Cavaquinho basic progressions in C and Am

Course: Basic Online Course for Cavaquinho



In this lesson, you will learn how to do the Cavaquinho progressions for 1-4-5 in C Major and A minor using the same strumming patterns that we’ve learned in the previous lesson.

Take your time to get familiar with the chords we’re going to use. Place your fingers and let them rest at the fingerboard until it starts to feel natural. You’ll see a list of chords below each video and a graphic showing where to position your fingers.

Cavaquinho Progressions

There are many Cavaquinho progressions, but for the scope of this lesson, we will only see the 1-4-5 in C Major, which is one of the most used in the folk Brazilian music and in many different songs.

By learning these progressions, you will have a strong foundation that will help you enter the world of music theory and the Cavaquinho. No matter for which key, the progression structure stays the same, so you will only need to learn the chord figures for each key to be able to do interesting musical stuff, like transposing a song from a key to another one and playing by ear when somebody sings a song in a different key.

Progression in C Major

As we’ve mentioned before, the most basic progression is 1-4-5, and probably the easiest way to learn it is with C Major and its family of chords.

If you go through the whole video, you’ll notice that the first measures are done without any rhythm at all, but progressively we’re including a rhythm pattern. Don’t worry about this, you’ll have the chance to get familiar with this rhythm pattern in the lesson Basic Rhythm and Pattern.

The chords used in this progression are:

C / F / G7

Progression in A minor

Once you get familiar with these 3 basic chords, you will be able to do some other more complicated ones.  We will continue with another exercise where you will be required to do 3 chords that belong to the A minor family.


Am / Dm / E7

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