Transcribing Power Chords: Be a Detective!

Train your ears to become a detective by transcribing these 5 songs based on Power Chords.

@JGAdmin, please add links to the lessons in all these new topics you are creating.

@Tbushell Thanks Tom. I believe there was a system problem that was resolved. Please @mention a Mod if you come across this again so we can rectify it viz @LievenDV @Richard_close2u @DavidP


I just did a quick scan of @JGAdmin Activity, and it does indeed look like most of the links created more than 3 days ago have been added, so thanks for that!

However, FYI, most of the more recent ones are still without links.

Thanks Tom. I’ll make a point to take a look and do some more correcting.

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First I have to say, I love this series and seeing that great Hives tune here!

But speaking of that Hives tune, I went to transcribe it without looking at any of the hints or the entry summary. I finished transcribing and I was convinced I had it right with the D5, C5 played on the 6th string, then the F5 played on the 5th string, and then finally A#5 played on the 6th string. But when I checked the entry summary, it says they are all played on the 5th string? When I check the “official” tab on GuitarTabs, it did confirm my original transcription and when I watch the video of the Hives playing, it does look like they play the 6th string root as well. Is there a version where they play it all on the 5th string root? Certainly not trying to “say I told you so” :wink: , just honestly looking to make sure I understand the difference in the 6th and 5th root note sounds.

Are there recommendations for where we should find Tabs to confirm our transcription? Know there are lots of incorrect tabs out there. I use Justins Tabs when I can, but didn’t know if there were others.



Congrats for finding the chords :wink:

I’d think Justin recommends the 5th string is because playing power chords around the 10th fret and higher can be a bit difficult due to the narrow spaces between the frets. Also, you could play all chords on the 6th string as you’d only have to play F5 at the first fret.

Of course, the sound also makes a difference, so you’ll need to experiment with the different options and decide which sounds best to your ears.


Is there a convention to annotate the root (or tonic) note string for chords (obviously without writing out the full tab)?

For example annotating
A5 (6th string root) vs A5 (5th string root)?

The closest I’ve found so far is a circled numeral to annotate the string.

So “⑤ A5” vs “⑥ A5” I guess.

I can’t remember having seen instructions on which string(s) to play other than in pedagogical material, especially for chords.

As for power chords, Justin uses R6 and R5 to refer to 6th string and 5th string root power chords.

However, major, minor, major 7th, sus, etc. chords have multiple variations even if the root note is on the same string, so indicating where the root note is has limited effectiveness.

when I try to do When I Come Around justin leaves a hint that one of the power chords is a C flat. Since there is no note between B and C, where is that?

The notes B and C flat sound the same. They are called enharmonic equivalents. That’s a fancy name for ‘same sound, different name’.

The key of When I Come Around is Gb. The notes in the Gb major scale are:

Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb

When talking music theory, we think of C flat, not B. That’s because each letter can only exists once in each scale. Since we already have a B flat, we can’t have a B as well. Hence the C flat.

If this sounds way too complicated, don’t stress. Think of the note B to keep it practical, but know that we have to name notes differently in certain situations. It’ll become clearer later on in your journey. I hope it makes sense!

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