I've been playing guitar for 2 1/2 years, mostly self-taught. I'm mostly a metal player. The thing I've noticed about power chords is that they lack depth and resonance. Just playing, for example:


is a simple E power chord. But it lacks the depth, the fullness of a full E chord:


Problem is (as anyone can tell you), E major is quite bright, strong and resonant; the sound is completely different from the darker tone of an E5. This isn't limited to E5, though. It's really the same issue with any power chord. I can't seem to find any chord variant that makes a fuller sound than the power chord without losing its sound completely. The only thing I can really do with my limited theory education is make an octave out of it:


I'm not that well-versed in theory. I learned the concept of steps and octaves and the musical alphabet, but I'm pretty clueless with scales or anything beyond that. Is there a way to "expand" a power chord as it were to get a fuller sound? Any thoughts appreciated. 
Last edited by toateridax2010 at Apr 21, 2017,
Great, you have a head-start in the concept of voicings!


As long as you have the notes A and E (in your final example), you'll have an A power chord. It doesn't matter what frets you play as long as the only notes are A and E. So, (in your tuning, drop A for 7-string) 0577xxx would work

Btw, power chords don't imply major or minor by themselves. The entire context will inform about that. An E power chord can be in the context of either major OR minor. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" has an all power chord chorus, but you can hear major and minor because the VOCALS are filling in the information on the missing third
A power chord is just a root and 5th,  so for an E chord that's the notes E and B. If you look at your open E major chord you should be able to work out that it's comprised entirely of Es and Bs, except for the G# on the G string. That's the third, the note that gives you that major or minor tonality - so to give yourself a fuller sounding "powerchord" you want a chord that's just roots and ths ie Es and Bs.

To do this you can either need to omit the G# by simply muting the G string.


Or replace it with a B, as there isn't an E that's conveniently located on that string.

Actually called Mark!

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Power chords don't have a third - they can sound either major or minor as needed... so can sus2 chords - the same reason.
Try using sus2 chords for some of your power chords and see if you like the sound... all of these are in the standard tuning.

Csus2 [x][3][x][0][3][x] or [x][3][x][0][3][3]

Dsus2 [x][x][0][2][3][0]

Esus2 [0][2][4][4][0][0] or [0][2][2][4][5][2]

Fsus2  [x][3][3][0][1][1] or [x][x][3][0][1][1] or [x][x][3][0][1][3]

Gsus2 [3][x][0][2][3][x] or [3][x][0][2][3][3]

Asus2 [x][0][2][2][0][0]

Bsus2 [x][2][4][4][2][2]

... you can figure out the rest...
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i always try to be mindful when voicing chords (particularly power chords) of movements and extensions i can do. sus2, sus4, etc. are really good ways to lead into other chords and diversify your sound without overinvesting on a given tonality for each power chord
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Have you tried just an E minor chord? 022000
That will sound 'dark' too and will most likely work better than an E major for metal.

You can also expand power chords with open strings :
x02200 x24400 x35500 x46600 x57700 079900 etc
Those will give some added extensions, sus2 as in PlusPaul's example, sus4, maj7, etc The 079900 at the end is a particularly nice full E5 voicing.

You can also do the same thing starting from the 6th string :
133x00 355x00 577x00 etc

And a nice 7 string D5 voicing
in drop A, extending your A5
A major chord is made of the 1st, 3rd and 5th note of the major scale, thus C major is C, E and G
A minor chord is the same but the third is moved down  a semitone, (flattened), thus C minor would be C, Eb and G

Power chords simply have no third, thus the power chord of C is made of C and G.

Since it is the third that distinguish a major from a minor, the power chord is neither, which is what gives it it's particular flavor. Some riffs, especially in Punk rock, are made exclusively from power chords. For a more elaborate sound and more variation, mixing major and minor triads with powerchords would sound great.