"It's the oldest trick in the rock 'n' roll book but it's amazing how many people don't know that": Are you getting the most out of your power chords? Tom Bukovac has a tip from the Rolling Stones guitar playbook

Mick Jagger, wearing a football jersey, interacts with Keith Richards during a Rolling Stones concert. Ron Wood plays guitar beyond
(Image credit: Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

The guitar world is full of information that may seem obvious to one player, but could be revelatory to another. Assumed knowledge is dangerous because it can alienate us – and the more we can all share, the better. This Tom Bukovac tip on power chords is a case in point. 

The acclaimed Nashville session ace's YouTube Homeskoolin' series is probably the greatest source of guitar advice you'll find for free online – it's not just about playing, but the whole approach of being a successful musician.  Uncle Larry (Bukovac's nickname) is an endless well of advice and inspiration. And the subject of power chords is no exception.

After illustrating the popular Chuck Berry technique of alternating the fifth and sixth with your pinkie finger during a power chord, he introduces another way to spice up your chords that's overlooked by many. And it takes a leaf out of the Rolling Stones playbook.

"It's the oldest trick in the rock 'n' roll book but it's amazing how many people don't know that," notes Tom. It involves playing the root chord and then hammering on part of another chord – playing a G and then hammering on part of a C chord, as he illustrates in the video above. 

And there's more…

"If you want to get really cool you can do this kind of thing," says Tom as he hammers on an A and an F# and keeps the B root note. "It's another way of doing that sort of rock that you would do on the piano where you've got the four chord basically over the one."

So plenty for us to explore here – check it out in the video above to learn more, and dig into other ways to power up your power chords in our own lesson

Subscribe to Tom Bukovac's YouTube channel for more great insights. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.