• Here’s a method that’ll make your chords more powerful

    in Chords & Progressions

    powerchord.jpgThis post won’t be long. In fact, it’ll be real simple.

    If you’ve always wondered how to make your chords sound full, here’s a strategy you can start implementing right away.

    If you already do this, then you’ll enjoy this as a review.

    Power chords

    It’s basically made up of a perfect fifth interval. Some refer to it as a dyad since it’s really only two notes (the more commonly used big sister, “triad,” is a three-note chord).

    Yup, it’s pretty much that simple.

    And if you know your intervals, you’ll understand that a fifth is simply the distance between the root and fifth tone of a scale.

    C major
    C D E F G A B C
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    So, to play a power chord, just play the “1 + 5.”

    But to make it even better, double up on your root by playing octaves.

    1 + 5 + 8 (a.k.a. – “1,” but the octave)

    Where do you use power chords?

    Typically, you can use them on your left hand to “power” up your chord.

    Since they make use of the perfect fifth interval, which is found in major, minor, and dominant chords, they are pretty flexible.

    C major
    C + E + G on right /// C + G + C on left

    C minor
    C + Eb + G on right /// C + G + C on left

    C dominant 7
    C + E + G + Bb on right /// C + G + C on left

    But keep in mind that since you’re already playing C and G with your left hand, you can get more creative with your right hand:

    C major 7

    E + B + E on right /// C + G + C on left

    *Remember this chord from yesterday’s lesson?

    Taking power chords even further

    You don’t have to stick with the “1 + 5 + 1” all the time.

    I recommend being flexible with the third tone of the power chord (the “octave 1”).

    For example, if you’re playing a C major 7 chord on the right hand (C + E + G + B), instead of playing “C + G + C” on the left, you can play “C + G + B” on the left, which emphasizes the major 7th interval.

    Or if you’re playing a C minor 7 or C dominant 7 chord, you can play “C + G + Bb” on the left to emphasize the flat 7th interval.

    However you choose, power chords can be a wonderful addition to your playing, especially if you’re just doing one fingered bass notes right now.

    300pg course

    "Secrets To Playing Piano By Ear" 300pg Course With Bonus Ear Training Software

    This course is jam-packed with 300 pages of easy-to-understand instruction geared towards teaching you how to play by ear. Every chapter has been specifically designed to give you a solid foundation and understanding of what playing the piano by ear is all about. From the basics and fundamentals to scales, chords, progressions, harmony, accompaniment, rhythm, and improvisation, you'll get it all in this comprehensive program.

    If you want to take your skills to the next level in half the time, you owe it to yourself to to advantage of this incredible resource. Click here to learn more | Buy now

    Until next time —

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    songtutor600x314jpg



    { 23 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jermaine

    Challenge: List the 3 power chords I talked about above in all 12 keys. I’ll start in C major, then F major.

    C major

    C + G + C (1-5-1 power chord)

    C + G + B (1-5-7 power chord)

    C + G + Bb (1-5-b7 power chord)

    F major

    F + C + F (1-5-1 power chord)

    F + C + E (1-5-7 power chord)

    F + C + Eb (1-5-b7 power chord)

    Remember: The 1-5-1 is pretty flexible so it can be played on the left hand to power up pretty much any chord (most at least). Major, minor, dominant, etc.

    1-5-7 are usually for major sevenths, ninths, elevenths, thirteenths… major-sounding extended chords basically.

    1-5-b7 are usually for minor and dominant sevenths, ninths, elevenths, thirteenths (and other blues-to-serious sounding extended chords).

    There you have it.

    Who’s next?

    Reply

    2 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    Bb MAJOR
    Bb + F + Bb (1-5-1 POWER CHORD)

    Bb + F + A (1-5-7 POWER CHORD)

    Bb + F + Ab (1-5-b7 POWER CHORD)

    WAS USING THE 1-5-1 OFTEN BUT HAVEN’T QUITE USED THE 1-5-7 NOR THE 1-5-b7. I’VE BEEN TRYING THEM AS YOU SAID WITH SOME CHORDS I PLAY AND W………..O…………..W……… IT GIVES THEM SUCH POWERFUL CHARACTER.
    THANKS AGAIN FOR SHARING SUCH A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE…. GOTTA GO PRACTICE AND DO SOME “CHORDAL REMODELING” ;)

    Reply

    3 rayjohnson83

    Eb MAJOR

    Eb + Bb + Eb (1-5-1 POWER CHORD)

    Eb + Bb + D (1-5-7 POWER CHORD)

    Eb + Bb + Db (1-5-b7 POWER CHORD)

    Reply

    4 Pete

    G major

    G + D + G (1-5-1 power chord)

    G + D + F# (1-5-7 power chord)

    G + D + F (1-5-b7 power chord).

    Like bryan, I’ve tried the last two and they really do sound good with the chords jermaine mentions above.

    Reply

    5 chawk

    This is unbelievable! :) Your mind is amazing to me with the wealth of knowledge you possess. ditto with Brian I need to go practice some of this wealth of knowledge. In a minute.

    Ab major

    Ab + Eb + Ab 1-5-1 power chord
    Ab + Eb + G 1-5-7 power chord
    Ab + Eb + Gb 1-5-b7 power chord

    Reply

    6 Jermaine

    @Chawk: Thanks so much!

    And thanks for the Ab power chords.

    Reply

    7 Laketa

    Db + Ab + Db ( 1-5-1)

    Db + Ab + C ( 1-5-7)

    Db + Ab + B (1-5-b7)

    Thanks again Jermaine, Oh now I understand why the 1-5-b7 power chord doesn’t sound so well with every chord. I have options…. Another question answered! God is too good to me:-)

    Reply

    8 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    A MAJOR
    A + E + A (1-5-1 POWER)

    A + E + Ab {1-5-7 POWER)

    A + E + G (1-5-b7 POWER)

    4 MO TO GO???

    COME ON FAM WE CAN TOTALLY DO THIS…LIKE TOTALLY ;-)>~

    Reply

    9 Eresmas

    I’ll do B MAJOR

    B + F# + B (1-5-1 Power)

    B + F# + A# (1-5-7 Power)

    B + F# + A (1-5-b7 Power)

    E MAJOR

    E + B + E (1-5-1 Power)

    E + B + D# (1-5-7 Power)

    E + B + D (1-5-b7 Power)

    This sounds so easy, i’m scared i might be wrong but i have tried to double check!

    Reply

    10 megan

    D major

    D + A + D (1-5-1 power chord)
    D + A + C# (1-5-7 power chord)
    D + A+ C (1-5-b7 power chord)

    Reply

    11 Jermaine

    Wow! Thanks TruMusic, Ray, Pete, Chawk, Laketa, Megan, Eresmas…

    Who will do the honors? One more left…

    F# or Gb

    Reply

    12 Laketa

    I’ll do the honors!!!!

    Gb + Db + Gb (1+5+1 power chord)

    Gb + Db + F (1+5+7 power chord)

    Gb + Db + E (1+5+b7 power chord)

    Reply

    13 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    NOW WE’RE PLAYING WITH POWER….(sorry nintendo)…THANKS TO HEAR AND PLAY AND J. G.! ;-D~>

    LET’S HEAR IT HIP, HIP, …………

    Reply

    14 rayjohnson83

    HOORAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

    Reply

    15 karlmhoon

    Thanks Guys

    Reply

    16 steve

    Just awesome hallelujah.

    Reply

    17 Pia

    i just noticed something you can use a Major 7 or Major 9 on the right hand and a relative minor 1-5-b7 on the left

    relative minor: Bb-F-Ab (LH) and then the major 7 or 9 Db-F-Ab-C

    Reply

    18 Jermaine Griggs

    Precisely!

    Reply

    19 Bright

    wooooow”’ this is very powerful chord indeed”” but plssss, can we miss it with ditones spices”””’??? Am trying with it but the sound mmmmmm”””

    Reply

    20 joe keys

    God bles u sir ive learnt alot from ur post

    Reply

    21 Emma jerry

    Tanks a lot u re one in a million the keys re really helpful

    Reply

    22 AlexG

    Wow, ua amazing Jermaine. W bless God fo u. May He triple yo knowledge an bless al u do

    Reply

    23 Rims

    Thank you so much for throwing more light on the Power chord. I am an intermediate keyboardist and currently trying to exploit the application of tritones in my play, please i need some help.

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: