Blues & Improv – Identifying IV chord

Rebecca G., Colorado

For the Blues & Improvisation stream, I have an adult student asking if she can locate IV chords as a whole step down from finger 5 instead of a half step up from finger 3. She feels it’s easier because she’s already needing to think about the V chord underneath finger 5, whereas we don’t play a chord with the finger 3 note as the root. I can’t think of any reason this would be a problem; am I wrong”

Kym N., California

I personally use 5 (V) to locate 4 (IV) and that’s how I teach my students. It is because I and V never change and 3 changes for major or minor.

Mark M., New York

I can’t think of a reason not to either.

Patti P., Hawaii

I agree – it’s how I think of IV chords too. The only advantage to think scale degree 3 up a half step is that is also how the suspended chord is taught later on.

Terri P., Michigan

The only reason I can think of that we use the “half step above 3” method to locate is for finger positions, when a person is first learning the major chords.