# I, IV, V etc.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rick Martin, Dec 20, 2000.

1. ### Rick Martin

May 18, 2000
Clearwater, FL.
My books on Blues style bass often talk about the I, IV or V chord. If you are playing in the key of G does that mean that the G is the I the C the IV and the D the V? In any key do you just count from the root note with each note letter counting as one? Does the fact that B and C or E and F touch each other without a sharp or flat between effect this counting? Do these pants make my ass look fat?

2. ### Rick Martin

May 18, 2000
Clearwater, FL.
Fuqua?....Fuq me! I don't get it.
"Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb)the iii chord will be Bb Db F."
I see that if Gb is the tonic, then Bb is the III. Does your 'zample then go on to say that Db is the III of Ab? What about Cb??? Whycome you skipped Cb? And where the heck is Cb anyway? Are you making this stuff up?

3. ### pkr2

Apr 28, 2000
coastal N.C.
"And where the heck is Cb anyway? Are you making this stuff up? "

You go eddie Foookewr,

Pkr2

4. ### BoplicitySupporting Member

Ricky Martin...maybe this will help a little with the I, IV, V question. Choose any note as the root note of the I chord. Let's say G. The string directly above it on the same fret will be the root note of the IV chord. So you will see that you have a C, which is the root note of the IV chord. Then on that same string, move over two frets and that will give you the root note of the V chord, which in this case is the D.

Thus, no matter what note is the root note of the I chord, the root note of the IV chord will be on the same fret, but one string higher and the root note of the V chord will be two frets over the IV chord root. So if the I chord is Gb, the IV chord is B (Cb) and the five chord is Db. So you don't have to stop and "think." You know that pattern will work everytime.

I'll throw one more in to further confound you, if you are not already. If the I chord is G, you can also find the V chord on the same fret, one string below (if you have a five string bass.) If the I chord is C, the V chord is right below it, same fret on the E-string. That would be the G.

I know these are patterns and many folks here are opposed to patterns, but they helped me immensely to visualize the fretboard. In blues and some rock, knowing how to find the I, IV and V chords in ANY KEY was a tremendous help. The pattern is always the same, no matter what key.

Jason Oldsted

5. ### Rick Martin

May 18, 2000
Clearwater, FL.
I'm hip to the fretboard patterns, but dazed and confused on the how and why of it all. I'm not even clear on what I'm asking here. We can talk about the I,IV,V chords like in a blues song A,D and E or G,C,and D....right? But what about the notes that make up the chord's arpeggio? Does the pattern of those individual notes follow a similar formula?
Is there a correlation between the chords of the song and the notes of the arpeggio making up the bass riff?
Am I making sense? Does this look infected to you? What if you have a Henway?

6. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
Viva La Loca-
Chords are built on THIRDS; that why KungFu's 'zample sez the iii chord in Gb MAJOR is Bb-Db-F. Let's review-
GbMaj=Gb-Ab-Bb-Cb-Db-Eb-F-Gb, right? BTW, Cb=B...it's called ENHARMONIC. Why "Cb", then & not just plain ol' "B"?
Look again at the Gb Maj scale...see how the scale ascends in ALPHABETICAL order? (Gb-Ab-Bb-Cb-Db-Eb-F-Gb...RATHER than Gb-Ab-Bb-B-Db-Eb-F-Gb). Get it?
Anyway, back to THIRDS; count every other note to make up a chord. Bb is the THIRD in Gb Maj, right. To build the iii chord, Bb(root)-Db(minor 3rd)-F(perfect 5th)-Ab(minor 7th).
Therefore the iii chord, in Gb Maj, is Bb-Db-F-Ab or Bbmin7.
Your arpeggios are also based upon thirds...got it?

7. ### Rick Martin

May 18, 2000
Clearwater, FL.
Thanks. I'm starting to get hip to this jive. There is a good explanation of this stuff at Harmony Central and other sites around the web. I searched Music+Theory. As usual youse guys have been 'stremely helpfull.

8. ### BoplicitySupporting Member

Ricky, I had to close my last post because I needed to take care of other holiday matters, but I was wondering if you are clear on why you need to know about I, IV, V chords in blues. The I, IV, V chords are the ones that comprise the standard, most typical twelve bar blues pattern. They are the chord progression. There are variations, but as you are a beginner, it is best to start at the beginning and learn the typical blues progression.

Here are a few:
(Most Basic)
I I I I

IV IV I I

V IV I I

(Simple Variation)
I IV I I

IV IV I I

V IV I I

(Another Simple Variation)
I IV I I

IV IV I I

V IV I V

To get an idea of the sound in the easiest, simplest way, play the root of each chord, four beats to a measure, changing the root as indicated in the patterns. After you have done that awhile, you will be able to hear the "changes." Then you can move on to different rhythmns typical of blues and try different combinations of notes from each chord to vary your bass line.

Your blues books probably have far better explainations, but if you have more questions, don't hestitate to ask here as there are lots of folks here who can help you.

Another thing, listen to the great blues players like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy. Try to play along with their music or at least listen very carefully to it, trying to pick out the twelve bar blues pattern. See how the band "turns around" before it starts each new repetition of twelve bars. See if you hear variations. Pay strict attention to the rhythm. See if you can figure out what the chords are and how they change.

Jason Oldsted

9. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting MemberIn Memoriam

We had this discussion in a thread about tuning down a half step and it got onto "Equal Temperament" vs. "Just Temperament." Virtually all "Western Music" since Bach's time went over to Equal T. so that keyboard instruments could play all keys. But if you used Just T. then Cb would be different from B, depending on which interval you are playing. On the other thread I put a few links to the physics of this. We're only talking about slight differences, but significant - somebody put in a photo of a Warwick bass that had an altered fingerboard to enable Just T playing - it looked a mess!!

10. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
...and I know I wouldn't be able to differentiate between the two(remember, I'm a tone-deaf weasle).

11. ### virtual.ray

Oct 25, 2000
The I,IV,and V chords are the Principle Chords in any key.I dare say that in the majority of songs,no matter what else is going on harmonically,the I,IV, and V will be in there somewhere even when interspersed with other chords.So getting to know them in all keys is a very good thing.They're kind of like the Primary Colors,Red,Blue,and yellow,you know,they're almost always there in some form.

12. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
KungFuqua'd...