Soukous Chord Progressions

The typical soukous chord progression is a variation on a basic I-IV-V progression, where the roman numerals refer to the chords built on the corresponding degree of the diatonic major scale.

It is much simpler than it sounds. For instance, if we are playing a song in C, where C is the tonal center of the song, it means that the harmony of the song is built in the key of C, hence the main scale we can use is C diatonic major and the typical chord progression will be a variation of I-IV-V chords which in this case are C major, F major and G7. In the key of G the I-IV-V chords are G - C - D. Typical soukous/sebene progressions are I-IV-V-IV or I-V-IV-V or I-IV-I-IV etc.

If you have to learn how to play this kind of chord progressions a good starting point could be Justin Sandercoe's lessons.

Chord-based soukous guitar lines - position playing



In a post some time ago I outlined a possible overview of soukous guitar playing in three parts.

I didn't really work at putting together a clean and impeccable guitar method or tutorial but in some way I covered  the first part, or at least provided a hint of what the first part should be, in a video demo on the diatonic major scale and its harmonization in intervals of 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 10th and a related post.

In the same fashion I have now a video that covers part two of that outline.

Kaful Mayay

I made this video as a modest homage to the late Tabu Ley, recently passed away.

The song is "Kaful Mayay", with a nice ternary rhythm like those typical of West Africa or Ethiopia, but the sound is 100% congolese.

It should be Michelino Mavatiku Visi on guitar.

The progression is a I-IV-V in C.

The C major scale is used in 6ths in the intro and in its harmonized form in the solo.


I am grouping under this sections little articles, posts and comments related to the general topic of learning soukous guitar.

So far none of these article qualifies as a tutorial, they are just comments usually posted in response to some question regarding the videos or to expand on some video's content.

Again, this is not a systematic or a structured effort to build a real tutorial or guitar method, these are just my personal notes about soukous guitar shared as a complement to my videos.