In my journey of learning guitar, I have tried to identify chord progressions that don't necessarily have available tabs (for eye training fretting positions and ear training the sounds of those positions). I am particularly interested in the guitar chord progression from this short video from Kansas based funk band, The Whips.

I have tried to decipher it, but I can't quite get there. It is obviously a 4 chord progression:

For the first two, the second just appears to be half a step down from the first, so once the first one is deciphered, it is basically a 2-for-1. I can tell the root of the first chord is D using finger 3 (I am largely assuming the thumb is being used to mute the bottom 2 strings, but I could be entirely wrong here). Finger 2 appears to be F#, and maybe finger 1 is barring the top 3 strings? I can't quite tell what finger 4 is doing (if it's just hovering or if it is fretting the 4th or 5th string). Regardless, this appears to be some sort of D chord, with chord 2 being some sort of C# chord since it is just half a step down. Nothing I come up with really sounds right, though.

As for chord 3, I originally thought this was an F#m, but realized finger 4 is in the incorrect place for that. My guess is that it is actually just hovering, making chord 3 an F#m7?

And for the last chord, it looks like finger 3 moves down one string, but am confused on what fingers 2 and 4 are doing. Also, why continue barring 5 strings with finger 1 if finger 3 is fretting the second string anyways?

Given the first chord is rooted on D (I) and we potentially have an F#m7 (iii) in chord 3, would it be wrong to assume the key here is D major? I am confused where the C# from chord 2 would fit in, though. C# (vii) is also in D major, but the guitarist doesn't appear to be playing a diminished chord.

I am in no way formally trained in music and have only began to play any sort of instrument (guitar) since October, so please forgive me if I am completely incorrect with anything I have stated.

EDIT: Are the first two Dmaj7b5 and C#maj7b5? Would go along with the third also being a seventh chord, F#m7. Just need to figure out the last one now.

  • This site isn't for recognising chord sequences - that won't be much help to many future visitors. But, you're doing well, on the right track. Sorry.
    – Tim
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 17:16
  • There are multiple questions on here in the same vein, so i figured mine was valid as well: music.stackexchange.com/questions/95421/…, music.stackexchange.com/questions/111352/…, music.stackexchange.com/questions/80070/…, etc..
    – bismo
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 17:19
  • 2
    @bismo - You say that "Nothing I come up with really sounds right, though." This indicates that your question is a transcription question, which is not what this website is for. The other questions you brought up all have the chord progression completely figured out - it is only their Roman numeral interpretation that is up in the air, not the chord contents themselves.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 18:23
  • 1
    In regards to the guitar you’re on the right track. The first 2 bars are D and C# triads but only played on the top 4 strings. The pinky is just floating. The 3rd bar is an F#m7 which was one of your assumptions. The 4th chord is actually 2 chords in one bar but is very difficult to hear since they break on beat 1 the first time. What I’m hearing is a E6/G# (X-11-9-9-9-9) for 2 beats and an A for 2 beats (X-12-11-9-10-9). You can hear the G#-A I’m the bass the second time through. Commented May 6, 2023 at 20:21
  • 2
    If you add the alternating F#m-E arpeggios the keys are playing to the harmony they become very complex chords with maj7’s, 11’s, #11’s and b13’s, etc. but I think of that more like a riff than part of the basic harmony. The closing of questions can be a bit arbitrary on this site. Sometimes questions like this slip through. I think this was a good one although not necessarily on topic. It showed a lot of thought and effort on your part. Commented May 6, 2023 at 20:28


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