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Michael Johnson >> Acoustic Folk Guitar >>
Lesson Subject: Acoustic Folk Guitar
What you learn: Chords & Progressions
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson covers part 3 of the Acoustic Folk guitar lesson series. This lesson will cover more progressions, but this time in the key of D minor which is the saddest of all keys (pun from the movie Spinal Tap). Check out the audio sample of some of the chords and picking patterns:

Lesson Sample


Michael: Here's the main picking pattern we'll use in this lesson:

Picking 1

Michael: Notice the picking pattern uses the thumb on the 4th string then 1st finger, 2nd, 3rd and then to 2nd, 1st, all on the 1st through 4th strings.



Michael: Notice the position of the hand and fingers, the thumb looks like your hitch hiking and lays on the 4th string while the fingers almost claw the other strings. OK, the coming patterns are all based on 3 positions of the D minor chords, here's the positions:



Dm Chord Positions

Michael: Notice we use the open 4th string (D) for all these chords.

Open Position


5th Fret Position


10th Fret Position




Pattern 1

Michael: Here are some of the fingerings.









Michael: The last chord is a little hard to play. It's good for you though, they always say that when something's painful 8-)

Tony_C: REM uses a lot of Dm

Michael:  They do Tony, you'll notice a lot of bands use these chords. OK now we can also play the same chords descending.



Pattern 1b

Michael: Another option is playing both patterns together - ascending and descending. Here's a jam track you can practice over:

Pattern 1 - Jam Track Slow

Pattern 1 - Jam Track Fast

Michael: Notice these chords share common notes, there is one string that ascends in chromatics.



Michael: Let's go to the next chord position on the 5th fret.



Pattern 2











Tony_C: So use the same chord positions but moved up one soloing block?

Michael: Yes Tony, you might recognize the song "Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce uses this pattern. Here's the ascending pattern.



Pattern 2b

Michael: It produces a different sound, here's the jam track with both parts.

Pattern 2 - Jam Track Slow

Pattern 2 - Jam Track Fast



Michael: Here's the D minor scale pattern you I used earlier in the lesson sample to play over the chords,. You can play the scales over the jam track. OK, let's try the next position on the 10th fret.



Pattern 3

Michael: Here's the fingerings.









Pattern 3 - Jam Track



Michael: Here's another position of the D minor scale you can play over the jam track. Now you can mix any of the patterns together, this will help give you ideas on creating your own songs.



Pattern 4

Pattern 4Michael: In this example I play Pattern 1 & 3.

Tony_C: Are you using your pinkie?

Michael: Not on the high position Tony, here's the jam tracks for pattern 1 & 3.

Pattern 4 - Jam Track Slow

Pattern 4 - Jam Track Fast

canada: I'm not sure of the finger combination as i move down the high e string on the 10-9-8-,how do i play the second and third string.

Michael: Like this canada:



Michael: It looks kind of like playing a A minor chord fingering on the 1st thru 3rd strings.

Tony_C: Got it! what's the fingering for all 10th fret?

Michael: I use my 3rd finger barred, see you next lesson everybody!


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