UG Newbie
Join date: Mar 2003
111 IQ
i have no idea wot power chords r, i keep seein it but i dun't understand.........
UG fluffly club member #5
Join date: Apr 2002
1,681 IQ
Power chords are very simple chords made up of 2 notes, the root and the fifth. They lack any major/minor tonality and because of there simplicity and ease at which they can be played are found most commonly in punk and in metal.
UG Senior Member
Join date: Feb 2003
14 IQ
There are a couple of tutorials here that detail the different types of power chords and have many examples of riffs composed of the different types.
I like St. Anger and I'm not afaid to admit it!
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2003
101 IQ
A power chord is a chord with the middle note of the chord triad missing ie. the "third". The third is the note that can make the chord major or minor. Without the third the chord is neither major nor minor.

A basic chord is made up of three notes (triad) of the scale... I, III and V where I = the root note, III is the third and V is the fifth. In a standard E chord it would be:

I = E (root)
III = G# (third)
V = B (fifth)

Take out the third (G#) and just play two notes, the root (E) and the fifth (B) and you have a power chord.

Here are some typical power chords with just the root and the fifth:

E power chord (E and B)


A power chord (A and E)


B power chord (B and F)

Power chords sound best on a guitar with some reverb and/or distortion as they will sound thin without the third.

Listen to the beginning of "Smoke on the Water" or a million other heavy metal rock songs for uses of power chords.
Person In The Making
Join date: Jan 2003
10 IQ
Originally posted by tarz
i have no idea wot power chords r, i keep seein it but i dun't understand.........

Also don't forget about flat five power chords.
Flat five power chords are constructed by using the root note i.e. E of E5 or G of G5, and the flatted fifth note of its major scale.
An easier way of figuring this out is to take any power chord, and once you know one you basically know them all, and move whatever note is on the higher sounding string and moving it back one fret.
So if you want to do an (root 6)E flat five power chord, hit the 6th string open and the 5th string 1st fret. And if it sounds like absolute ****, it means you're playing it right. Most heavy metal bands to use flat five chords 'cause, well who would want to listen to that **** all day.

Another "kind" of power chord is to use theroot note and the major 3rd note. For example:

Play the 6th string 1st fret and the 5th string open fret, together. Now it may not sound a whole lot better than the major flat five chord, but it used more widely.

Major flat five chords are used mostly by thrash and "death" metal bands.
Those second kind of "power chords" are used more widely by heavy metal players.For example:

Slayer: Blood Red (off of seasons in the abyss) they use flat five power chords in the intro.

Megadeth: Holy Wars(off of rust in peace)Dave uses those different power chords to amazing affect during the first 3 verses of the song. He constantly changes between regular power chords and what I've called those different power chords.
ADDICTED TO CHAOS: This song is an absolute perfect example of all this information.Dave switches between all those different kind of chords.

Youthanasia(the song): He uses those "different" kind of chords during all the solos in the song.
And since I don't really have to tell you where to go to find the tabs for this music, I guess I'll just go.
Hope some of this helps.
"Imagine all the people, livin' life in peace"-John Lennon
Last edited by ruetabager at Mar 10, 2003,