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I IV V question

Jonathan31

Member
Messages
1,442
I know typically when playing a I IV V progression it is normally treated as blues, mixing major and minor pentatonic. But say I am not using dominant chords and am instead playing all major chords like a rock progression, technically shouldn’t I be able to just play the major scale over all of it? Say I’m playing that progression in B and all chords are major and not dominant, can’t I just play major scale over whole thing? It seems more familiar to my ears to play minor pent but seems the major scale should work.
 

s3gle

Member
Messages
561
The reflex answer to get you through jam sessions at the bar is yes. I don't really believe in using strictly heptatonic or pentatonic licks over my own progressions. I rely heavily on I going to IV and V in the root... see the following

The way I say it is this, I IV V is the best way to counter any other progression. If it's the basis of a song, like many folk or 12 bar blues, then it follows that only 1 or 2 of the common modes applies. If your rhythm breaks with these or you inflect the 3rd much you'll not really need the exact scale because you'll want to make a harmonic synthesis of the melody rather than syncopate it. Otherwise it's the same obv

People will tell you to get creative with the scale and matching diatonics :dunno
 

rumbletone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,384
Depends entirely on the genre/style. Playing the major scale over the I IV V won’t have any ‘wrong’ notes, but may or may not sound great depending on the genre/style.
 

frdagaa

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,500
Yes, and LOTS of non-blues songs really on I IV V with the I major tonality. Frequently the Major pentatonic will be used a good bit. Country, Americana, singer songwriter, rock stuff
 

Guitardave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,563
I know typically when playing a I IV V progression it is normally treated as blues, mixing major and minor pentatonic. But say I am not using dominant chords and am instead playing all major chords like a rock progression, technically shouldn’t I be able to just play the major scale over all of it? Say I’m playing that progression in B and all chords are major and not dominant, can’t I just play major scale over whole thing? It seems more familiar to my ears to play minor pent but seems the major scale should work.
Yes, but it's not particularly easy to phrase musically using the straight major scale. Play an A major scale over A-D-E and it'll sound "off". Instead try using A mixolydian. Basically it's the A major scale with a flatted 7th - it'll be a lot easier to work with. From a fingering perspective it's also the D major scale...but better to approach thinking "A major with a changed note"

Combine that with major/minor pentatonic and some "blue" notes and you will have plenty to work with.
 

Ray175

Member
Messages
905
Major pentatonic will work here - however, you'll be lacking many of the the notes used to ceate tension/variety that are available by stepping outside of a rigid major pentatonic format.
 

Jonathan31

Member
Messages
1,442
Yes, but it's not particularly easy to phrase musically using the straight major scale. Play an A major scale over A-D-E and it'll sound "off". Instead try using A mixolydian. Basically it's the A major scale with a flatted 7th - it'll be a lot easier to work with. From a fingering perspective it's also the D major scale...but better to approach thinking "A major with a changed note"

Combine that with major/minor pentatonic and some "blue" notes and you will have plenty to work with.
In the case of A-D-E progression I will need to switch to D mixolydian and E mixolydian when playing over those chords correct? Thanks
 

Aaron Mayo

Member
Messages
2,196
what song(s) are you talking about?

switching modes based on the chord doesn't make sense for 1 4 5 popular, rock, blues whatever. you're in a key.

check out what the vocals and other melodies in the song are doing.
 

Guitardave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,563
In the case of A-D-E progression I will need to switch to D mixolydian and E mixolydian when playing over those chords correct? Thanks
No - you would be playing in the "key scale" of A major but adapting it to fit the chords of the progression.

I think this is the point in learning where it's valuable (and often easier) to just use your ears.

Play the A major scale slowly over each chord but start it from the root of the chord you are on.

Be patient and go slowly - speed is your enemy as you really want to hear how the notes sound against the chords.

Try changing individual notes that sound off to you. I think you'll find that changing the (G# to a G) will be one of those but it's not like it's a rule. Again - follow your own ear...

If you are struggling to play things that sound good try using a melody line from a song with the same chords. See if the notes from the melody line all fit nicely into one scale...
 
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923
If the l, IV, and V chords are all major in the key of A, I would approach it like this :

A chord - a b c# e f# with a c# e as chord tones

D chord - a b d e f# with d f# a as chord tones

E chord - g# b c# e f# with e g# b as chord tones

Although all three scales are the major pentatonic of each chord I look for the notes that are in more than just one chord - the a note is in the A and D chords, but when the E chord arrives the a note isn't good, so there's a g# or a b nearby.

The e note is in the A and E chords, but when the D chord arrives, the e isn't as good as the nearby d or f# notes.

The b note is in all three scales, but it's only a chord tone of E

The f# note is in all three scales, but it's only a chord tone of D

Etc.
 
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15,738
Guys who play rock seem to like how Guthrie Trapp explains things. Around 6 min, Guthrie says you want to get to where you don't have to think about chords, scales, arpeggios, and pentatonics as being separate things.

Yes, it will take work. But if you keep putting off the work, you'll keep asking the same questions for years to come.

 
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stevel

Member
Messages
15,205
I know typically when playing a I IV V progression it is normally treated as blues, mixing major and minor pentatonic.
Then you "know" wrong :)

I mean, yes, OK a lot of us with a blues-rock background are maybe somewhat more likely to encounter it as blues, but I'd say it's "normally" treated as just a Major Key, and only as blues when bluesy :)



But say I am not using dominant chords and am instead playing all major chords like a rock progression, technically shouldn’t I be able to just play the major scale over all of it?
That's exactly what you should do. This is the "normal" way :)

Granted, you would want to do something probably like emphasize chord tones (just like you would in blues) but yes, playing the Major scale, or Major pentatonic over it would be the correct thing to do, barring any other exceptions (i.e., bluesy).
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
10,775
not using dominant chords
First, why does that matter?

And yes, you can play it as purely major scale. If that is the sound you are after.

So, play a slow I/IV/I/V thing, play it all major. When I do that, I end up sounding a lot like Dickey Betts. Which isn't a bad thing. I could play the same thing and play strictly dorian. Or Mixolydian. Or mix them up, all 3 of them, and put in some passing notes and quarter tones, and heck, maybe even an implied 7b9.

These are the choices that you make, and those choices are your style. And part of that is knowing when, where and why you want to do each of these. And not only that, but it will depend on the song, and the band and what the point is.

If I'm playing those changes in a trad country band, my choices will be WAY different than if I was doing the exact same changes in a blues band, and different again if it was rock, and different again if it was jazzy. Or they wouldn't, which could give it an edge with the unexpected.

Just depends. Sometimes it just depends on what mood I'm in.
 

Ejay

Member
Messages
6,540
I IV V comes from the major scale....period....so anyone suggesting you shouldnt use that...not sure how to respond to that. Offcourse there are different ways to look at the same thing...which are worth investigating.

If you want to be on top of the game...you need to see the chord notes on the neck of those 3 chords...in relation to the major scale. Next step is seeing where to scale notes are above and beneath the chord notes.
You will discover that they all come with 9 and major 6, only the IV comes with a #11, the 4s on I and V are high tension notes, and only the V has a b7.

While this may seem a lot to take in...it is what it is....learning this is more efficient in the long run then trying to make half baked workarounds work....you’ll be looking for ways to fit a square in a triangle hole.

Mind you...pentatonics are the same as a full scale....minus the 4...that’s a note that makes you go flat on your face when landed on on the I...and the 7.
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
24,860
.....and you think there’s any chance someone missed the context of this thread and was confused?
I think it’s time for a topic on the difference between 7b10 and 7#9
Don't make start on Eb not being the same note as D#
 




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