My StudyBass

Minor Diatonic Chord Shapes v, ♭VI, ♭VII

The last three diatonic chords of the minor scale are the v, ♭VI, and ♭VII. Make sure you've learned chords i through iv.

The v Chord – Minor Triad/Minor 7th

In the natural minor scale, the v chord is a minor triad or minor 7th chord. The v chord is often a very important chord within a key, and we will discuss a lot more about the v chord in minor keys in upcoming lessons.

In the key of C minor, the v chord is Gm, or Gm7.

The V Chord – Major Triad/Dominant 7th

As we have discussed, the minor v chord of the natural minor scale is often changed to a major triad or dominant 7th chord derived from the harmonic minor scale. Here is the major triad and dominant shape. Fingering: In an exercise, I recommend shifting your entire hand for the duration of this chord, then right back for the next chord. In a bassline, fingerings can vary a lot. It will depend on the notes of the rest of the bassline.

In the key of C minor, the V chord is G, or G7.

The ♭VI Chord – Major Triad/Major 7th

In a minor key, the ♭VI chord is a major triad or major 7th chord.

In the key of C minor, the ♭VI chord is A♭, or A♭maj7.

The ♭VII Chord – Major Triad/Dominant 7th

In a minor key, the ♭VII chord is a major triad or dominant 7th chord.

In the key of C minor, the ♭VII chord is B♭, or B♭7.

Summary and Exercises

Memorize these minor diatonic chord shapes and be sure to practice them with both minor v and major V chords like I show in the exercises.

With access to two positions of major diatonic chord shapes and two positions of minor diatonic chord shapes, you have a lot to work with in all major and minor keys. Apply these possibilities in your own basslines, improvisations and compositions. Experiment!

When you learn other peoples' basslines, try to fit them into one of these positions. Sometimes it may not work, but often it will. You will be surprised how much more insight you will gain into music and basslines when you do this. You will tie the sounds of music to your instrument; you will organize music in your mind, ears and fingers.