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I was messing around on one of my guitars one day and stumbled upon this interesting ascending progression. I ended up writing a song using the progression even though I wasn't even sure what the names of the ascending chords were.

Here is what it sounds like:

Ascending Progression in G

I looked up the chord names on a reverse chord name finder and learned that the names of the chords I play in the progression are G - Gsus2 - G - G - C. Apparently each of the ascending chords is a derivation or inversion of the G-major chord. But they all sound different. The bass note in the G chord variants are G - A - B - D respectively, and the chords are played by moving up the fret-board from the open G position all the way to the tenth fret inversion of G major (with a D in the bass).

Here is the way the G chords look (note open or muted strings at far left of each chart):

Regular Open GGsus 2G with B BassG with D Bass

Is there a name for this type ascending inversions of a repeating chord with a different bass note in each inversion? Or a term that commonly describes this device? It's not very common in the music I listen to but it sounds really cool.

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    I'll write a full answer later, but at least to me the inversions don't really affect the overall progression and seems more like an accompanying technique like Alberit bass or walking bass. – Dom Mar 9 '15 at 13:39
  • @Dom But there could be, or perhaps there is a name for this style of playing which I myself do with other voicings, and is distinctive. Perhaps we can make one up. Maybe it will catch on. – amalgamate Mar 9 '15 at 20:38
  • @Dom thanks for embedding the soundcloud link. I was not sure how to do that or if it would work on this site. – Rockin Cowboy Mar 9 '15 at 20:45
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I don't think that there's a specific name for such a progression. You basically repeat a chord in different inversions. However, the way I hear the second chord (with A in the bass) is not as a version of G. Of course you can call it Gsus2, but the question is if you hear it as a Gsus2. I don't because the 2 in the bass (A) is quite uncommon and suggests something else. What I hear is a D chord with the 5th in the bass, which is a much more common bass note than the 2. As a D chord it would be called Dsus4/A. So the way I hear it, it is a I-V-I progression eventually going to the IV chord (C).

  • It could be a Dsus4. So it sounds as if perhaps I should name it a Dsus4/A if I was writing a lead sheet? – Rockin Cowboy Mar 9 '15 at 20:48
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This is called comping. You play the same chord in different positions. It creates movement and exhibits the whole range of the instruments while in some cases it generates interesting voicings like your Gsus. It sounds cool and its the dirty job of a guitarist.

  • Comping is just short for accompanying. It doesn't describe the progression. – Dom Mar 9 '15 at 13:31
  • Yet, this is the closest thing to describe the playing. As far as the progression goes, one could say that it is a G going to a C and that would be enough to describe it. – Chris Mar 9 '15 at 13:58
  • This sounds like the right usage to me. Melody in octaves and with G chord comping underneath. As a side note, the melody is a Gadd2 arpeggio. – Dan D Mar 10 '15 at 14:06
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Slash chords could be what you mean. It's a way of describing a chord with a note other than the root at the bottom. Common are G/B and G/D, which are G chords with B and D as the lowest note respectively. Otherwise called 1st and 2nd inversions. When A is underneath the chord is G add 2 or sometimes G sus 2, if B is absent, and here is written G/A. If there is a bassist playing, expect him to play the note after the slash, otherwise on guitar or piano, make that note the lowest played.

With the G/A chord, it sometimes gets named as an 11th. Listen to Midnight at the Oasis intro. First chord (in Eb) F#11, or maybe Gb11. It's an E major with F# bass - E/F#.

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