5 ways to get more out of your power chords

Billie Joe Armstrong
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/AMA2019/Getty Images for dcp)

The humble two-note power chord is so effective that you can listen to entire albums of rock, metal, and punk without hearing another kind of chord. Even bands that wouldn’t tour together in a million years – Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses, Napalm Death and McBusted – are united by the awesome kerrang of the power chord.

Traditional chords are major and minor triads (meaning they have three notes). The middle note is called the ‘third’ (because it comes from the third note of the relevant scale) and gives the chord its major or minor character. 

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Jenna Scaramanga

Jenna writes for Total Guitar and Guitar World, and is the former classic rock columnist for Guitar Techniques. She studied with Guthrie Govan at BIMM, and has taught guitar for 15 years. She's toured in 10 countries and played on a Top 10 album (in Sweden).