Applying Extended Guitar Chords to Country Roads

Taylor’s style is particularly influential to guitarists due to his use of extended chords – chord shapes that extend beyond root notes like seventh, ninth and thirteenth chords.

Example 5 highlights an Amaj9 shape which remains constant through out the entire verse, providing JT with a powerful bass line to drive his progressions forward.

Verse 1: C

The verse progression here is very straightforward; one chord per measure with a strong melodic movement from D to G.

Requirement 2 requires the verse progression to differ from that of the chorus in terms of either chordal rhythm or by using different chords, making an obvious contrast. AC/DC’s Highway to Hell offers an ideal example.

Verse 2: G

G major is an extremely satisfying and versatile chord that lends itself to many styles of music, from soppy ballads to aggressive Drum ‘n Bass and Trap tracks.

The ii and vi chords are closely related to the tonic chord, so they can be used to extend it further and add another character and mood to a song’s performance – a phenomenon known as harmonic journeying.

Verse 3: D

Chord progressions that work as effective verse and chorus pairs typically possess three characteristics. First, their chord progressions appear disorganized or hard to pin down regarding key in the verse; they then transition into short chords in a major key for the chorus.

Use chords not diatonic to prolong the tonic (home key) chord in verse, such as pop and rock songs. This is often done.

Verse 4: E

An unforgettable sing-along. Learn this classic American folk song written by John Denver in E major.

Radiohead uses an unfamiliar F minor IV chord, rather than the usual I IV. We might expect the former chord, but their use of borrowed chords (bVI or iii) adds depth and variety to their songs.

Practice playing each chord in a steady rhythm to develop muscle memory.

Verse 5: F

One way to differentiate the bridge from the rest of the song is to switch keys; usually by replacing major chords with their relative minor chords (i.e. G Major for Em Minor).

This process is known as prolonging the tonic or home key chord. Chords closely related to it such as iii and vi are often employed for this purpose.

Verse 6: A

Put on some music and grab some snacks – it’s time to learn John Denver’s classic “Country Roads!” This verse in A major is built upon a C chord; just fret the chord with your index finger, move your middle finger up to the third string second fret and add pinky to sixth string third fret before concluding the phrase with pinky.

Verse 7: C

A C major seventh chord boasts an engaging sound, making it the perfect way to add texture and tension.

Chords that are closely related to the tonic chord, such as iii and vi, can be used to extend its sound by sharing chord tones. This lesson will explain how you can construct this type of chord.

Verse 8: G

G and C chords make up this verse and each fill one measure, creating one of the most frequent progressions found in popular music – commonly referred to as an IIVbVIIIVi/d-7 progression or simply IIVbVIIIVi/IVi, prolonging tonic chord by using another chord that shares chord tones with it (A minor in this instance), known as a secondary dominant according to harmonic theory.

Verse 9: D

Applying the common song structure of verse-chorus-bridge-chorus, verse 9 presents us with a D chord formed by fretting a C with your middle finger while adding pinky to second string at second fret – one measure covering this chord alone (this file represents only my personal interpretation and should only be used educationally.) This should take up one measure.

Verse 10: F

F major chord is one of those difficult chords that often causes fret buzz and sore fingers, so instead of jumping right into its full barre version, let’s begin with an easy variation that requires little strength or finger stretching.

Reducing an interval by half step produces a diminished interval, as in this section’s first measure whereby the perfect fifth F-C becomes a minor sixth G-E by dropping its top note down one step (from C to F).