This question was deemed off-topic, Arrangement of Avicii level's power chords

Which is fair, since it was a tall order. After wrestling with it for another week, I think I can refine my approach and ask a better question. Same progression though:


It is easy enough to play on a piano. But I want my arrangement to have a 'big' rock feel. I can imagine in my head how it would sound, which is awesome. But getting it out of my head onto paper is really tripping me up. The confusing thing is there are so many ways to play power chords of the above notes. Stumbling blocks include:

  • Note order is right, but sounds ridiculous because one or two notes are too high or low for the progression
  • Progression seems roughly there, but still seems awkward as some chords are played on totally different strings, which disrupts the flow/continuity/consistency of the melody if that makes sense

I noticed in a lot of rock songs (riffs actually arranged for power chords) the fretting is minimal. The guitarist simply slides up and down the neck to hit different chords or occasionally goes one string over. This contrasts sharply with my arrangement, where it feels like I'm going all over the neck and across almost every string.


With those troubles outlined, what should I be prioritizing when I attempt to transcribe a single note piano melody to power chords for guitar, writing down the power chords in the same vicinity of the neck or let the neck position fluctuate and focus more on staying on the same couple of strings?

  • Not a guitarist, but looking at the video from the other question, it seems like he doesn't "power chord" the higher notes of the melody — only the ones that are in the same general range as each other, which comprises only three different notes a step apart from each other. That is: C# B G# — no power chord; E D# (C#?) — power chords.
    – Aaron
    Jan 12, 2022 at 3:05
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    Do it whichever way sounds better to you. This is a subjective question because there’s no single right answer. Jan 12, 2022 at 3:24
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    I see, I could fall back to octaves as a back-up plan, but would still like to see if my power chord version would sound better. Jan 12, 2022 at 3:43
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    I don't have the ability to comment yet (otherwise this would be a comment not an answer), but I do have a suggestion. (and for what it's worth this is coming from a pianist/singer/composer) It might be worth it to check out "Blue Orchid" by The White Stripes. Here, Jack White achieves a power chord like sound without actually playing power chords by using a polyphonic octave generator pedal, which has the ability to double at multiple octaves. The description of this YouTube cover by HarryAndAGuitar, Jan 12, 2022 at 5:39
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    You note that "The guitarist simply slides up and down the neck to hit different chords" - have you considered explicitly putting down that your arrangement requires Drop D tuning (a la guitar music of old, e.g. Fernando Sor works), especially if they're tabs? I suspect some of your "going all over the neck and across almost every string" problems come from using standard tuning.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jan 12, 2022 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


A simple solution would be to tune down to C#, but then again, your string gauge would have to be substantial. I would not bother with that, quite personally.

If I may, let me remind you that most rock songs featuring power chords are not played on all six strings, nor even five or four strings. Most are played with just the right amount of crisp, compressed distortion, and then only on two strings. And normally using just the bridge pickup, depending upon the tonal qualities you seek.

With that as a given, your left hand fretting position for the C#->B->G#->F#-and D# would very simply be 3rd and 4th strings, (fourth and then second frets), followed by the 5th and 6th strings (fourth and then second frets) and the 3rd and 4th strings, (6th fret).

Your E power chord could well be played on the 5th and 6th string, using the basic cowboy chord E major, or you could play it using the 4th string ninth fret, 5th string seventh fret, and 6th string open and powerfully droning.

Again, distortion and a fair amount of volume would be required for the 'power' presence of the power chords.

I hope this helps.

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