The 145 Chord Progression – How to Play It for Guitar in Any Key

The 145 chord progression is one of THE most popular chord progressions in music.  To understand what these numbers mean, we need to take a brief look at the idea behind how music is organized.  In this video, you’ll get an introduction to this chord progression, what it means, and a PDF chord chart download of this progression in 4 of the most common guitar keys.

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The Theory Behind the 145 Chord Progression

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When we use numbers to refer to chords, as in the case of the 145 chord progression, what we’re talking about are scale degrees.  Every key in music has 7 unique scale degrees or numbers.  You’ll learn more about keys in our free lesson series when you subscribe, but basically here’s what it means. A musical key will always start on the letter of the alphabet of its name.

So the Key of C Major starts at C (that’s our 1 number).  Now all we need to do is spell out the remaining 6 numbers before we come back to C.  Let’s take a look at C Major:  C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.  Notice that it starts at C, goes through each letter of the alphabet in order, and ends at C.  This is called The Major Scale and is how we form our musical keys.

When we take C (number 1), F (number 4), and G (number 5) and make chords from those, we get C Major, F Major, and G Major, hence the naming of this chord sequence as the 1 4 5 chord progression.  Make sense? The helpful thing here is that by using numbers, we can move this to any Key.  Want G Major?…spell it out.  G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G.  So now our 145 chord progression would be G Major, C Major, and D Major.

Now we haven’t talked about HOW we form this Major Scale, and you’ll notice that we have that F# (pronounced F sharp) note in there.  You’ll learn all about how this works some of our guitar keys lessons, but just know that the distances between the notes are exactly the same as the Key of C Major. Every Major Key will be this same way.  The beginning and following letters will change, but the alphabet will go sequentially through each letter until repeating where you started and some notes will get #’s or b’s (flats) added to them to help distinguish the pitch differences, but the distances we travel between each number is a constant.  Does that make sense?

So in C Major, the distance from C-D is the same as G Major’s distance from G-A:  And put in the term of any Key, in __ Major the distance from 1-2 is always the same, etc, etc for each number. I hope this lesson on the 145 chord progression has been helpful!  Be sure to snag your PDF and sign up for the Free lesson series.  Lastly, if you enjoyed this lesson, then please Facebook like this page, Retweet it and share the knowledge.  It helps me tremendously and goes a long way to help me keep more free content coming.

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