5 Ways To Sound Progressive On The Guitar

5 Ways To Sound Progressive On The Guitar

Guitar Lessons For Beginners

Featuring: Become The Knight

Bands like Opeth, Yes, Rush, Porcupine Tree, and Dream Theater are all popular examples of “progressive rock” -- or more commonly, “prog rock”. The genre is marked by its use of many jazz and classical music concepts in place of the traditional pop elements. In this video, we’re joined by Mike from Become The Knight to discuss five ways you can sound more progressive on the guitar.

Change One Fret In Your Power Chord

The first thing you can do is change one of the notes in your traditional power chord shape. Power chords are designed to sound very harmonious, so simply changing one of the notes in the chord instantly adds flavor. Experiment with moving different notes in the shape and see what you come up with!

Leave Notes Alone!

When transitioning from one chord to another (especially when the chords don’t share the same key), try leaving including one of the notes from the first chord in the second chord. It works best if that note is played on the exact same fret and string. This is a great way to tie together two chords that shouldn’t be played back to back.


Planing is an old classical music technique that involves playing an arpeggio or phrase up and down the neck in semitone increments. This can tend to sound pretty dissonant, but it is an effective way to create a “rising” or “falling” feeling in the music.

Cut Some Beats

A popular way to “prog-ify” your riffs is using interesting time signatures. This can be as simple as just cutting a beat or two off at the end of a riff. This immediately grabs the listener’s attention and creates musical tension.

Listen & Learn

The last way to sound more progressive on the guitar is to listen to the artists you want to sound more like. This will help your brain to get used to the ideas and concepts common in this style of music and eventually find its way into your playing. If you’re feeling up to the task, you can even try learning some of your favorite prog rock tunes!

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