View Full Version : More Than One Type Of Power Chord?

09-19-2003, 04:10 AM
I know that power chords/5 chords can go 1,5 or 1,5,8 and that they sound good on electric guitar because of some technical explanation I forget, but I was browsing a Mel Bay book and it had a section with 6 chords that went 1,6 and I hadn't heard of that before. The practice songs were blues type stuff I think if that means anything. It just made me wonder what other shortcuts I could be picking up and playing with while I swallow the bigger stuff. Are there any more two to three string chords like that and do you have any comments on the 6 chord power chord? I had never heard of it or seen it mentioned before so the history of it or any remarks on how it sounds or stuff like that would rock.

rock on,

09-19-2003, 04:16 AM
I think you're talking about playing a root and 5th, which creates a power chord. That's really the definition of the power chord to me, the root and the 5th. The other chord I think you're talking about is a blues type chord, which adds the 6th.

Here are two power chords, an A chord based on the low string (6th string) and a D chord based on the 5th string. The last chord is an A w/ the 6th added, which is common in blues and rock progressions.

A**D***A w/ 6th added

Does that make any sense? Is that what you wanted to know?

09-19-2003, 05:04 AM
Yeah, that's what I wanted to know, thanks! I didn't realize that the one with the sixth still had the fifth, I missed that browsing, thanks. That is some intense fingering there though, not the shortcut I thought it would be, lol. Thanks!

rock on,

The Bash
09-19-2003, 06:17 AM
Often times you'll just use 2 fingers for those, though I perfer fingering the whole chord and reaching the pinky out as a safety net.
So in most cases youll just need the R/5 chord then the R/6 chord.
So for bar chords use finger 1 for the root and finger 3 for the 5th.
The keep your finger 1 on the root and put your pinky on the 6th (up a whole step from the root) it's best if you can reach it to leave your 3rd finger down and strech cause most times you'll go back to that note.
You can also slide the pinky up one more fret (1/2 step) and get the b7.

Theses are eaier at first in open postion so u got an open string like A as the root put your first finger on E on string 4 fret 2 and use finger 3 for the f# at fret 4 on same string.
That works well for A, D, E, Pretty coomon blues riffs.
You can add b7 there to.
You'll hear that one a lot as well.

09-19-2003, 07:38 AM
This is kind of silly but fun as far as 6th "chords" or 6th comping goes you can do a basic blues shuffle with it (or a Chuck Berry style rock) I went ahead and made a quick little contrived powertab of it that you can mess around with.

The only difference is the feel, the first section is "swung" with a triplet feel and the second is straight 8ths. Blues shuffle or chuck berry, whatever your pleasure.


09-19-2003, 09:49 AM
To me who plays mainly on acoustic, the definition of powerchord is somewhat wider - no 3rd. Out of lack of distortion I have to come up with the ways to make the sound sound fat and raw without amplification. So I use these types of powerchords:

1. Root+5th (both often come doubled).
2. Root+4th (same as #1 if looked at 4th as being the root)
3. sus2
4. sus4

#3 & #4 are constructed of stacked 5ths. You can go even further and try playing chords that include 4 stacked 5ths - for ex.:

C, G, D, A - whatever the name - C5/D5, C5(6/9), C69(no 3rd), Csus2add6...
I use this type of chord a lot.

Curious, that adding the next 5th after A - E gives you pure C69 major chord back so we must stop here.

All these chords bring the overtone-shaded bell ringing feel on acoustic with clean sound.

As to Root+6th chord - they usually would play the role of passing intervals cos the have minor quality (inverted m3). You also may come across Root+#5 which also a passing one.

In the ptb example below I'm moving gradually from E minor chord to E5/F#5 chord (acme power point :)) using open position all the way which is supposed to sound on acoustic well.

Ultra mega best regards,

09-19-2003, 10:15 AM
Here's the ptb of it:


09-19-2003, 08:31 PM
Something that I thought it was just AWESOME when I first got introduced to it (by an Article by Steve Morse first and then Rock Discipline by John Petrucci back in 1998 :D I sound old) was the "spice power chords up" concept, which basically is using your standard root 5th (E-1 - A-3 in tablature to give you an example) and add other notes (read scale degrees) to it, if you do that you'll have the spice of jazzy chords but with more of a rock attitude AND they sound great with distortion (that just blew me away when I first learned it :)) just to give you a few examples:

D-5 -------3--------------------x------------x--------x-------12----------x
Fsus2 Fadd13(no third) F Maj Fmin Fsus4 Fadd6/CFadd7

These patterns are movable sop you should be able to "make up" different chords out of these ones, try and experiment with other intervals and see what sounds best to your ears.

I hope this is helpful.


09-20-2003, 08:15 PM
Hi guys,

One of my biggest influences when it comes to the different ways to play and invert powerchords is Eric Johnson.
Check out the advice he gives you in his GuitarWorld.com\lessons\Eric Johnson columns.

As to the original question one of the most efficient ways to learn the Power5th chord, 6th chord(as an extension of the Power5th chord), and 7th chord((as an extension of the Power5th chord) is to learn the open string versions of the these chords particularly with their ROOTS on the 6th string, 5th string, and 4th string.

Then transpose these FINGERINGS &/or (to be more exact) SHAPES to other positions on the Fretboard with respect to knowing where the Root is.

here's an example in PowerTab

after that you can choose to double the Root or 5th, add embellishments like the the 9th, Sus4, etc.

09-21-2003, 01:28 AM
Thank you for all your help! What are these power tab files? Do I need a special program to read them or will they open up in Internet Explorer when I download them?

09-21-2003, 02:42 AM
Powertab is a PC-based tab editor that also plays the files back via MIDI. It is very powerful, easy to use, and it is a common way to share ideas here at ibreathe.