Tech Tip:Writing Songs 101, What Chords Go Together?

Take me to



This Q & A comes from the "Ask the Teacher" section of It’s loaded with great advice for developing guitarists. From the fundamentals of playing to sophisticated solos and modal techniques, there are priceless tips to take your skills to a higher plane. Read our entire library of Rock House articles.



Derek Kreider; Austin, TX

Q: I would like to attempt writing my own songs but I need a little help getting started in the right direction. This may sound like a dumb question but could you please give me a list of the chords that would work together in the key of A Major? Your help is greatly appreciated.


A: First, asking questions is not dumb—this is how we learn new information to help us grow!

The chords in the key of A Major are as follows:

A Major - B Minor - C# Minor - D Major - E 7th - F# Minor - G# Diminished


There is a chord scale that corresponds with any major scale that goes as follows:

I - Major 7th, ii - Minor 7th, iii - Minor 7th , IV - Major 7th, V - Major 7th, vi - Minor 7th, vii - Minor 7th b5


The three principle chords are the I, IV & V. You can take this formula and apply it to any major scale to find all the chords that will be in that key. This does not mean that you can’t use other chords to create songs and progressions (most rules have some exceptions) they are just the chords that will fit best.


Have some fun and create a masterpiece!


Hope this helps,
John McCarthy
Rock House