Edit: NM...that was a little subtle for a weekend.
The "power chord" is technically not a chord at all but rather a "dyad." [Edit 2: Whether you consider a dyad a chord or not is largely inconsequential. Let's just say a "power chord" is not, by definition, a "triad," which is how most text books define a "chord." A "power chord" is a dyad.]
The only problem I could see with using 2 fingers to play it is that there's a likelihood you'll also fret and hit the 3d string (let's say for discussion purposes that we're talking about E-shaped barres being "basterdized" to the Major 5th). Doing so would technically result in playing a 5th dyad (or "interval") with a 4th added - a legitimate but generally unpleasant sounding chord. (I think it would be something like an E5 diminished or augmented or something like that. . . ) For rock, using a bunch of distortion, etc. this isn't likely to even be heard so it wouldn't matter. If you were playing something clean - jazz or whatever - it could sound weird and wrong.
E Major Scale, for reference:
E F# G# A B C# D#
The E Maj chord, for example, is E, G#, and B, the 1st, 3d, and 5th notes from the scale. For the E5 dyad/"power chord", you're just using the E, a B, and another E at the 4th string. 3 strings - 2 notes. You can play it across all 6 strings (since the 2d and 1st open strings are just another B and E note), but to end up with a pure E5, you'd need to mute the 3d string rather than fretting it at the A.
[Edit: As PRS says below, playing the "power chord" with more than just the top three strings will result in an inverted sounding chord. Adding the high b and e will definitely change the overall character of the chord - for better or worse depending on application - assuming your amp/effects aren't just totally killing the subtle distinction.]
Last edited by JTCoop; 05-26-2012 at 10:37 PM.
A basic chord is defined by 3 minimum notes, and that's usually the I (one), the III (or iii, which is flat or minor 3rd) and the V (five). When you play rock guitar, you tend to play loudly or through a distortion/fuzz pedal. When you play a 3rd in distortion, it tends to ring the chord like it's out of tune. Therefore, rock guitarists tend to use the I-V or power chord. The bass player, keyboardist, or solo will imply the fact that the chord is minor or not. In a band situation, you don't need to play all the notes, just the ones that fit.
Crispy, do some recordings where you consciously play all 3 notes of a power chord (I-V-VIII) and then play the same progression with just the I-V. Listen back, and if you don't hear the VIII on top, there are only a couple possibilities: 1. You have way too much distortion, so the notes aren't ringing through and you're tone is all mud. 2. Your ear isn't trained well enough to hear the higher note at the top. That is NOT the same note by a long shot, and your tone should be clear enough to tell. [edited to add] There's no right way to play a power chord, just the one that's right for how you want the chord to sound in the mix.
There are double stops and there are power chords. You might define a power chord as a double stop, but not all double stops are power chords. I can play I-IV or V-iii for example, and are double stops, but not power chords.Originally Posted by The_Penguin222
Last edited by PRS_Rocker; 05-26-2012 at 05:22 PM.
This totally depends on the sound you're going for. For something more bassy or raw, I use two. For a Fuller sound, you can add the octave as the third note. It's not an always one way or always the other.
Heck, AC/DC plays a 5 string power chord (muting the third in an open E chord)
(I didn't vote)
Why isn't there an option for tacos in the poll? They're basically the power chord of the food world anyway. Super simple yet awesome.
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I use 2.
There may be a time or place where a hopo makes me use 3, but I can't think of it.
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Last edited by DreamAwake; 05-27-2012 at 12:51 AM.