While this is obviously not a lesson on how to play Stairway To Heaven, or the solo from that tune…

It was the first song where I learned this set of changes.

Since then, I’ve seen them in songs like, “All Along The Watchtower,” and tons of old heavy metal songs by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc..

And most recently from Kingfish Ingram in a song I transcribed for my All Access members.

There’s just a smidge of theory here, and then I’ll show you some ways to approach this sort of quasi-bluesy set of chords with a fun diatonic scale (a mode!)

Dig it!

For more theory, check out Guitar Theory Made Useful

And for more about modes check out Modes Unleashed.

    6 replies to "The Stairway Changes"

    • Thomas Guitarman

      GREAT lesson and many possibilities

    • Adsm

      I’m still playing a bit of minor &major pentatonnic .still trying to get the stairway heaven sound

    • Steve

      The chorus to Ziggy Stardust progresses Am/A5 G5 F5 with the floppy first finger on the F5.

    • Bill C.

      First song it reminded me of was “Walk Don’t Run” by the Ventures, but I played it and it seems to me to be all major and walks down to an E. So, my apologies. Guess my memory is faulty.

    • Steve

      This is Awesome.
      I personally listen a lot to the blues, my preference to play but often find myself playing other styles. Everything from clasic rock, to country, to gospel. Have seen this chord progression many times. My approach has been the minor pentatonic with an occasional nod to the major pentatonic. This unlocks a lot of other possibilities
      Lost track of time playing over my looper for an hour this morning exploring many new sounds. Thank you 😊

    • Frank

      I would be extremely curious about your picking hand pattern? It appears to me that is where your speed is coming from. I’ve been trying for a long time to smooth out my picking speed. Your thoughts?

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