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Country music thrives off simplicity. Chord progressions for country music can be the driving force in the song as the drums will typically be playing relatively simple, classic beats.
The best chord progressions used in country music will pull in your audience and allow you to tell a story about heartbreak/memories you may have.
In this article, we will present to you some of the most popular chord progressions used in modern country music. Interestingly, country music is changing and adapts to many current trends seen in mainstream popular music.
While country music is being influenced heavily by hip/hop and popular music, one thing that remains similar is chord progressions.
Should you enjoy hip-hop music, here’s our recent article breaking down some great hip-hop chord progressions.
Before we break down the following chord progressions, let’s take a look at my experience first. I’ve written songs for nearly every genre for the last ten years, have toured the country on 14 countrywide tours, and also have writing credits on pieces totaling over 50 million Spotify streams.
To understand these chord progressions, let’s just take a quick look at the Major scale of chords:
- I – Major (CMajor)
- ii – minor (dminor)
- iii – minor (eminor)
- IV – Major (FMajor)
- V – Major (GMajor)
- Vi – minor (aminor)
- Viidim ( bdiminished)
Popular Country Song Chord Progressions To Test Out
Below are some of my favorite chord progressions I use when writing country songs.
It is important to note that many famous country songs are in major keys; however, there are still many hits in minor keys.
To keep this extremely simple to understand for beginners, we will just be using the key of C Major and the key of a minor.
The first progression we are going to look at is the standard Major chord progression.
I, IV, V (C,F,G)
For this progression, you will be playing the chords CMajor, FMajor, and GMajor. These chords are heavily used in country music.
A majority of mainstream country songs will use this chord progression, whether for the verse, chorus, or bridge of their hit songs.
When I hear this chord progression, I think of artists such as Johnny Cash or Garth Brooks, as I grew up listening to these artists.
This chord progression is another popular progression for Country music. Ending on the IV chord leaves some suspension that we commonly hear in country music.
When listening, you will feel like the progression wants to resolve, which helps make this progression great for Country music storytelling.
This progression is one of the most popular chord progressions in all genres of music. You will commonly hear this in anthem-type songs by Country artists, as well as ballad types.
If you use this chord progression, you will likely find yourself hearing other Country songs right away in your head.
This is another popular chord progression for Country music. I’ve used this one personally a couple of times and I always like the choruses that I come up with it.
It allows for a bit of suspension while delivering the hook that your audience wants to hear. When using this progression, try and set yourself up for a big payoff by using the pre-chorus progression below.
Country Music Pre-Chorus Progression
One of the most common chord progressions you will hear to set up the chorus is the Vi, V, IV progression. It descends, setting you up to deliver a big hook each and every time.
What Do You Need To Write Country Music?
You will need a way to record your songs, as well as your instrument of choice. If you play the piano, I would recommend looking at our list of the best digital pianos currently on the market today.
If you’re a guitarist, I would recommend finding a cheap option to allow you to grow as your learn.
Check out this video below before heading out.
Country music has changed over the years, however, these progressions have remained tried and true.
If you’re someone who is just starting to write music and you’re a fan of Country music, I think you will really enjoy using these chord progressions.
Remember, you still have to learn how to write melodies in order to put together your song.
I would recommend trying to write a song using each of these progressions so that you can get the hang of writing Country music and using different chord progressions.
Are you using chord progressions that I missed? Let me know below!