someone explain the three cord trick?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by patrickroberts, May 7, 2001.

  1. patrickroberts


    Aug 21, 2000
    Wales, UK
    can someone explain the three cord trick?
  2. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    I'm not sure what you mean, except maybe the joke about "3 chord rock." If thats what you mean then I'm an expert.

    Any three chords that sound good together can be played in a progression easily and powerfully by any player (even by non-talented metal bands). It may have begun with Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." which used to be every beginning player's main riff (i dont know what the kids use these days....boy am I feeling old now).

    Go ahead, try it. It really works!
  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Isn't the three cord trick what the ladies in Thai cathouses do for an extra fee?
  4. patrickroberts


    Aug 21, 2000
    Wales, UK
    progression, where can i find these mystical lists of good sounding chords?
  5. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    As a start, pick any I, IV, V you want.
  6. TonyS


    Dec 13, 1999

    Stick those chords into a 12 bar blues format, and your on your way. ... BTW, It also helps to know the Key.
  7. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    it looks like all the responders are being uncharacteristcally vague for some reason.

    I'm also guessing you're referring to the three chords - I, IV and V. This is a typically blues or rock or country type of arrangement. Someone mentioned the key. The key of the song would be the same as the I chord or vice versa.

    Let's say we're in the key of C. The C major scale has the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. The I would be C, the IV would be F, and the V would be G. On your bass the pattern would be from the C (3rd fret of the A string), same fret on the D string would be the F, and 2 frets up on the D string would be the G. That shape is kind of important to memorize. Sometimes the V7 is used as the V. In case you're wondering, the ii, iii and vi are minor chords. (the lower case roman means minor). The VII is a half-dimininshed, but don't worry about that one. I can't think of a song that uses that type.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Or maybe it's a case of "The blind leading the blind"? ;)

    Actually, for advanced study of the three chord (not cord) trick - just take any "classic" Ramones song - like Beat on the Brat, Blitzkrieg Bop etc. etc.
  9. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Just turn on your distortion pedal and hit any three chords in the same order over and over again. Thats it. Once you get the hang of that, try changing the order on each fourth one. Now you'll really be cooking.
  10. duff_hodges


    May 15, 2000
    Suffolk, UK
    There are several styles of 'Three Chord Tricks'.

    The most common is the boogie-woogie style, e.g. G, C, D
    A popular one is a decending three chord trick e.g. Am, G, F (this example is used in the outro of Stairway To Heaven - Led Zepplin)

    If you listen to Bon Jovi's These Days song you will find that they do an accending three chord trick e.g. C, D, Em

    You find with three chord trick that the first two chords are played with equal time e.g. 2 beats in each chord, and that the third chord is usually double the amounts of the beats used in the first two chords e.g. if the first two chords are played with 2 beats on each then the thrid chord will usually be 4 beats long.