How to Use Secondary Dominant Chords

In this lesson we will continue our look at effective ways to create more interesting chord progressions by studying how to use secondary dominant chords.

The term secondary dominant may sound a bit scary to some musicians that don't have a lot of music theory training, but the concept of secondary dominants and their usage in chord progressions is pretty basic.

There are many artists that use secondary dominants in their chord progressions without any real knowledge of what it is they are doing. But, if you understand how they work you will be able to experiment with them a lot easier.

The use of secondary dominant chords has been around since almost the beginning of the modern harmonic system (ie 1600 or so). However, they are still liberally used today in popular music. One band that had a particular fondness for them was The Beatles. I will be using a couple of examples from their use of them to show you how easy it is to apply secondary dominants to common chord progressions.

Be sure to the download the PDF for this video lesson to be able to follow along a lot easier.

How to Use Secondary Dominant Chords PDF Download

As I mention in the video lesson, you will want some basic knowledge of keys and chord progressions to get the most of out this lesson. Check out these basic tutorials if you need any help with the basics.

Understanding Keys

Writing Major Key Chord Progressions

Good Luck! Carl...

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How to Use Secondary Dominant Chords


  1. Aldo Alfaro on July 3, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Hey Carl, awesome guitar lesson. Can you please do “La cancion del mariachi” by Antonio Banderas. It’s a Spanish song, but please check it out.

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