A song with a tricky chord progression

I’ve been tasked to play a song for a children’s class with a tricky chord progression (and was requested to play in this particular key… I think it’s Eb major?)
It’s in 4/4 time.
Verse goes Bb-Eb-F-Bb
Chorus goes Cm-F-Dm-G, then Cm-F-Bb

The song: Righteousness, Peace, Joy in the Holy Ghost - YouTube

Any tips for practicing the chord progressions, in terms of making the changes faster + not straining my fingers too much? Any finger exercises to recommend to prep my fingers for the chord changes?

FYI: for Eb, I find I’m most comfortable playing it this way although it’s still a stretch. & I often tend to accidentally strum the open 5th string which clashes >.<

Hi @amandalyt , it seems to me this is in the key of Bb. One approach would be to play it in the key of A (i.e. 1/2 tone lower) and capo on the 1st fret to bring it to the requested key. Here’s how the chords would go:

Bb → A
Eb → D
F → E
Cm → Bm
Dm → C#m
G → F#

These chord shapes in A are more familiar and easier to play.

1 Like

If you put a capo on the 6th fret you can use this chords to play it in the same key…but the advantage is only you have 3 barre chords instead of 4! But you can avoid that tricky Eb.
The transposed chords are:

Bb = E
Eb = A
F = Bb
Cm = Fm
Dm = Gm
G = C

To make your life way easier you can ask to play it in the key of A as already suggested or move it up only one tone and play these chords:

C F G Dm F#m A

1 Like

As @jjw1 says, the song is in the key of Bb
If you are uncomfortable with barre chords, it might be easiest to play it in the key of C as @silvia suggests. (You can play a mini-F and country G for minimal finger movement)
Verse C F G C
Chorus Dm G Em A, Dm G C (not F#m I think)
You could try tuning your guitar down by a full tone to play along with the original? :thinking:
Oh, yeah, take everything I suggest with a pinch of salt :wink:


oh my tried this out and the key matches + its far easier! Thank you! (:partying_face:

1 Like

not sure if my fingers can manage barring at 6th fret but thanks for the suggestion !
I did ask if we could move the song to C major, but the pianist couldn’t transpose, she was more comfy following the sheet music which was already in a different key… so I had to transpose myself >.<

1 Like

thanks for the suggestion (and yes it sounds like Em not F#m)

by tuning the guitar down by a full tone, do you mean tuning it to: (from 6th string to 1st string) F-B-E-A-C-F?

No, I would have thought the other way :thinking:
You are playing the key of C which is a tone higher, so you have to tune your guitar down to compensate.
Having said that, I usually turn my clocks the wrong way twice a year :rofl:

Hey, it’s just math :laughing:

Anyway, glad I could help.

@brianlarsen Brian is correct Amanda. When people refer to tuning down they refer to lowering the pitch by reducing string tension. So the thickest string that in standard tuning is E gets tuned down to a lower note, sometimes Eb (a semi tone) or D (a full tone). Tuning the thickest string to F would be tuning up by a semi-tone tone to a higher pitch.

Also note in your question that it is a semi-tone up from E to F and a whole tone from A to B. So to be consistent you’d tune the E to F#.

A neat trick to remember is that if you tune down you reduce tension on the strings which can make learning barre chords easier. If you tune down a semi-tone then to play the usual F full barre chord you’d place a capo on the first fret.

1 Like

How would the overall song sound playing triads against the piano? Might be worth checking out.

Cheers, Shane

Yes it is Em :see_no_evil:

It might be worth have a try as you actually have to press less with index up there and you might find it easier, pressing on the 1rst fret for a regular F and Bb is quite hard.

Tuning your guitar down as @brianlarsen and @DavidP have suggested seems a great trick as well :bulb::bulb::bulb: I never tried that.

Just see what works best for you :blush: