Power Chords for the Beta

I know this has been discussed before. But I’m hoping while you making changes to the UI and add strumming patterns that you can find time to add in power chords as an option. I would not want to have all the chords in a song played as power chords. I’m sure there are cigar box guitar enthusiasts who wouldn’t mind that, seeing as most of them are tune to 1-5-1, such as DAD or GDG, etc. I use power chords a lot for when I want to be ambiguous. But StrumMachine backup takes away the ambiguity by forcing me to choose major or minor chords. Neither of these choices usually sound right because they are not ambiguous. When I find myself in this situation, I just use TablEdit to play the tune for backup. Every time I look at the chords in the popup, I see 7, m7, 6, 9, dim, aug, sus2, sus4… But no power chords. I play Old Time where power chords are common, more than dim, aug, etc. Will the Muses ever deign to bless StrumMachine with power chords?


Yes, it’s time. Thanks for bringing it up, as I hadn’t prioritized it for my couple-weeks plan but I totally should.


Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. There’s hardly a tune I don’t play where I don’t use power chords somewhere.

@RobertBiggs Can you tell me more about which chords in a song you want to be power chords? That is, how often is it that you mostly just want the 1 chord to be a power chord, versus other chords or even all the chords?

Seems like in old-time it’s most common for the 1 chord to be a power chord (for modal tunes), less so for the other chords… but I’m curious to hear your perspective, and from anyone else who would like to chime in.

Given that a future genre will be blues it’s probable there will be blues and blues-rock songs that I’d like to use with Strum Machine. I think I’d need all chords to have the power chord option.

My thought is that there should be an option in the new “band settings” menu to tell it to use no-third chords. That way, if you’re playing a blues song, or a rock song, or a modal old-time tune, you can set that one option and it will play appropriately, instead of having to edit the song and change all the chords to 5 chords manually. Hence my question, which I asked since I’m trying to figure out exactly what that theoretical option should do.

That approach is probably more global than I would use. I’m going to have fun getting the backup for a particular song to sound the way I want it but then I’ll probably ‘set it and forget it’. Down the road, should an improvement come to mind, or you weren’t kidding about adding bouzouki, only then would I be likely to make changes.

Hmm… I’m pretty sure its not usually the I but the IV or V. And I wouldn’t want all of them to be power chords, unless I was playing a cigar box guitar. Because sometimes I’ll go for a 7 chord or a major chord to change things up a bit and not get too boring. Half the time when I play a D it’s a D5, but sometimes a D7 or a D major. So I’d like to be able to maintain that freedom to choose, just like you have for the other chord types in the chord menu.

Rather than fretting about systems to handle power chords, just add it as an option in the chord menu. Something like this.

Less work for you and we get power chords. Don’t over think automatic conversion. You’re not doing that for other types of chords. Keep it simple.


Let me put it this way: *I* want to be able to quickly say that a song is modal and get at least “good enough” chord choices without having to edit all the chords. So I have to assume there are others out there like me… right? Right?

I have actually toyed with the idea of doing automatic conversions to maj7 or major 6 for jazz/swing, or even an automatic conversion to Texas style. But I’m gonna wait until I know there’s demand for that. :wink:

That said, the explicit 5 chord option like you mocked up @RobertBiggs is all but complete so you can except that to be available later this week. :smiley:

@JohnStevens To be clear, what I am talking about is a per-song setting, not a global one.

You have a point. But, as one developer to another, better to concentrate on other aspects of this beta launch and save that type of automatic convention for a later updated. You need to prioritize what are the most essential and what are the nice to haves. The nice to haves get put on a list for later implementation. You don’t want feature creep to overwhelm an important update.

After the beta goes gold, spend a few months fixing weird bugs, etc. Then, don’t know if this site supports polls, but some kind of polls to get feedback from users about what they would like can be very insightful and help you prioritize future features.

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OK, a new beta version with 5 chords (aka power chords) has just been released! Use the new “5” button in the Chords menu or press the 5 key on your keyboard. As always, you can click and drag to select multiple chords and change the chord type for them all at once.

I’ll keep mulling over other options but like you said that’s probably something to save for a future iteration.


Yay! Thank you a ton, Luke.

I love the 5 chord. Will chords entered in the Beta migrate to the desktop version when it is updated?

Yes, it’s the same database. The non-beta version is ignoring the “5” part of the chord right now because it doesn’t yet understand how to play it (like the beta does).

If I’m understanding correctly that a power chord is the root and 5th of a chord (not really a chord, per se) with the 3rd of the “chord” omitted, than this would certainly be a welcomed use for some of the really early music I play (kind of a Gregorian chant vibe with a power chord, haha) and for the the mostly modal music I play on fiddle where the 3rd just doesn’t sound right in the celtic stuff. I’m using strum machine for my own at-home practice time but I really appreciate, Luke, how you’re upping it all the time, i.e., the new strum patterns are da bomb. Thanks!

Yes, that’s correct. Give it a try on the beta site with the “5” button in the Chords menu or by pressing the 5 key in the editor.