Staccato Power Chords

by Ben Higgins

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  • Welcome to Staccato Power Chords!

    I was inspired to make this lesson after seeing many REC takes and commenting on this aspect of guitar playing. Firstly, what does staccato mean?

    Staccato (Italian for detached) is a form of musical articulation. In modern notation it signifies a note of shortened duration, separated from the note that may follow by silence. - Wikipedia

    Basically, it refers to short, chopped off notes or chords. If you play rock or metal you should definitely learn how to achieve this effect when playing riffs otherwise you will always wonder why you can't get rid of annoying chords ringing out when you don't want them to.

    There are 2 main physical movements I do to cut notes off quickly. With my picking hand, I rest the very side of my palm onto the strings to choke them off and stop them ringing. Sometimes that's enough on its own but if I want to increase my chances of cutting off the sound I will also take my fingers slightly off the notes or chords that I'm playing with my fretting hand. I will keep them in place so I can quickly play the chord again but I just reduce the pressure from my fingers so the strings can rise up from the fretboard and not be pushed down over the fret wire. You will need to practice doing this so you can do it in rhythm with whatever you're playing.

    Tempo : 115bpm

    Gear: Marshall JVM 410H OD2, Yellow Setting. Bass - 2, Mid - 5, Treb - 6, Gain - 4

    Key : Eminor

    Chords used : E5, D5, G5, A5, A#5, B5. ( E5 denotes E + Fifth. It is a simple way of writing a power chord )

    You can hear these types of riffs anywhere but check out Prince of Darkness by Megadeth, from the 1999 album Risk for an example of this in action.
    So, acquaint yourself with Mr Staccato and add more guns to your arsenal of rock riffing!

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