Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Can anyone recommend some 'rock' power chords that sound good together?

So I can up the gain on the amp and rock out!

share|improve this question

Here are some classic combinations for you to play around with. I've supplied each progression with an example of chords in one key and an explanation of the positional formulas that will allow it to be transposed to all other keys - simply choose a position for the first chord and follow the instructions. I've also added some brief comments about the theory and usage of each progression.

Progression 1: I-IV-V

Example (A): A5 - D5 - E5

Positional formula: Play the I chord (A5 in the example) on the low E (6th) string (5th fret/position) in this case. Play the IV (D5) on the same fret (5th position) on the A (5th) string and then move two frets up the string for the V chord (E5 - 7th position, A string).

You can use the exact same formula for the next highest pair of strings (A and D): play I on the A string, move up to the D string (same position) for the IV chord and then two frets up the D string for the V chord.

Comments: These are the quintessential blues chords (as well as the primary chords for both major and minor keys). Tons of rock and blues songs have been based around them.

Progression 2: I-IV-bVII

Example (A): A5 - D5 - G5

Positional formula: Play the I chord on the low E string, move up a string in the same position for the IV chord (as in the previous example) and then go back up to the low E, moving the position two frets down (5th to 3rd position) for the bVII chord.

Again, the same formula can also be used for chord progressions on the A and D strings.

Comments: Another classic combination, with a slightly "heavier" feel. The bVII (G5) chord is a minor inflection on an otherwise "major sounding" progression and resolves nicely to the I (A5).

Progression 3: i-III-bVII

Example (Gm): G5 - Bb5 - F5

Positional formula 1: Play the i chord on the low E string (3rd position), shift three frets down (to 6th position) for the III chord and then play the bVII two frets below the position of the i chord (1st position). Since you don't change the root string, this formula can be used pretty much on every string (with the exception of the high E naturally, since you don't have any higher strings to form power chords on).

Positional formula 2: Play the i chord on the low E string again (3rd position), then shift up a string and two frets down (1st position, A string) for the III chord and finally shift up a string, retaining position (1st position, low E string) for the bVII chord.

The second formula requires less positional shifts. Like the previous progressions, it can also be used on the A and D strings.

Comments: This is a quintessential minor progression that is often used in hard rock and heavy metal. Notice the similarity in resolution with Progression 2.

Progression 4: i-bVI-bVII

Example (Am): A5 - F5 - G5

Positional formula: Play the i chord on the low E string (5th position). Move four frets down on the same string (to 1st positon) for the bVI chord and then two frets up, still on the same string, (to 3rd position) for the bVII chord. Again, this formula can be used on all strings, save the high E.

Comments: This is another classic minor progression, which complements Progression 3 nicely. When playing with power chords only (which have neither a major nor minor sound), you can view this as the minor counterpart to the major-sounding Progression 1 (I-IV-V).


These progressions are best viewed as a starting point for your own explorations. Play the chords in each progression in a different order, mix the progressions up, try different keys. If you play all four progressions in the same key, all of the chords you played will sound good together and can be recombined into further progressions of your own.

Have fun with it.

share|improve this answer
Awesome post thanks for that. – Anonymous May 4 '11 at 18:01
This is great - these "positional formulae" have been the seeds of zillions of songs! An excellent answer, Faza, I would +1 more if I could! – gomad May 5 '11 at 18:41

Try with E, G, A, C, D. That model is from a heavy metal song, hope you know which song it is!

share|improve this answer

You cannot have a really clean answer here.
And this is because you play power chords instead of playing either major or minor chords.
So I guess you can play anything except for the VII chord.
Probably, you would get more satisfied if you use I, IV and V, but seriously you can use everything.
Try for example A5, E5 and D5 (I, V, IV)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.