Keep It Groovy: Finding The One, Four, Five

One of the most common phrases spoken at a jam session is “it’s just a one, four, five!” This simple instruction is meant to imply quite a lot: the key of the song, the chords in the progression, and the fact that we might be playing a 12-bar blues or a rock’n’roll tune. It narrows down the harmony and makes it slightly easier to anticipate what will occur over the course of a song.

Long story short, it’s a very helpful hint… if we know how to find our ones, fours, and fives.

Enjoy this lesson and keep it groovy!

Ryan Madora is a professional bass player, author, and educator living in Nashville, TN. In addition to touring and session work, she teaches private lessons and masterclasses to students of all levels. Visit her website to learn more!

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