When playing chord progressions on the guitar, a common way of transitioning from one chord to another is through the use of “walk downs.”
A walk down is nothing more than moving from one chord to the next, by way of a “passing” chord in between the two.
One very common walk down for guitar players is the “I to VIm” (one to six minor) movement.
The Roman numeral “I” (one) stands for the first chord in the progression – as determined by the key signature of the song – and the Roman numeral “VI” (six) stands for the 6th chord in the progression, and this chord is a “minor” chord.
Our discussion today will center on the “I to VIm” walk down in the key of “G”. In this case we will walk down from a “G” chord, to an “Em” chord, by way of a passing chord.
The root note of the passing chord in this case will be an F#. So the single bass root notes of the walk down would be “G” to “F#” to “E”.
When expanding the root notes to full chords, one way we could play this walk down would be to play a “G” chord – to an “F#m” chord – to an “Em” chord.
In many cases that would work just fine, but there is another way to play this walk down that, you will find, is used much more commonly.
That is by replacing the “F#m” passing chord with a “D/F#” chord.
The forward slash directly after the “D” indicates the bass note to be added to the chord.
In this instance, we would play a “D” chord, but also add an “F# ” bass note to the chord. It is stated as a “D over F#” chord.
Now, the problem with the “D/F#” chord is that, when playing the “D” chord as normal, with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers, it’s almost impossible to play the F# note on the 2nd fret of the 6th string with the only available finger left, the pinky.
So how do we get around that? By using the thumb!
Try this by first forming a D chord. Then take your thumb and wrap it around the top of the neck and use it to play the F# note on the 6th string. Also, when playing this chord, we do not include the 5th string (A), so you can lightly touch the 5th string with the thumb to mute it.
With a little practice you should be able to play the F# note on the 6th string with your thumb, while using the extended part of your thumb to mute the 5th string – all while forming a D chord with the other fingers.
Now we can work on playing the walk down. The chords would be as follows:
G – D/F# – Em
Try that and see if it sounds familiar. It’s actually pretty easy, and once you get used to it, you’ll find yourself playing it all the time!
Source by Keith Dean