work together.
So, the way I'm going to approach this is
we're gonna look at the key of G,
which is, you know, the key we've been
working a lot in.
And what we're gonna do is we're gonna
look at all the notes in a G scale, and
give them each a number.
So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna start on
this lowest string.
And count that as number one.
So in a major scale there's seven notes,
So you go one, two, three, four, five,
seven, and then the eighth note is the
repeat of the G.
So there's eight notes to get the complete
the eighth note being the same as the
first, right?
So, you've got eight notes here.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
Now, each one of those notes in the scale
has a corresponding chord to it.
So, not only do you have eight notes in a
Well, seven really, with eight being the
repeat, you have seven chords,
seven different chords associated with the
Now, we're just gonna focus right now on a
few of those.
So, the common chord progression in
Bluegrass, and
you may have heard this term, is a one,
four, five chord progression.
When I first heard that, when I was
starting out, I had no idea what it meant.
As I learned some theory, I understood,
oh, those are the one, the four and
the five chords corresponding to the one,
the four and the five notes in the scale.
So the one chord easy enough is G.
Well, if I count up to four, one, two,
three, four.
Okay, that's a C.
That's a, I'm on the fifth fret, that's a
C, so that's the four chord.
And then, I count up one more note in the
scale, to the five.
That's a D.
So, a one, four, five chord progression in
the key of G would be just G, C, and D.
And the reason it's one, four, five, is
because those are the notes,
the root notes, of those chords.
One, a four, and a five.
And then of course the one again here at
the 12th fret for G.
So, once I learned that it sort of made
things a little bit clearer for me.
Now I had also heard about other chords.
Maybe like a six minor, or a three minor,
or, or a two minor.
And we can get into those minor chords a
little bit later,
because I'm sure you've been wondering
well, this is tuned to a major chord.
How am I gonna get to play minor chords?
That comes a little bit later, but right
now we're just gonna focus on that one,
the four, and the five.
And the nice thing about those chords is
those are all major chords.
So, easy to play on the dobro, you don't
have to do anything too fancy.
One, four, five, one.
So if you as you continue with your study
and if you ever get into a jam they say,
hey, this is one, four, five, you'll know
what to play.
Now, it might be one, four, five in
another key, so
say you're in the key of C, like in
Wildwood Flower, for instance,
which we had already covered, so that also
has the one, the four, and the five chord.
But these are gonna be [SOUND] different
because this is gonna be corresponding the
key of C.
So, if we wanted to learn what the one,
four, and
five chords were in the key of C, we would
look at our C scale.
So let's do that.
So we start on the fifth fret and we play
a major scale.
Let's just do it all on the lowest string
so we can see those intervals.
So one, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, and then one.
So okay.
So one, that's easy enough.
[SOUND] Right there on the C.
Then I count up to the four.
One, two, three, four.
[SOUND] That's an F chord.
So that's the four chord in the key of C
is F.
[SOUND] And then the five chord you count
one more.
[SOUND] That's the five note.
That's the five chord.
[SOUND] A G major.
So in the key of C, one, four, five, would
be C on this fifth fret.
F on the tenth fret, and
G on the twelfth fret, and then C.
So you can see, this is another one of
those things that's moveable.
You say, one, four, five.
That could be in any key, and if you know
the major scale,
you can figure out what those chords are.
The one, the four, and the five are
usually gonna be major chords.
So, that's easy enough.
Okay, hopefully,
I didn't I didn't confuse you too much
with that little bit of information.
But, that's gonna help you along as you
continue in your lessons.
All right.
Now that we got that little bit of theory
out of the way, let's apply it talking
about it is, you know, fun at best, but
playing it is actually quite fun.
So what we're gonna do is I'm gonna show
you a little double stop exercise,
that follows a one, four, five core
And I've got it in two different keys.
So the first one is gonna be in the key of
C and the term double stop, if you're
wonder, wondering what that is, that's
just another name for a two-note chord.
Double stop, you know, just a double two
note like this.
So, the first one we'll do will be in the
key of C.
So, let's try that and you can refer to
your music here.
So it's gonna sound like this.
Simple enough.
So that, a one four five chord progression
using these double stops, and
a few little chromatic notes just for,
So, the chords are C, F, and G.
One more time, I'll play it for you.
Here's the C.
Here's the F.
And then the G, the five.
And it just ends with a little lick, just
again just for something fun to do.
it ends on this 10 fret on the highest
string that's a C note.
that's a little double stop exercise in
the key of C.
Now remember what I was saying earlier
a lot of these things that you do in
closed positions can be moved around.
So I could do that same thing really in
any key in any closed position.
It'll look pretty much the same.
So what I have written out here the next
thing in the music is the same
type of thing, but this is in the key of
So, and we're not gonna use a capo for
this, yet.
But, the key of A is the second fret.
So A is right here.
Second fret, just bar straight across.
One thing you'll notice is you get to some
of these lower chords, lower on the neck.
You have to give the left hand a little
more pressure
So, once again, you want to make sure
you're relaxed, but give that enough
pressure so you're not getting any rattles
Things like that.
So there's your a chord and
you'll also notice as you bar and strum
these chords.
You'll know if you're in tune or not.
And barring a chord like this and
strumming straight across is a good way to
sort of check yourself on that.
Sounds pretty well in tune.
So lets play this A, double stop exercise.
Once again it pretty much looks the same
as the one we did in C,
it's just a few frets lower.
So here we go.
Once again,
So you can see you follow the same
And it just happens to be in the key of A,
that's 1, 4, 5 in the key of A.
So you've got A,
then you go up,
to the four note in the key of A.
So you got one, two, three, four.
Four chord is a D in the key of A.
Go up one more whole step.
You got an E.
That's the ninth fret.
We haven't played that one yet either.
So there's.,
five chord in A so there's one,
four, five, one, in the key of A.