Raunchy (Nothing) Chord

This article will describe how play raunchy chords, also known as nothing chords, found in many post-hardcore genre guitar playing.

Ultimate Guitar
Raunchy chords, also known as nothing chords, what are they? In this lesson I will explain what they are, what purpose they serve, and how to play them. A quick note before I begin, I refer to the chord being described as a raunchy chord as that is what I grew up calling them. You may be asking yourself, what is a raunchy chord? Technically speaking a raunchy chord is when you play two notes that are a 1/2 step from being a complete octave. They are commonly found in post-hardcore or screamo genres. Let's take Drop Dead, Gorgeous - "Dressed for Friend Requests," the opening guitar rift has four (4) raunchy chords. Typically raunchy chords are played in a song's breakdown paired with lower open chords. The reason why they are such a fit for breakdowns is because it allows the song to slow down without having to have a very melodic tone to it. The raunchy chords paired with the chugging of the open lower chords give the breakdown a very metal tone that goes well. There are a few tricks you can pick up to help play a raunchy chord. Take a look at the B and the G chords, those two chords are the easiest chords to create a full octave using only two frets because they are only two notes away from each other as opposed to three like the other chords. That being said, the easiest way to play a raunchy chord is on the B and the G chords. Here is an example of playing a raunchy chord on the B and the G chords:
From this finger position, you can play up and down the fret board and it will be a raunchy chord. As you can see, raunchy chords are very simply to play. You can also play lower octave raunchy chords. To do so, pick yourself a note on any given string on the lower (pitch) chords and find it's 1/2 step counter part on any other string. Here is an example using the A and the G chords:
Notice the mute on the D chord, this is because it does not fall in the definition of a raunchy chord as described above. The closest note that would be "acceptable" would be the fourth (4th), fourteenth (14th), and fifteenth (15th) fret on the D string. By muting this note, we play our two notes that are a 1/2 step from being an octave in a lower pitch as opposed to the higher pitch example earlier. Something you may or may not have noticed is that in the two example I give, the two (2) notes are a half step DOWN from being an octave, this is not required. You can certainly play a raunchy chord with the two (2) notes being a half step UP from being an octave, it is just own of personal preference and in my opinion, simplicity that I play my raunchy chords a half step down from being an octave. In conclusion you should have a basic understanding of what a raunchy chord is, what purpose they serve in a song, and most importantly how to play one. Now go out and serve up some brutal breakdowns!

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    like skepsismetal does, it's awesome if used properly like with LOG, 11th hour post-hardcore ... how many ****ing names are going to be invented
    I appreciate most of y'all's input, some of y'all are trolling which is a clear violation of the comments policy. I'm an amateur guitarist with no formal training at all. I couldn't find any article on a subject, but knew what my friends called it and knew how to play it. I take note of the dissonance and that it's a half step from a union(not an octave). But I will let y'all know up front that I will never submit anything else on this website.
    um, so much fukery here. the first one is called a minor second, and theyre not a half step from an octave, theyre a half step from a unison. and the other is a major 7th, and its the most beautiful interval when not screwed up by noobs. please dont ruin it for me
    Damn I think pWNLOL should have written this lesson. Its a good idea and dropping the octave a half step is a neat trick and sounds good in metal and punk, but I think your lesson went about it all wrong.
    Where is the editing? Chord for "chord". Chord for "string". String for "string". Make up your mind.
    Dissonances. Commonly found in music. Usually used to create tension which is later to be relieved.
    Wow, you kinda messed this up... First, get your terminology right so its not confusing to the beginning guitarist. Second, they are called dissonant chords, and they are used in a lot of other styles of music than just "post-hardcore"/"screamo". I can understand the nick-name thing because in my area they are known as panic chords for sounding like the kill shrieks from the psycho movies so I can't blame you for a different name.
    They are just dissonances. The minor second interval. Try holding one and then bending the note on the g string till it is in unison with the note on the b. It's a cool technique for making tension with this. Not that much of a spectacular concept but it's cool for people who wonder how to get that kind of stuff. A song my band plays uses them solely in the 'breakdown' (it's kind of just a atmospheric pause) starting 7th, slide up to 11th then down to 5th. played at 8th notes. Just an application idea for anybody who wants to try it