Starting Your Song On The 5 Chord

Hey Song Meisters!

Are you stuck in a chord rut? Well, I’m going to give you a trick I’ve used when writing hits like Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It by Darius Rucker. It’s all about placing the 5 chord in  an unexpected place.

This is a short video but will go a long way in breaking you out of using the same old chords and making your music stand out from the crowd.

Write on!


Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. He is the co-founder of SongTown and has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Clay is also the co-author of Mastering Melody Writing and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.

5 thoughts on “Starting Your Song On The 5 Chord

  1. I landed on a 5-4-1 pattern starting a song about a stubborn fiddle player who’ll only bring his guitar to Nashville — and, of course, all anybody wants to hear is the violin. That’s when he realizes the fiddle is sexy and cool, and his girlfriend [me!] was right!

  2. What is really cool about the 5 chord in your song is that it suits the subject to a T. It feels like the singer is up in the air during the verse, kicking things around in his mind and then lands in the chorus with a clear perspective. It’s perfect!!! Thanks for the tip Clay can’t wait to try it. Also the 5 of 5 is also really cool again not quite sure which key your in until it resolved in the chorus. All really effective choices. Thanks.

  3. Awesome tip, I’ve also started on the Em when playing a G song song… it lends some tension to the lyrics which feels cool :). Thank you!

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