Broken Powerchords

This one is for the people who like metal and want to try a different sound of power chords, but don't know how. I will try to explain the use of Power chords with a lowered quint and their practical use.

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Ultimate Guitar
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I would like to tell all you metal guitar players something: I experimented with power chords someday and then I came across a math metal band, called Dillinger Escape Plan. They played very strange accords:
|-----|
|-----|
|-----|
|--7--|
|--6--|
|--5--|
First thing I thought was, what the heck is that? Only a few weeks later, when I was writing a song with my band, I realized that those chords can have a very good sound if you can use them right, so I decided to share the newly obtained knowledge. At first, if we look at Power chords, we can see that they are simply a combination of 2 tones: the tonic and the quint. Therefore the 5.
  A5
|-----|
|-----|
|-----|
|--7--|
|--7--|
|--5--|
That is simply an A power chord, it consists out of a A and a E, the tonic and the quint. If we now play a short riff that I thought of for this lesson:
   E  E  E  S S S S S E S E
|----------------------------|
|----------------------------|
|----------------------------|
|--7--7--7--------------5-7--|
|--7--7--7--------5-6-7------|
|--5--5--5--5-7-8------------|
The riff sounds pretty happy, doesn't it? Notice that there already is a D# in the scale. That is important, because the "Broken Power Chord" is nothing else than playing a D# instead of a E in the A power chord. So it is actually just a A5b chord. The quint goes a half step down. So now I figured, maybe this riff sounds just a little bit more "metal" if we replace the A5 with a A5b. Now play the second riff:
   E  E  E  S S S S S E S E
|----------------------------|
|----------------------------|
|----------------------------|
|--7--7--7--------------5-7--|
|--6--6--6--------5-6-7------|
|--5--5--5--5-7-8------------|
Yes. You're right. The only difference is the chord, the riff is still the same. But NOW, the riff sounds a lot spookier. And that is EXACTLY what many metal bands need. If someone is interested in what the riff sounded like in the song that I wrote, I can tab it out:
  E E E E E E E E 
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|4x
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-0-2-3-4-3-2-0-2-|

  Q Q Q Q
|---------|
|---------|
|---------|
|-3-3-3-3-|
|-2-2-2-2-|
|-1-1-1-1-|
And just repeat that a lot... The speed is pretty darn high, something around 210... I hope that this lesson will bring you to a new level of metal. If it does, e-mail me. Sincerely yours, Beast Shredder

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22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Blas3
    Accord in English is called Chord nice idea, but I thought something bigger for a lesson
    masterp666
    black sabbath by black sabbath from the album black sabbath. listen to the first three notes played
    SteveHeyn
    nice lesson... this is what a lot of beginner players in this community need: simple things that can be used right on. Good Job!
    ndSinister
    I guess u never listened to bands like Opeth before they've been using it for years
    wadsh
    Kindly discuss the 4 chords. Is their any difference between A4 and Aadd4?
    wadsh
    Can you give the formula for 2 chords? Just like for example, A2, D2, and etc. tnx
    mrnbkn
    yeah i already tried this (I discovered this by mistake) but i didnt dedicated to study "the theory" behind it, it just sounds nice if used well
    crowchaser
    this is the same chord shape les claypool uses in almost every song he writes: a diminished 5th
    blues_man_88
    Its just using a diminished 5th Chord, im more partial to using an augmented 5th interval to padd my riffs out but i suppose diminished would sound more "spooky"
    Gusco
    It's just an A augmented chord, nothing to do with "weird" or "broken" powerchords. Add another D# at the G string and you'll make it even more "spookier"..
    cleptobismal
    Did you come up with the name of that chord, because it's called augmented, other than that it's a good lesson
    hoody.hoody
    This is a power chord from Locric scale. It's something like simplifying the chord Adim, but sometimes u can also say it 's a part of D7.
    Xeanor
    Aye, this is the tritone. Hate Eternal relies on these for their unique sound as well. This chord was banned from the middle ages termed as "diabolus in musica". The interval is 6-6-6 as well.
    theiszone
    I have to admit that I get confused with words like "Quint" When I studied a Quint would be called a dominate especially when used with a word like "tonic" Terms have changed over the years and I'm still in the past. I still have my first Jay Arnold chord book It has 7500 different chord positions and inversions, for example the are 21 different ways to play a B 11 how about 28 Bmi6 chords. The book is getting old > 30 years, but I can't find anything to replace it. any suggestions.
    pulse207
    that's just a tritone instead of a fifth, right? Also, how else can you use a tritone to get a "spooky" feel?