Excellent question. We are so very glad you asked!

As anyone who spends a lot of time learning/playing Green Day songs on the guitar can probably tell you, Green Day usually uses 5 chords, or “power chords.” If you’re not familiar with a 5 chord, it’s basically just the first three notes of a barre chord being strummed. The first note, the fifth (hence the term 5 chord), and an octave of the first. Many modern rock bands use these chords instead of sounding out the entire chord, thereby omitting the 3rd which determines the major/minor tonality of the chord.


G5 guitar chord      Gmaj barred guitar chord

Above images generated with help from ChordBook.com

Note that the 2nd image above is labeled “Gmaj.” For the purposes of creating the chord charts on this site, we would just call that a “G.” Minor chords will be noted as such (e.g. Gmin), so you can assume that any chord that isn’t labeled as a minor should be played as a major.

In general, the key of the song will determine whether or not any particular 5 chord played would be major or minor if the whole thing was played. There are exceptions, of course (the 3rd chord in any given key is a somewhat frequent exception). Also, when a full band is playing, what the bass player is doing along with the melody/harmony of the song itself are big indicators of what the full chord would be if sounded out. We use these signals while deciphering the chords to Green Day songs for the purpose of this site. The reason for this is that a guitarist playing by himself, especially on an acoustic guitar, doesn’t get a very full sound when only playing 5 chords.

If you have the benefit of a band, or if you just want to be a purist and play the chords as close to how they were recorded as possible, then you can very well interpret just about every chord on this site as a 5 chord and play accordingly. There will of course be some exceptions for those Green Day songs which do use full chords (Good Riddance and other acoustic guitar-based songs, for example).

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.