definitions, inspirations:

dB: decibel, a widely used measure of sound pressure levels

Ps. 98: make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; make a LOUD noise

AC/DC: let there be rock!

January 15, 2011

CIGRG, Ch 5: Power Tools!

Got a bit behind during the holiday season, as we had a bunch of new songs to learn for church.  We ended the Christmas Eve service with a country-rock version of Go Tell It On the Mountain for which I got to use the technique discussed in this chapter of CIGRG (search for the version by the band Little Big Town, though ours had more emphasis on the rock side of things!)

Hey kids, here's something you might like:  I copied the CIGRG cd into my iTunes and then onto my iPod, so I've got portable reference tracks wherever I go.  I can grab my guitar and the book and start studying almost anywhere, no cd player required!  I do recommend listening to each track as you browse through the chapters, then going back and reading the chapters in more depth.  I find it helpful to have the sonic examples readily available.

Chapter 5 takes us back to the basics:  chords and, in particular, "power chords."  There's a helpful discussion on playing technique ("Eliminating the Tunks") as you learn some basic open major and minor chord shapes.  If you've played guitar for a while, this will be review for you.

Where chords start to rock is when you strip 'em down to the basics of the root and the 5th interval, called "5" or "Fifth" chords, or more commonly, Power Chords.  As Hodge writes in the helpful notes to the side of the main text, "From old metal bands like Black Sabbath to punk rockers like the Ramones, from AC/DC to Nirvana, you find power chords wherever you turn."

What's so special about power chords?  Well, they're easier to play fast for one thing, but I've read the main reason they are so common in rock music is they don't sound muddy when you start adding distortion, while full chords often do.  

The main play-along example "Power Point" incorporates power chords and octaves, so the "tunks" come back into the discussion.  This is basic but essential stuff, so spend some time until you can play it smoothly.

Here's a great example of a song you can play entirely with power chords:

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