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  • POWER CHORDS vs BAR CHORDS

    Posted by BobbyJ on May 6, 2022 at 6:43 am

    Is there any reason why I should use a POWER CHORD in lieu of a BAR CHORD? My index finger is in position already. If I can make a clean sound with the Full BAR CHORD and I am comfortable playing the full chord….Why not?

    the-old-coach replied 1 year, 11 months ago 6 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • jumpinjeff

    Member
    May 6, 2022 at 7:12 am

    Just different sonic textures. You get to be the weaver. Here is something fun to thing about: while playing a power chord what is happening on the strings you are not playing compare it to the full bar chord and you get a fun way to play chords on the higher pitched stings for yet another sonic texture.

  • Loraine

    Member
    May 6, 2022 at 8:05 am

    @BobbyJ I agree with @jumpinjeff that they are 2 distinctly different beasts. Power chords only play 2-3 strings; whereas a full bar chord is 5-6;strings. You obtain different texture and tone.

  • the-old-coach

    Member
    May 6, 2022 at 8:46 am

    Do you all think it’s best to “early-learn” a song using power chords- and then kind-of transition over/embellish(?)—- or better to start out learning a song straight-away using bar chords- (maybe a little slower process?)?

    • Loraine

      Member
      May 6, 2022 at 10:32 am

      @the-old-coach Depends on the song, in all honesty. Power chords are great on the electric guitar for playing hundreds of good rock songs. I play them occasionally on the acoustic, but they have to really fit the song for me to use them. I think that both skills are good to have a grasp on.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  Loraine.
    • jumpinjeff

      Member
      May 6, 2022 at 11:04 am

      The most important question here @the-old-coach is what do you think about how it sounds? Does it fit with the sound your hear in your head? Is it the sound you like and want when you hear it? Don’t use it because it is easier if it does not fit the sound of your intent. Hopefully I am making sense.

  • BobbyJ

    Member
    May 6, 2022 at 9:04 am

    Thanks for the responses…

  • That_Guy

    Member
    May 7, 2022 at 6:36 am

    Someone once told me that power chords are the poor mans barre chords lol.

    Technically the 5 string barre chords are power chords though

    They all have their place. Power chords sound powerful in metal and rock genres. Barres are more likes in jazz and blues. Most of the time if i use barre chords im not really using the e and b string anyway but at least they are fretted (correct to the chord) if i accidently hit them

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  That_Guy.
    • jumpinjeff

      Member
      May 7, 2022 at 11:46 am

      I tried to make some 5 string power chords sounds cool, not easy…yet.

  • Carol-3M-Stillhand

    Member
    May 7, 2022 at 9:34 am

    Great question, @BobbyJ

    Most people play power chords because they are easier to fret. Who doesn’t want to form a 2 note chord instead of a full barre chord?? If you are already comfortable playing full barre chords then this is not an issue.

    That being said, let me add to this wonderful discussion by saying that the full chord adds a flavor that a power chord just isn’t capable of. A full chord is made up of the 1-3-5 notes of the corresponding scale degrees, where the power chord only has the 1-5 (It’s missing the 3). Well the 3 is what differentiates a major chord from a minor chord, and a sus2 from a sus4. All of these variations of the 3 note within the chord act as superb “flavorings” in the emotions and feeling of the song recipe. So wherever that’s important, you’d need the 3 (the full chord). Hope that made some kind of sense.

    D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D (Dmajor scale)

    1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6- 7-8/1

    D Power chord: D-A

    (1-5)

    Dmajor chord: D-F#-A

    (1-3-5)

    Dminor chord:D-F-A

    (1-b3-5)

    Dsus2 chord: D-E-A

    (1-2-5)

    Dsus4 chord: D-G-A

    (1-4-5)

  • the-old-coach

    Member
    May 7, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    I feel like I kinda had a handle in understanding (sort of) and following along in this great thread……

    And then Carol-3M came along! and made me realize there is SOOOOO much more for me to learn- (this is a good thing!).

    She has shined a light on an area of knowledge that I want to know more about.😃

    More specifics- or just point in the right direction please- about how to get to that level of knowledge- I realize it won’t be easy, but I’m willing to give it an “over time” go– learn it slowly and correctly.

    Great thread

    the old coach

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