I learned something recently that I had not been "told" by any of my friends or other guys I play with... This was a hard won little tidbit I thought I'd pass along.
When you jam with others you watch what they are doing and learn from them, right? Well some stuff just slips through the cracks. You look over as they start some song you don't know "oh he's playing G" - you feel that sense of relief "Okay it's blues in G - G, C,D...listen for the changes and away you go! But when you play it doesn't sound as sweet as the other guy! Must be GEAR! LOL!!! Well it could be lots of things but one of them is the 3rd of the chord! Oh crap, he's going to talk about music theory - RUN!!! Hey I know as little as the next guy but this made an IMMEIDIATE difference that I could hear.
For those of you that are saying "I knew that!" So if you knew about the 3rd...why didn’t you tell us? LOL!!!
So for the rest of us - I have a little experiment for you!
Go dial up your favorite ROCK tone - think AC/DC. Play an E chord - HIT IT and let it ring. E right? You hear it but with distortion there is also some "stuff" going on that isn't pretty but it's an E chord. Okay, lift the finger on the first fret of the G string (holding G#) - just enough to dampen the string from ringing out - don't let off completely to open G - that would be Em.
HIT IT AGAIN.
Hear the difference? Go back and forth a few times - the G# is the 3rd of the chord.
Now try a D chord - let up on the finger holding the F# - High E string 2nd fret. So just the two other fingers holding the D chord (3rd fret of the B and the second fret of the G string) are ringing out. Go back and for a few times. Hear it?
You can do the same with G, A and C pretty easy...
So what I learned is this is how you play "power" chords - chords with only the 1st and the 5th in them - in the first position! They aren't major or minor and sound great with distortion.
So this is one of those things you can learn just looking at the other players! If you look- it just looks like the guy is playing "E" or whatever. His grip hasn't changed that you can see!
Hope this helps somebody else!
And to our more experienced players out there - Please chime in with anything I've got wrong here or to amplify (pun intended) the topic!