Need help with I IV V video

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by progrmr, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio

    This video shows I IV V progression - but I'm confused. He's playing the notes, but he's playing in different positions.

    He says "Now we're playing on the root", "Now to the 4th" and he switches positions.

    So does I IV V mean position?? I think I'm just not getting something simple. I get the I IV V notes of the major scale based on the key - but I don't see how the I IV V progression relates to the position changes in this video.

    Can someone clarify?
  2. I-IV-V refer to chords in a given key, not positions. He makes this confusing by initialling "explaining" it in the key of C, but then switching to demonstrate in the key of G.

    There are seven notes in a scale:

    do re mi fa sol la ti (do-octave)

    The numeric (Roman) designations correspond to them as follows:

    do re mi fa sol la ti (do-octave)
    I ii iii IV V vi vii-dim I

    In the key of C major, these notes are:

    do re mi fa sol la ti (do-octave)
    I ii iii IV V vi vii-dim (I)
    C d e F G a b-dim (C)

    Capital letters, both in the alphabetic and in the numeric (Roman) systems, designate major chords on any particular scale note; so, in the key of C major, the chords in a I-IV-V progression are C major, F major and G major.

    in the key of G major, the chords in a I-IV-V progression are G major, C major and D major, because:

    do re mi fa sol la ti (do-octave)
    I ii iii IV V vi vii-dim (I)
    G a b C D e f#-dim (G)

    3-chord progressions using the I, the IV and the V chord are particularly common in rock and the blues, and are frequently the first chord progressions a beginner studies.

    I hope that helps.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  3. I'm not a theory expert or anything, but honestly whenever I read a lot of posts by the theory experts they use too much jargon that can go over people's heads including myself. So I'm going to try and explain it how I ended up understading it.

    I didn't watch the whole video since I don't have sound right now at work, but I IV V refers to the chords in the scale. When he's playing "on the root" (AKA the I), he's playing notes that pertain within that chord. Say if you're doing a I IV V progression on a C Major scale. In C the I IV V would be C F G. When you're on I for example, you're laying down that chord (C) for a certain number of bars. But you can play notes within the chord as long as you stay within the "rules" of the chord (ex. you wouldn't play a flatted 3rd in a C Major chord).

    There's a really common series of notes, what my teacher calls the "boogie woogie," is common in blues and rock in roll. Say you're on the I you could play C-E-G-A (root-3rd-5th-6th) in series over and over until you change to the IV which would be F-A-C-D (root-3rd-5th-6th) in series. You're essentially keeping the same position but on a different root note, in this case F.

    I'm trying to keep it basic, hence no mention of flatted 7s and the blues scale. I'm sure someone else can explain those concepts better. Let's just say in blues you generally don't play a normal 7th in a scale. It's usually flat. (ex. in the "Major" scale C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C when you play blues it would be C-D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C).

    This is much easier to show than it is to explain since by looking at your fretboard it allows you to picture how it all works.
  4. I think he gives a good explanation of what he's playing starting at about 2:30. The I IV V is the chord progression (based on the major scale), not the notes he's playing. As he explains, he's actually playing the root, 3rd and 5th notes of the I chord, and then takes that pattern to the IV chord, then to the V chord.

    Hope that helps.
  5. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    ok - that makes sense. I missed the part where he said that he was playing those notes.

    So is the root/3rd/5th a typical blues pattern??
  6. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    Technically, this part is not quite correct. The distinction you're making between uppercase and lowercase Roman numerals is really used only for the chords built on those scale degrees, not for the scale degrees themselves. This stands to reason when you think abut it: a single note cannot by itself be either major or minor.

    When you're talking strictly about the scale degrees, you technically should use the numbers without changing cases, as this comment from Dolmetsche online indicates:

    "The eight degrees of the scale may be numbered using 1 - 8 or Roman numerals I - VIII (i.e. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII) or i - viii (i.e. i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii, viii)"
  7. It's just one of SO many variations for blues patterns. Fellow TB'er Jon Liebman has a great book [] for blues patterns.

    EDIT: Since posting, I found this:
    This is one of the most common patterns. Good lessons here:
  8. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    ok, still having some trouble with this, well trying to apply what I think I know :)

    So C Major is:

    C D E F G A B C

    I, IV, V: C, F, G

    So the three chords on the fret board:


    now, let's say I want to do the root, 3rd, 5th in each of those chords

    Here's where I get stuck! lol - how do I identify which notes are the root, 3rd and 5th for each chord?
  9. I'm smiling as i'm typing this-- you're almost there!:)

    Think of the pattern you make with your fingers when you play the major scale []. Play a one-octave major scale beginning with your middle finger and say the degree outloud as you play it. The 3rd and 5th degrees are the 3rd and 5th for each chord. For example, as you play the major scale, you play the chord note (root) with your middle finger, the third of that chord with your index finger on the string below one fret up, and the fifth of that chord with your ring finger on the same string two frets down. The pattern that your fingers make will always be the 1,3,5 of that chord, so take that pattern and move the root (where your middle finger starts for the scale) to the corresponding chord in the progression.
  10. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    I think I sense an epiphany coming on here -

    like this:


  11. MonkeyBass


    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    Not to sound like an old knowitall curmudgeon or anything... but here goes.

    Just learn your theory ok? You'll be SOOOOOO happy you did.

    Go find a good teacher or a good book and study it. It's worth it!
  12. BINGO! :hyper:
  13. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Important to note that a blues usually uses all dominant seventh chords, so you need to play a flat seven (if you play the seventh note of the scale). The chords in a G Blues would be G7, C7, and D7. G7 has the notes G, B, D, and F--but the I chord based on the major scale would have an F#, which is not a bluesy sound at all. Adding in the F will open up other possibilities for you and make you bass lines more interesting. You can also try using the 6th (sometimes referred to as a 13 chord) note on each of these chords, which would be the E on the G7 chord. Makes your bass lines even more interesting. A typical "walking" pattern might be (G7) G B D E F E D B, (C7) C E G A Bb A G E, (D7) D F# A B C B A F#. Note that this is not an advanced type of bass line, it's more of a boogie woogie type of blues line. Walking a jazz blues, or playing a groove for a rock blues would be totally different, and if you're improvising this is just one of many possibilities that you can play.
  14. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    well, there goes the neighborhood - It's starting to make some least enough to start working some stuff.

    thanks a lot for your help SquashedOpposum - now that I can put some of these pieces together the overall theory behind it will be easier to understand.

    I know what I'm doing this weekend - "Bass Blues Weekend" :)

    Clearly there's a lot more to the picture as DaveAceOfBass points out - I'll get there...I'll get there.
  15. Glad to help. Yes, this was just a really basic example. As MonkeyBass said, there's no substitute for a good teacher or the right books.

    Have a great weekend!
  16. I'm well-aware that it often refers to chords rather than scale notes, despite the rigidity the Dolmetsche may suggest. I've been on many gigs, however, where songs, passages, etc. were given to me with notes reflected in upper or lower case to indicate the mode of the key signature. If my fundamental (i) is lower case (i.e., minor) and my III and VI notes are upper case (i.e., major), I'm probably playing in a minor key (Aeolian mode) aren't I? It makes transposition easier.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  17. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    But then it's still referring to the chords built on the degrees, not the degrees themselves and not the intervals. You can then reason back from that to get your key, but that's not the same thing.

    The Dolmetsch thing isn't really rigid AFAICS--it gives you three options, after all, any of which is correct. It's just that when you're referring strictly to the scale degrees, and not the chords built on them, the options should not be mixed, because to do so implies a distinction that doesn't strictly apply and could confuse a beginner.

    BTW, I didn't say that Roman numerals couldn't be used for scale degrees; in fact, the bit I quoted says the exact opposite. What I said was that mixing uppercase and lowercase is incorrect when referring simply to scale degrees, though perfectly correct when referring to chords of differing character that are built on them.
  18. +1 Monkey Bass is right on; and a good teacher, IMHO, will emphasize music theory as much as technique specific to your instrument. Learning music theory will open up a lifetime of new epiphanies for you. Playing the bass will be easier, learning new songs will be easier, learning other instruments becomes easier, understanding what your fellow musicians are playing becomes easier, you will be more sought-after as a musician, etc.


    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  19. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Here is a little trick to make it easier. Just follow the instructions to get the spelling of any chord.

    You still have to know the recipe for each type of chord, for example, a dominant chord has a root, a major third, a perfect fifth and flatted 7th.

    But there are only 4 or 5 you really need to learn - major, minor, dominant, diminished, and half-diminished (aka min7b5). That will cover 98% of all tunes you will come across.
  20. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio