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Theory - Probably a silly question, but...

Discussion in 'Tab & Music Forum' started by Malurkey, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 28, 2016
    ...Why do they call the A5 power chord ‘A5’?

    The root note would be A, but the second one would be an ‘E’ which is 7 frets up, or 4 notes by my count.

  2. Del1

    Del1 Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 12, 2010
    Kent, UK
    A = 1
    B = 2
    C# = 3
    D = 4
    E = 5

  3. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    It's not the number of frets, it's the note relative to the chord. When you make a power chord or 5 Chord you drop the 3rd from the chord leaving the 1 and the 5.

  4. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 1, 2014

    "John Brimhall's Music Theory Notebook 3-in-1" will get you right up to speed. The best $10:00 you'll ever spend, & it's readily available on amazon etc etc etc.

    All the best,

    Mansonienne likes this.

  5. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 28, 2016
    5-1=4, so that makes sense. So convention has it we start at 1, not 0?

    Why C#, and not C?

  6. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 25, 2014
    The key of A has three sharps, F#, C# and G#.

  7. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    Music is a numbers game. You just need to be able to count to seven. For intervals it's 1-7. For chord progressions it's I - vii. For modes, it's the 1st through the 7th. :D

    The basic stuff every guitarist needs to know to be able to play in just about any situation:

    The numbers relating to intervals:
    Scale - Chromatic
    Scale - Major
    Scale - Minor
    Scale - Pentatonic Major
    Scale - Pentatonic Minor

    What notes build chords:

    1-3-5 = major
    1-b3-5 = minor
    1-3-b7 = 7th. (no 5)

    Then these:

    1-3-5-7 = major 7th, triad 1-3-7, 1-5-7
    1-b3-5-b7 = minor 7th, triad 1-b3-b7, 1-5-b7
    1-b3-b5-b7 = m7b5 (half diminished), triad 1-b5-b7
    1-b3-b5 = diminished. For a quad you can add the octave for the root.

    The basic chord progressions are harmonized scales:

    Major triads - I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii*.

    For example, take the major scale in the key of C:

    1-C / 2-D / 3-E / 4-F / 5-G / 6-A / 7-B

    Harmonize the scale with chords:

    I-C / ii-Dm / iii-Em / IV-F / V-G / vi-Am / vii*-Bdim.

    Now C minor:

    1-C / 2-D / b3-Eb / 4-F / 5-G / b6-Ab / b7-Bb

    i-Cm / ii*- Ddim / III- Eb / iv- Fm / v-Gm / VI- Ab / VII- Bb.

    As far as learning scales goes: Major, Minor, the Pent for both, and Chromatic.

    • Triad chord tones are the foundation notes. Completely inside and harmonious. If there is a safe zone, this is it.
    • Two extra pent notes on each chord are great passing notes. Really sweet sounding, consonant extensions between triad tones.
    • The remaining two diatonic scale notes will give a modal color. They make really good passing tones.
    • The last five chromatic notes are outside notes. That dissonant, jazzy sound. These notes are where the rubber meets the road as far as experience using them. It's very easy to get caught "outside" without an umbrella with these. Use them wisely and sparingly as passing notes, and they sound really cool if resolving straight to a chord tone.
    There's more...augmented chords and other extensions, but this is the start of the language of music. Digest what is above. Then you can move on to the relationship between triads and modes. It is the path to harmony. Literally. :D

  8. s5tuart

    s5tuart My Dad used to say.... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 8, 2011
    Bedford, UK
    The writing's beginning to fade on that sheet @fezz parka :D

    BTW I have this printed out and on my wall!

  9. Tone Deaf

    Tone Deaf Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 12, 2009
    New Jersey, USA
    To shortcut Fezz's info,

    I believe that a perfect 5th is 7 semi-tones (frets) above it's root.

    A = ( root-tone )
    Bb= 1st fret up
    B = 2nd fret up
    C# = 4
    D = 5
    E = 7 frets
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017

  10. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    5 Full steps.
    8 half steps. :D
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
    Omar and Stratoskater like this.

  11. Del1

    Del1 Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 12, 2010
    Kent, UK
    Sorry for the belated reply, @Malurkey, but I think subsequent responses show that we do indeed start at 1 and also why it was C# and not C.

  12. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 25, 2014
    That's 7 steps above the root, which is what he said.

  13. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    That was for everyone. Specificity (something clearly defined)
    has its merits. It wasn't a knock, it was an extended explanation. Guess that was lost on you. :D
    Omar likes this.

  14. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Victoria TX
    They call it an A5 because it is made up of the root of the chord ( in this case A) and the perfect fifth interval from that root. It's no more complicated than that.
    fezz parka likes this.

  15. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 27, 2014
    I teach guitar in high school and what you have in this post (also available on some other threads here and in the TDPRI) is pretty much what I teach my students when it comes to music and chord theory.
    I show them how to fit these lessons into the songs they want to learn (and songs I want them to learn) then we move on to notes on the staff as notes on the fingerboard and there we have it!

    Thanks Fezz, for putting it all into a format that can (and should) be understood by all! And no, this will in no way hamper anyone's creativity. :cool: :)

  16. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 28, 2016
    Thanks guys for your patience so far!

    I ‘m afraid I can’t work out the C# thing.

    Using the ‘Big Cats Eat Fast’ mnemonic, A being 1, B being 2, then the next one should be C, shouldn’t it?

    Unless I use steps of 2 semitones, but then the 5th would be an F, not an E?
    Mansonienne likes this.

  17. gwjensen

    gwjensen Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    I don't get the chromatic intervals. In A, for example, it doesn't seem to line up, but it lines up perfectly in C (and only in C). What am I missing?

    1 b2 2 b3 3 4 b5 5 #5 6 b7 7
    A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab
    C Db D Eb E F Gb G G# A Bb B

  18. srvsayce78

    srvsayce78 Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 15, 2011
    Root to fifth A-E (r-5)

  19. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter Vendor Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    By the steps used to construct a major scale(whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half) the notes of the A Major scale are:


    So in A Major, the root is A, the 3rd is C#, the 5th is E