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> Power Chords, Scratchy or Clean - Another way to rock on!
Azzaboi
post May 15 2011, 10:50 PM
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When I first started out on the electric guitar, power chords was a real fav of mine. Easy to play, yet so grunty sounding. Yet they didn't sound as cool and chuggy as the professional guitarists and my fav bands.

So what was missing?

You might just start of playing power chords with your fretboard hand but don't realise there's actually a lot more involved between both hands and syncing them with timing to get that chucky rhythm and feel. Counting out loud 1, 2, 3, 4 really does actually help with your timing at first and muting different patterns.

First palm muting from the picking hand is a must to master for rock/metal rhythm. Karate chop the hand over near the bridge with the pinkie out straight and let it relax folding over the strings while holding the pick. Lightly touching the palm on the strings while chugging away.

Next is the muting with the other fretboard hand which completes it...

For a scratchy sound, use the index and third finger (two strongest) for playing power chords. Rather than lifting your fingers off the strings completely when moving positions, raise them just enough and almost slide over the strings. This is great for a punk rock sound. Use the third finger and pinkie of the fretboard hand to also pad the strings when required between.

So here's the major trick - For a clean yet powerful sound, use the index and pinkie instead to play the same power chords. Raise the fingers just enough off the string after playing the chord like before but also quickly mute slapping the two other fingers in between down lightly. It's almost just a very quick tap on the strings between each. However, the result sounds very metallica and clean!


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bill95
post May 15 2011, 10:53 PM
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Why index and pinkie Azza, i dont get it.
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Bogdan Radovic
post May 15 2011, 11:11 PM
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Very interesting thoughts about power chord Azzaboi. As a bass player I never had a chance to get too much in riffing.
I did use index-pinkie finger combination for fretting power chords. That way I would easily mute all the string bellow with my pinkie that is curved. I would also often use the third finger for fretting the octave. But this depends a lot on the player as we all have different hands.

Power chord and palm muting should be practiced as everything - against a metronome beat. Especially since power chords are rhythm part - they need to be very tight with the drums backing track (same as bass guitar). I noticed that a lot of people don't pay attention to how tight their power chords playing is and it really shows. Practicing chunky steady 8th note pulse and different palm muted phrases is very important in order to be a good rhythm guitar player. Having a good groove will then transfer into leads playing too.


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Azzaboi
post May 15 2011, 11:40 PM
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There's two ways of playing power chords, Index and Third, or Index and Pinkie. Most say it's just a personal preference to which way to play, so I've tried and used them both as I'm natural curious to find the best. Both have slight advantages and disadvantages, for example the pinkie is weaker but can be more comfortable to stretch and change chord shapes, etc.

I figured out I like both of them for different reasons. The Index and Pinkie your'll find the two middle fingers will alway just hover in place, that's why I suggest the change for this cleaner playing trick. It's a lot quicker and snappy response once your worked it out pad muting in between with those fingers. The Index and Third is quicker and most a cool scratchy effect sounding if almost sliding around on the neck.

Remember your palm muting with your picking hand as well as sometimes padding with your fretboard extra free fingers to get the best controlled sound. However, this can be a bit slow for most, getting the hand back in position for the next chord. For most songs, it's best sound tight!

I was trying to point out two different sweet ways of quickly playing with each while having the effect you desire to sound like.


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