More Useful Metal Power-Chords

author: ProjectileQuiet date: 08/19/2010 category: for beginners
rating: 8.2 / votes: 9 
I tend to find the regular root-fifth-root power chords to be pretty boring. While they sound good, we've all heard them a million times, and sometimes it's nice to change things up. Here are a few that I use a lot while writing music, and can really add some dissonance/interest to a piece: The "add9" power chord: 7 5 3 It sounds pretty spacious and dissonant when distorted (I personally think of the word "angular" when I hear one), and retains a remarkable amount of clarity. Add9 chords sound really pretty when played clean, too. ----------------------------------------------------- Another one I've been screwing around with lately is a "P4" power chord. You just drop the 5th down two frets, like: 5 3 3 It sounds a little strange, kind of hollow like an octave because it has no fifth to support it, but has more body than an octave. I use them sparingly, but they can really add some interest to a progression. ----------------------------------------------------- Lastly, it's incredibly fun when playing in Dropped-D, C, or Bb, to add another 5th on top of the power chord that can be made by barring the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings. Looks like this: 5 3 3 3 You can also drop that 5th on the 4th string down three or four frets to make what is pretty much the bottom end of a major or minor (respectively) regular barre chord. This can be useful if you're planning on doing things that are a little more colorful harmonically than straight-up power-chord progressions.
Maj      Min
2          1
3          3
3          3
3          3
----------------------------------------------------- There's one more thing that I've been trying to find a use for lately: minor seconds. While these aren't power chords, I thought I'd mention them because they're sound pretty cool and disgustingly dissonant. I'm pretty sure they're widely considered to be the most dissonant interval that exists, and if you fret the following notes on your guitar, you'll see why:
e|
B|   2
G|   5
D|
A|
E|
You might notice that the notes actually phase a little bit - that's because the wavelengths of the two tones are similar enough that they actually cancel each-other out at a minute intervals. I'm still not entirely sure how to use this one in any way other than disgusting-sounding accents, but if you'd like a strong example of their usage as such, listen to "Toxic Garbage Island" by Gojira. That band loves their minor seconds. ----------------------------------------------------- This article was a response to "Metal Chords" by Dragozan.
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