• Now you can play salsa without learning any new chords

    in Salsa & Latin styles

    Yesterday, I posted 4 new instructional clips from our new salsa course.

    Because I was sitting in a conference session, I didn’t have much time to talk about the clips — so what I want to do today is actually break down my favorite of the four.

    (Not that I need to because Jeff Goodkind does a wonderful job explaining the minor “1-4-5” progression, but I just want to add other insights based on things I’ve talked about in the past on this blog).

    So basically, if you know your major and minor chords, you can play the salsa piano progression demonstrated in the clip below…

    He’s basically playing a 1-4-5 chord progression in the key of C.

    Normally, that’d be:

    C major – F major – G major

    But he’s changing the C and F major chords to minor chords:

    C minor – F minor – G major

    (These are actually chords from the harmonic minor scale, which I’ll write about a little later. Unlike the natural minor and melodic minor chords, the 1st and 4th are minor and the 5th is major… but don’t worry about knowing this for now).

    Now, what’s important is the style in which he plays these basic major and minor chords:

    C minor
    C + Eb + G + C

    F minor
    F + Ab + C + F

    G major
    G + B + D + G

    He doubles up on the keynote by playing octaves. So you get a “C” on the bottom and on top, for example.

    You actually strike those two octave notes first and rebound with the middle notes.

    So for the C minor chord, it’s like doing this:

    C + C
    Eb + G

    (The two C’s surround the “Eb + G”)

    And you apply the same pattern to the other chords.

    This part is better observed by watching the clip above.

    Once you’ve mastered it going up (from C minor to F minor to G major), you just do the same thing coming down.

    The whole thing looks like this:

    C minor
    C + Eb + G + C

    F minor
    F + Ab + C + F

    G major
    G + B + D + G

    F minor
    F + Ab + C + F

    C minor
    C + Eb + G + C

    Whether you’re interested in playing salsa piano or not, it is very important to understand that chords are recycled over and over again in song after song and genre after genre.

    And once you know your basics and fundamentals and have added enough chords to your musical vocabulary, you can pretty much play any style you want.

    (Of course, you’ll need to learn the rhythms and nuances of the new genre, but the chords will be very similar to what you’ve already played… and this is proof).

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    Hear and Play Salsa Piano 101: Salsa Basics

    If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play Salsa & Latin styles, look no further!

    Salsa Piano 101 uncovers the basic rhythms and fundamentals you need to get started the right way. You’ll learn the secrets to playing the classic montuno pattern along with tons of Latin-based chords and progressions! From bass lines, chromatic walk-downs, and passing chords to clave rhythms, fill-ins, and harmonic movements, you’ll get it all in this comprehensive 2-hour course. Click here to learn more | Buy now

    Until next time!

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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.


    1 Jermaine

    hmmm, no comments. where you guys at?

    2 bigbeardale

    The Salsa course sounds interesting. Here is a link to a nice radio site that has a link on it to play salsa songs. Will go nice with your course.



    3 Jona U

    Thanks for introducing the salsa..first time on it and ‘m really checking it out…GB…

    4 sheaujiayap

    i like this course very much.
    it help me to learn all the chords.
    thanks for everything!!

    5 Marie Cottrell

    I really like this. How much? Enough to purchase the dvd.


    From Chicago

    6 Stan

    i called the office. they said its $39.95

    7 obinna

    i’ll really love to know how to play on all keys. can somebody help me with that? i need fundamentals and also a lecture on how to back up my tri-ton chords. thanks.

    8 able chords

    backup in what way?

    9 Attila

    i’ve almost fully transposed this to the ukulele, however it bothers me that there seems to be 4 chords, not 3 as the video says. What i mean is that the video says: Cm, Fm, G. but in reality there is a chord between the Fm and G. so i would like to know what chord that is. I’m self taught so i don’t know too many technical terms, but i managed to figure out the off beat notes after each chord. but i just can’t figure out that missing 3rd chord. any help guys…. gracias

    10 Isai

    I play it as Cm, fm, G than back to Fm than repeat. I haven’t seen the video but normally how salsa is played.

    11 isaac cortes

    I want to learn how to play latin piano

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