Skip to content

I,IV, V Chord Location Guide

This I-IV-V (1, 4, 5 chords)family is the basis for countless chord progressions in pop, rock, country, blues, and jazz. This page shows you how to locate chord families automatically in any key, all over the fretboard.

  • The Roman Numerals in the chart above are the roots of the I, IV, V chord in the key of C.
  • The I chord is named because its root is the keynote, In the key of C, the C chord is the I chord.
  • The IV chord’s root is a fourth above the keynote. For example, the F is a fourth above C, so the F chord is the IV chord in the key of C.
  • The V chord’s root is a fifth above the keynote. Its root is a whole step above the root of the IV chord. G is a fifth above C (and a whole step above F) so the G chord is the V chord in the key of C.
  • The I, IV and V chords form a ‘family.’ They are used together so frequently that in order to get familiar with them, you must first locate them on the fretboard in any key.

Here’s How!

The I – IV – V root patterns on the fretboard chart are movable.


*The above C chord family has a 6th string root/I chord.

*When the I chord has a 6th string root, the IV chord’s root is always on the same fret/5th string.

Here are some chord families that make this understandable (root notes are labeled with an “R”):

1, 4, 5 Chords Key of G

Key of Bb

Key of D


*This chord family has a 5th string root.

*When the I chord has a 5th string root, the root of the V chord is always on the same fret/6th string.

The root of the IV chord is always two frets below that of the V chord, like this (root notes labeled “R”):

Key of F

Key of D

Key of G