Peg chords

Peg chords DEFAULT



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Learn how to play exactly like Steely Dan



Cmaj7 - GCmaj7 - G 1. I seen your picture Cmaj7 - GCmaj7 - G Your name in lights above it Fmaj7CFmaj7 - C This is your big de-but Fmaj7G - C - G It like a dream come true Fmaj7C - Fmaj7 So, won you smile for the camera CFmaj7 - G - C - G I know you gonna love it Cmaj7 - GCmaj7 - G 2. I got your pin shot Cmaj7 - GCmaj7 - G I keep it with your letter Fmaj7 - CFmaj7 - C Done up in blue-print blue Fmaj7G - C - G It sure looks good on you Fmaj7C - Fmaj7 So, wont you smile for the cameras CFmaj7-GFmaj7 - G I know they gonna love it Peg

Cmaj7 - GAm - Am7 - E Ch: Peg It will come back to you Cmaj7 - GAm - Am7 - E Peg It will come back to you A - CG - F# Then The shutter falls BmF#7 - Am You see it all in 3D CCmaj7 - GCmaj7 - G It your favorite foreign movie

Inst: C - G - F#m - Bm - em - Bm - CG - F# - F - F#7 - Cmaj7 - G Repeat Chorus:

A classic song from a classic record, “Peg” by Steely Dan is taken from the band’s classic 1977 album “Aja” and is written by core members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The song was a big hit in the US when it was first released, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remaining a staple in Steely Dan’s live set for many years after. “Peg” is an excellent tune to learn for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of chords, and it also features a classic guitar solo from LA session legend Jay Graydon. Completing the all star lineup is the one and only Michael McDonald on backing vocals, so it’s no wonder this song performed so well on commercial radio. In today’s online guitar lesson, we will be looking at the chords, guitar solo tab and music theory analysis of this piece.

Peg – Chords

Not your standard 4 chord pop song, “Peg” features a number of unusual jazz chords thanks to Fagan and Becker’s shared jazz backgrounds. The easiest way to learn this song is to break it up into sections, and that’s exactly what we’ll do here. First, let’s take a look at the chords that are played in the introduction, which support the brass lines:

peg steely dan guitar chords intro

Each of the first six chords are simply strummed once and held for the entirety of the bar, also known as playing “diamonds.” Once we get to the Cmaj7 and the Gadd9/B, the main groove to the song is outlined which sets up the verse chord progression. I have detailed this in a tab a little further down the page. We will get to that later, after we have looked at the rest of the chords for the verse:

steely dan peg guitar chords verse

Although there are a few different ways of voicing the chords above, I feel the method I have outlined is the easiest, at least in my opinion. Yes, it does involve more left hand movement around the neck, but there are only two different shapes to memorise in for the entirety of the verse. Let’s now take a look at the chords for the chorus:

peg guitar chords chorus steely dan
peg guitar chords page 2

As you can see, there are a lot of chords to memorise for the chorus section. Take your time in learning these shapes if any are unfamiliar to you. From my own personal experience, I found the best way was to learn the first half and repeat it over and over again, before then progressing to the second half which starts with the Aadd9/C# chord. Finally, let’s have a look at the guitar chords that I play over the bridge section to “Peg.” This section occurs after the first chorus in the song:

Peg steely dan bridge section guitar chords

I have found it much easier to play the triads outlined above, dropping the bass notes from each chord, creating smooth transitions between each shape. I also believe that the method outlined above sounds correct when compared to the original recording.

Now that you’ve got all of those chord shapes under your fingers, it’s time to study the guitar tab for “Peg” – which I have included below. Keep in mind that this just for the chords in the song, and not the guitar solo or muted single note parts in the verse:

peg steely dan guitar tab
peg guitar tab steely dan page 2

Peg Brass Parts Tab

There are two main brass parts that feature prominently in “Peg.” The first of which occurs in the intro, and serves as the first hook for the song. I have transcribed the intro brass parts for guitar below:

Peg  guitar tab steely dan brass intro

The second brass part to feature prominently in this tune are the fills that occur in between the vocal breaks from the second verse onwards. Despite the chord changes, these fills are always the same:

peg guitar tab steely dan verse brass fills

Peg Guitar Solo Tab

As mentioned above, Jay Graydon’s guitar solo in “Peg” is a classic. Reportedly, the band tried out seven top session guitarists for the solo before settling on Graydon’s attempt, which he spent six hours perfecting in the studio. Here is a link to a fantastic transcription of this solo on Graydon’s official website. You can’t get anymore accurate than that!

Music Theory Analysis


“Peg” is in the key of G major, although it features a number of chords that are non diatonic. Here is the scale of G major, harmonised into 3, 4 and 5 note chords:

Major 7minor 7minor 7Major 7Dominant 7minor 7minor 7 b5Major 7
Major 9minor 9minor 7b9Major 9Dominant 9minor 9minor 7 b5 b9Major 9

The intro starts on the tonic chord of Gmaj9, before moving to a rather unusual F#7#9 chord. This is then followed by the same maj9 – 7#9 sequence a tone lower (Fmaj9 – E7#9) and then the same chord progression another tone lower (Ebmaj9 – D7#9.) Essentially, what we have here is a series of maj9 descending a tone at a time, connected by altered dominant chords in between. If we look at the first instance, the F#7#9 is actually the tritone substitute of the Fmaj9 chord in the next bar, since the V chord of Fmaj9 should be C7. This gives us a pattern of the tonic chord, and then a series of strong sounding V-I cadences, a common jazz songwriting technique.


As stated by Donald Fagan, the verse to “Peg” is fundamentally a blues progression with a couple of twists. If we looked at a standard blues progression in the key of G Major, it would look like this:

The first thing to note is that Fagan & Becker have opted to replace the traditional dominant 7 chords featured above with add9 chords, placing the 3rd in the bass. Fagan and Becker refer to this specific chord voicing as the mu chord, often signified by μ. Secondly, each chord in the traditional blues sequence is prefaced by a Major 7 chord a perfect fourth away in “Peg” – creating a plagal cadence in every bar.


The chorus to “Peg” begins with a really nice diatonic IV I II VI chord progression in the tonic key of G. It actually starts out with the same chords as the verse, before moving to the relative minor of the key signature (Em.) The m11 chords built on the root notes of A and E are still diatonic to G Major, as they do not contain any notes from outside of the scale. It then moves to a non diatonic chord in Aadd9/C#. This could be viewed as a II major chord, or you could prefer to see it from the perspective of the C# bass note, which creates a #4, or b5 interval, before moving down to chord IV, which is Cmaj7. The GMaj7 and F#7 chords that follow are taken from the intro, before we move into a Be-Bop turnaround with the Bm7, E7#9, Am7 and C/D chords, which are chords III, vi, ii and V in this key.

However, don’t just take my word for it. Below are two excellent videos of Donald Fagan explaining how he came up with the chord progression to “Peg”:

Final Thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed today’s lesson on “Peg.” Steely Dan are a great band to learn from for more advanced chord types and chord progressions, as well as more interesting guitar parts and riffs. Although the band make use of jazz harmony in their music, their songs still remain highly listenable and radio friendly, a feat that requires a lot of craft and attention to detail. Please let me know in the comments if you would like me to tackle another one of their songs in the future.

Until next time,


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    G6/  F#7#9    F6/  E7#9    Eb6/  D7#9

    VERSE 1:


  • Cmaj7    Gsus2/B  Cmaj7  Gsus2

    I've seen your

    Cmaj7     Gsus2  Cmaj7  Gsus2
  • picture                 your name in lights

    Cmaj7    Gsus2  Cmaj7  Gsus2

    above it                this is your

  • Fmaj7     Csus2  Fmaj7  Csus2

    big    de-but               it's like a

    Cmaj7      Gsus2  Cmaj7  Gsus2
  • dream come true            so won't you

    Gmaj7     Dsus2        Fmaj7  Csus2

    smile for the camera          I know you're gonna

  • Cmaj7    Gsus2  Cmaj7  Gsus2

    love it


  • VERSE 2:


    I've got your pin shot

  • I keep it with your letter

    Done up in blue-print blue

    It sure looks good on you

  • So won't you smile for the camers

    I know they're gonna love it Peg


  • CHORUSCmaj7   Gsus2/B       Am11    E7sus4

    Peg     it will come back to you

  • Cmaj7   Gsus2/B       Am11    E7sus4

    Peg     it will come back to you

    Asus2/C#   C6/            G     F#7
  • Then          the shutter falls

    Bm7 E7#9 Am7           C/D               Cmaj7  Gsus2

    You see it all in   3D it's your favourite foreign movie

  • Cmaj7  Gsus2   F#m7  Bm7  Em7  Bm7   C6/


    Then it repeats the intro sequence of descending chords and

  • goes into the solo.


    Chords for the solo are the same as for the verses.


    The rest is just repeats.


  • Chord Shapes :

    for convenience  : a=10,b=11,c=12 etc


  • (So an E shape bar chord at the 9th fret would be 9bba99  )


  • xa99ax     x989ax     x8778x     x7678x     x6556x     x5456x


    G6/      F#7#9      F6/      E7#9      Eb6/      D7#9

    EADGBE     EADGBE     EADGBE     EADGBE     EADGBE     EADGBE x3x453     x2x233     3xx233     x8x9a8     9xx899     xaxbca

    Cmaj7     Gsus2/B    Gsus2     Fmaj7    Csus2     Gmaj7


  • EADGBE     EADGBE     EADGBE     EADGBE     EADGBE     EADGBEAxx9aa     x0xcda     0xxefc     9x99ax     8x778x     355433


  • Dsus2      Am11     E7sus4     Asus2/C#    C6/       G


  • 242322     7x7777     5x5555     xx0553     2x2222     079787


    F#7      Bm7       Am7         C/D      F#m7      Em7
  • PLAY TOO ..
  • Sours:
    How to Play \

    Standard (EADGBE)


    [G6/9] F#7#9 [F6/9] E7#9 [Eb6/9] D7#9

    Verse 1

    I've seen your

    picture your name in lights

    above it this is your

    big de-but it's like a

    dream come true so won't you

    smile for the camera I know you're gonna

    love it

    Verse 2

    I've got your pin shot

    I keep it with your letter

    Done up in blue-print blue

    It sure looks good on you

    So won't you smile for the camers

    I know they're gonna love it Peg


    Peg it will come back to you

    Peg it will come back to you

    / [C6/9]

    Then the shutter falls

    You see it all in 3D it's your favourite foreign movie


    Then it repeats the intro sequence of descending chords and

    goes into the solo.

    Chords for the solo are the same as for the verses.

    The rest is just repeats.

    Chord Shapes :

    for convenience : a=10,b=11,c=12 etc

    (So an E shape bar chord at the 9th fret would be 9bba99 )

    [G6/9] F#7#9 [F6/9] E7#9 [Eb6/9] D7#9

    x3x453 x2x233 3xx233 x8x9a8 9xx899 xaxbca

    axx9aa x0xcda 0xxefc 9x99ax 8x778x 355433

    Am11 / [C6/9]


    Chords peg

    Steely Dan Chords Tutorial: Learn How To Play The Intro To Peg

    steely dan chordsHave you ever felt bored while listening to a 3 chord pop song?

    Do you find the chord change bland or repetitive?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions you’re not alone.

    Many educated and studied musicians have trouble relating to pop songs because of their lack of harmonic and melodic sophistication.

    Lets face it, there are many pop songs that have some boring chord changes. How many thousands of times do we have to hear I-IV-V (1-4-5) before we fall asleep? 🙂

    For those of us who love the power of richer harmony there is good news though. There are a number of pop artists who’ve learned how to use rich jazz harmony in an incredibly tasteful way.

    People like Jamie Cullum, Steely Dan, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Sade, Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, and Erika Badu have been able to successfully achieve that mix in many of their songs.

    So, what can you learn from their success?  How can you blend that subtle mix of jazz harmony into a pop context?

    How can you successfully learn to use jazz chords in a pop song in a tasteful way?

    Painting Pop Songs With Hip Harmony

    steely dan chordsBeing able to tastefully use jazz harmony in a pop song is no easy feat.

    On the surface it may seem easy but to do it well requires a special type of skill.

    I know from my experience as a professional songwriter, I too, tend to want to “hip” up my chords and try to paint with the deepest colors.

    As Jazz pianists especially, we are on the never-ending journey for richer and cooler sounding chords.

    I do believe however that there is a fine line between using richer harmonies because it’s what the song calls for, versus my wanting to show and demonstrate how much I know…or worse, to sound cool.

    I have seen numerous times when a fellow jazz musician tells me they are writing a pop song and after hearing it I realize that they really don’t understand the idiom.

    The melodies are meandering, the chords are way to dense, and the structure ultimately is that not of a pop song.

    Sounds formulaic I know, but there really is an art and skill to writing a song in less than 4 minutes that has a huge catchy chorus and resonates with millions of people.

    Though much less so today, there have been numerous artists who have bridged the gap between pop and jazz with huge commercial success.

    So, today I’m going to share with you one of the best examples of jazz harmony being successfully used in a pop idiom.

    Say Hello To Steely Dan Chords

    steely dan chordsFor close to 40 years now, Donald Fagan, the keyboard player and main songwriter of the group “Steely Dan”has successfully incorporated pop, jazz, fusion, funk and R&B into his pop/rock tunes on an extremely high level.

    With over 40 millions records sold, Steely Dan has been a powerhouse hit machine.

    They’ve written classic songs as well as being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2001) The depth and breadth of their catalog is enormous.

    So, for sake of this article I would like to show you how Steely Dan expertly uses jazz chords in the intro changes to their hit song “Peg”.

    For those of us trying to bridge the gap between pop rock and jazz this song is an essential study!

    Peg Ain’t Never Square!

    Let’s take a look and listen to the very hip, and instantly recognizable intro to “Peg”.

    Take a listen right now and then we’ll learn explore how it’s contracted. Turn it up too! Let’s have some fun. 🙂

    Steely Dan Peg Chord Breakdown

    Here are the chords in the intro:

    Gmaj7 –   F#7#9 –   FMaj7 –  E7#9 – EbMaj7  –  D7#9

    Now, lets break down some of these chords and chord progressions and study some of the great techniques behind them.

    Chromatic Bass Motion Is Super Cool

    Never one to just settle for just a plain old chord progression, Steely Dan hits us immediately with a chromatic walk down switching between major 7’s to Dom7#9’ chords.

    Talk about hip right off the bat!

    The cool part about is that he’s using one of the oldest jazz harmonic “tricks” in the book. The tritone substitution.

    Fagan is simply moving each chord down a half step. By subtly changing the chord qualities each time every chord sounds new and fresh. 

    If you’re new to this type of chord progression check out Steve’s great tutorial on the tritone substitution.

    (Steve also uses this technique in this jazz piano tutorial and this jazz piano lesson.)

    How To Play The Jazz Chord Voicings In Peg

    Now that your ear is starting to get a feel for some of the jazz moves that Steely Dan uses in the intro lets dig a little deeper and learn how to play these chords.

    Here are some simple tips for you to nail these voicings.

    • GMaj7: (Think B minor triad over the note G).
    • F#7#9: (RH: 3- b7-#9 over LH: F# root).
    • FMaj7: (Think A minor triad over the note F).
    • E7#9: (Voiced RH: 3- b7-#9 over LH: E root).
    • EbMaj7: (Think G minor triad over the note Eb)
    • D7#9 chord: (Voiced RH: 3- b7-#9 over LH: D root)

    Chord wise, this is quite a jazzy intro but Fagan is a master at making jazzy chords feel common sounding and unforced.

    Now, lets talk about a few other gems you can take away from this song.

    Major 7th Chords Are Slick

    Major 7 chords are one of the most utilized chords in jazz most notably in the 2-5-1 chord progression.

    Here Fagan is voicing his Major 7 chord typically, but still very effective. He creates a wonderful example of tension and release by repeating these the two chord qualities.

    Hendrix Chords And Jazz

    hendrix chords jazzWith regards to the Dom7 #9 chord, oftentimes referred to as “The Hendrix Chord” take note of the shape of the voicing.

    The voicings above are the most commonly used voicing for a Dominant7#9 chord on the piano.

    So, add it to your chords collection immediately.

    The Dom7#9 chord is used endlessly in Blues and Rock styles. Billy Joel uses this shape as well in his pop classic “New York State Of Mind”.

    If you really want to learn more chord voicings you should check out Steve’s whole library of chord tutorials inside his Premium Jazz Lessons Elite Membership Course. 

    jazz piano lessons online

    As you begin to hear what these chords sound like as well as learn their shapes you will begin to see how prevalent they are in many pop songs.

    It’s all in when and how they are used that creates the most impact on the listener.

    Learn From Steely Dan!

    After you get the intro under your fingers and in your ears check out the rest of the tune and see how many jazzy cool chords Steely Dan makes use of.

    Major9 chords, Dominant 7sus chords, and the signature “Steely Dan” slash chord (A/C#) are just some of the gems intertwined into the tune, and they all feel right.

    Add these newly leaned jazz structures into your own compositions when necessary. Sometimes just adding tension 9 to your major 7 chord can be just enough spice to liven up your tune!

    How To Add These Chords Into Your Music

    Ready to grow your playing now? Cool! Here’s your next steps to master these chords.

    1. Take this article to the piano with you and block out just a few minutes of time.

    2. Go through “Peg” and learn these shapes. Sit down and get the feeling and sound of these Steely Dan chords. Get them under your hands and in your ears.

    I’ve given you every note in the chord voicings above so the process should be easy for you! 🙂

    Some Final Practice Thoughts

    You never know when you will want another harmonic option when writing and composing, especially in a pop situation.

    I can’t repeat enough that options are everything, and one jazz chord can take your creativity to a place you only dreamt of going.

    Remember: don’t just use it because you know it. Develop your instinct for what’s appropriate. Like Donald Fagan, this is the sign of true artistry.

    • Do you have a favorite rock or pop song that uses jazz chords?
    • How about a favorite jazz artist who’s done a pop recording?
    • Do you have questions or have anything to add to the article?
    • Please leave your comment below!


    brett epstein la songwriterThis was a guest post written by Brett Epstein. Brett is a Los Angeles based jazz pianist,  professional songwriter and music producer. Brett studied at the the Berklee College of Music where he majored in Contemporary Writing and Production. His songs and productions have been featured on many TV shows and feature films, as well as performed by national recording artists. His guitar playing can also be heard on Cher’s latest recording. Brett gigs with many jazz bands around the Southern California area and maintains a small private piano teaching practice.
    For more on Brett you can check out his wikipedia page here or connect with Brett on Facebook here: 


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    Peg - Steely Dan / CHORDS + PLAYALONG (Rhythm guitar)


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