10 Chord Progressions that Steer Clear of the V-Chord

Avoiding the V-chord helps to remove a layer of predictability from your music.

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Guitar chordThe V-chord is the one built on the 5th note of a scale. For music in C major, G is the V-chord. It has the main characteristic of making the move back to the tonic chord (the I-chord) easy and obvious. In any progression you create, you’ll find that ending it with V-I makes for a very strong progression, one that points to the tonic chord as being the most important chord, tonally-speaking.

In a way, that is also the V-chord’s drawback. While some sub-genres of rock music welcome the V-chord’s strength and predictability with open arms, the V-chord can sound a little bit too obvious in others.

If you’re wanting to use progressions that avoid use of the V-chord entirely, here are some suggestions. You’ll see that many of them make use of “altered chords”: chords that don’t naturally belong in the key. And the last two modify the V-chord so that it’s main characteristic – the fact that it’s usually major – is removed.

  1. C  F  Bb  C
  2. C  F  Dm  C
  3. C  Am  F  Am  C
  4. C  F  C/E  F  C
  5. C  Bb  Ab  Bb  C
  6. C  Eb  F  C
  7. C  Am  Bb  F  C
  8. C  Gm7  F  Dm  C/E  F  F/A  C
  9. C  Gm  Fsus4  F  Eb  F  C


Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

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