| Davide Pannozzo

How to play over the I IV change

17 March 2016
Davide Pannozzo



Welcome to a new lesson! After the last on "How to play The Modern Blues" now I'm going to show you how to play over the I-IV change, giving it an altered sound.

The I-IV cadence is one of the most significant change to play over if you want to make your blues playing sounds more modern. To better understand that, you need to know how to create tension over the change. Being two dominant 7 chords (I7 & IV7), we can apply a "tritone substitution" to create more tension over the change.

If we were in G we would have: two bars of G7, two bars of the tritone substitution C#7 (three tones away from the tonic or a 5b from that) and then two bars of IV7 (C7). That could be applied even in a Minor situation. In that case, we would have two bars of Gmin7, two of G7 (being G the fifth of the IV chord), and then Cmin7 on the IV chord. 

Having said that, the chord that we created through the Triton substitution can be altered using these options:


  • Minor Pentatonic a half step away from Tonic
  • Minor Pentatonic up a minor third from Tonic
  • SuperLocrian Scale on Tonic
  • Diminished Scale on Tonic
  • Dominant Seven Pentatonic on 5b & 5#


Everything works fine, but I suggest you make your decision depending on the situation in which you are playing on. Don't overuse these options or your playing could sound too much dark, harmonically speaking. 

I've done a short video here on: G-min7 | Cmin7 | D79#|| 
Being a I IV V you can apply everything I wrote above! In the next lessons, I will discuss all options more deeply. 

Comment and Share if you liked it! I would love to get your feedback!

Davide Pannozzo

PS: You might like my new online courses "Scale Concepts For Modern Blues Guitar" or "Jazz & Blues Standards Soloing". Check these out:





Comments 4

The rhythm guitar is mixed too quiet. It would be helpful to have a subtext saying which of the scales you mention are in play. You mix them all up and it's hard to comprehend. Tasty playing though!!
Hi Michael, thanks for watching and writing. I'm sorry for the quality of the audio. It was just an improvisation got it with my iPhone. You're right, I've mixed all the scales up that I mentioned in the article. Anyway, feel free to ask me anything you want to know about that. I'll be glad to help! Peace, DP
Gent.mo Davide, vorrei subito farti i complimenti, i tuoi suggerimenti sono preziosi oltre che straordinariamente utili. In merito alle opzioni mostrate (il cambio tra I e IV) la tonica di riferimento è il G? Poi, scusami se approfitto, x la diminuita intendi G,G#, A#,B...Grazie mille. Massimiliano
Ciao Massimiliano, scusa per il ritardo con cui rispondo. Ti ringrazio per il commento e i complimenti, sempre graditi! In merito alla tua richiesta, si nel cambio I-IV la tonica di riferimento è G. Per la diminuita intendo la semitono-tono, quindi G,G#,A#,B etc.. Scrivimi pure se hai bisogno di sapere altro! A presto! DP

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