The Best Chord in Metal - Second Inversion Lesson

A lesson on the most versatile chord we can play in metal.

Ultimate Guitar

Metal is one of those genres that tends to limit the potential of our chord work. The massive amounts of distortion make many chords, especially those containing open strings, unusable. This leads many players to rely on power chords instead, de-emphasizing the major or minor melodic qualities that can only occur in a chord that contains a third.

There are chord voicings we can use that contain a third, certainly, but so much of the time, they lack either comfort or heaviness. The second inversion is sort of the best of both worlds, retaining the heavy fourth of the power chord while adding a third.

For examples of all the things we can do with this, take a look at the following video:

YouTube preview picture

Thanks for reading/watching!

By Kevin Goetz

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    One does not simply use one type of chord in metal
    What? THe only chord used in metal is the powerchord! It's so ****ing overusedd it's not even funny. The only other variations may be the octave or the diminished fifth, but that's pretty much all, at least for heavy/thrash/death.
    Even the bands that do use mostly power chords are still harmonizing with the lead to make chords
    If you turn the distortion down a tiny bit, everything sounds clearer. Remember: the bass is what brings the punch, not your guitar's distortion.
    That's what you get for distorting the guitar to shit. It's better to just let strings or some other instruments handle the harmony, but it NEEDS to be there. Listening to just fifths sounds boring and lifeless imo.
    somebody PLEASE shut the outro song's singer up. annoying as f**
    Finally checked back in here - you guys bashing my singer are hilarious! Out of curiosity, do you make a living playing and teaching music? Because I do. So does she, actually. Guess quite a few people disagree with you. Thanks for the laugh - I think I'll get back to living the dream now. =)
    That's how you respond to people trashing your work. I think people are just butthurt that someone's voice fits a song better than theirs.
    Obviously no one has ever heard of Conquering Dystopia or Obscura. they can make ANY chord work in metal. Not your average metallurgists so to speak.
    Just watched the video. Good lesson, but yeh the outro music is hot garbage that has been sitting in the summer heat all day. Maybe its the mix but the singer sounds like a dude singing falsetto?
    "The massive amounts of distortion make many chords, especially those containing open strings, unusable." Then you are using too much distortion.
    Uh-oh, who's job is it to tell Opeth and Dream Theater that you can't use complex chords in metal; they're gonna be really bummed, so it's not going to be me. Hehe, seriously though, this is a good thing for beginners to start playing with.
    i thought second inversion was the fifth in the bass?
    It is. With the E minor chord, he's starting it with the top two notes of the power chord (B and E) which are the 5th and the root respectively. The third (G) is then added on top.
    Since his guitar is tuned to B standard (low B string), he was playing a 2nd inversion Emin. B (the 5th) was in the bass.
    It says " retaining the heavy fourth of the power chord while adding a third." Does anybody see what is wrong with that sentence?
    Just... unnecessary. I don't think any chords are more versatile as the next. Why would you limit yourself like that. Have fun. Learn all the chord inversions for every scale you can and you'll be having a blast playing. Not just metal, but so many more sounds you'd never try before.
    The outro music is just pitiful. Sorry. The music is fine, the singer...uh, I think King Diamond woke up with a hangover after being mouth-raped and decided to record a take.