When you’re new to guitar everybody’s telling you, you have to learn all of this stuff a gazillion chords, barre chords, here you got to learn how to read music, and here and then you can start having fun with the guitar.

But that’s completely wrong, when you start playing guitar when you’re just learning your mission is to get hooked and have fun because that leads to progress and that leads to a fulfilling and productive guitar journey.

One thing that can lead to major fun on the guitar and I guarantee you it’s going to get you hooked, it’s called Power Chords. Let’s dive deep into everything it takes to answer what is a power chord guitar………..

1. What is a Power Chord Guitar?

Power chords are beautiful because your fingers only have one job. And when they complete that job, when they make that chord shape, all you have to do is move it around and you can play a bunch of chords using the same chord shape. They are popular in amplified rock music.

what is a power chord guitar
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Power chords are a super useful thing for all guitar players whether they want to play rock or acoustic or whatever style it is that they want to play. They’re a great substitute for bar chords, but they are particularly suited to playing rock and roll with a little bit of crunch, and a little bit of distortion.

Now the first thing you want to know about power chords is that the shape for all of the chords stays the same but we can move it around. So in some ways, it’s a little easier than learning your regular open chords.

There is a lot more to power chords than greed day and nirvana songs.  If you start applying some of the music theories you know to the power chord concept then you will find that writing with a power chord is a very rich and fertile ground to write in. There are a lot of options that we can do that we cannot do when we are working with the full chords.

2. How Power Chords are Formed?

The Power Chords are formed starting with an E chord, just regular old E. You will see the F chord which would be fingering that E using different fingers and then moving it one step higher, you will get the F chord, the F bar chord, and the full bar chord.

Now a power chord just uses those 3 notes, the thickest 3 strings in the guitar. There’s the root note, note F on the top. Below the F note, there is the 5th, and below that one is the octave. It will be a power chord when you play the root and fifth notes at the same time.

3. How to Play Power Chords?

what is a power chord guitar
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3.1 Two or Three Fingers?

The power chord is a two-note chord but doesn’t have major or minor quality. A little bit like sus chords. You often see them referred to in sheet music as a 5-chord, so like G5, means that you would play a G power chord.

And because they don’t have a third, they can replace both major and minor if you’re looking into using them as a substitute. If you see a B minor chord in the sheet music, you could play a B power chord, the B5 chord would be a suitable replacement.

In the standard F power chord grip, the interesting thing is that you can also play it as a 2 finger grip without this extra octave here. You can play 1st finger, 3rd finger, or little finger, or you can leave off that note altogether and just have 2 notes, which you can either play with your 1st and 3rd fingers or your 1st and little fingers.

If you find doing this big kind of a full power chord a bit difficult at first, you might want to try using your 1st finger and little fingers just plating the 2 notes version. Some songs sound better with the 2 notes version, and some songs sound better with the 3 notes version.

But I think mostly it’s about player comfort. When you see different guitar players using different ones, it’s generally just about the sound. Maybe if you get really heavy like really distorted then perhaps the 2 notes on tend to sound better sometimes but it’s kind of a preference to what feels good for you as well.

3.2 Playing Power Chords:- Simple Shapes

Whether you’re playing the 3-fingered power chord or the 2-fingered power chord, the important thing to know about is the root note because this gives us the name of the chord. Just like it did with the little bar chord example I talked about earlier.

If you will place the finger on the F note and if I put that 3rd finger down 2 frets higher on the next string, that will be an F5. If you could also add the little finger underneath, still be an F5 power chord because that is the note F.

If you will put that 1st finger here, on the 3rd fret of the thickest string, that will be the note G. If you put the same shape again, relatively the fingers are 2 frets higher than where the 1rst finger is on the next 2 strings, that will be a G power chord.

If you move it up one more it’s a G sharp power chord. If you will put your 1st finger on the 4th fret of the 5th string it will be a C sharp chord. If you move it down one it’s C, if you move it down again there’s a B.

The idea here with the power chord is you just find the root note on the thickest 2 strings and place your fingers down in the appropriate frets. It’s kind of that simple.

4. Power Chords for Beginners:- String Muting

The actual learning of the shape here is relatively simple. But they’re some complications. The first one is string muting. Now when you play the power chords you only want the strings where your fingers are ringing out.

If you’re playing like an E flat power chord, this is a particularly horrible example here. Place the 1st finger on the 6th fret of the 5th string which will be the note E flat0. If you let the open strings ring out there, that’s going to be a pretty rough-sounding chord that your probably not going to be using very often.

So there are a couple of points here that we need to talk about.

The first one is going to talk about the role of the 1rst finger when we’re playing a 6th-string root power chord. If we take the G chord for example. Get your 1st finger on the 3rd fret of the thickest string, and your little finger on the 5th fret of strings 4 and 3.

The 1rst finger has to play the note that’s on the thickest string, the root note, but it also needs to lay down and mute the other strings, particularly the thinnest 3 strings. You might find that sometimes the 3rd finger is still kind of half touching down that note on there on this string as well because you’ve got those other fingers there. It doesn’t matter too much.

But what’s important here is these 3 strings, the thinnest 3 strings are touched very lightly by the underneath of that 1rst finger so that when you strum them, you just get that kind of little noise there. And the last 3 are just little clicks. You want to strum all the strings.

This trick is called String Muting. So it’s important. Probably the most important bit of learning to play power chords. It’s not just the shape and the root note, but making sure that the muting is solid. If you don’t get that right, your power chords will always sound sloppy, and pretty much anything you play is gonna sound a little bit kind of wonky

5. Learn the Root Notes

The easiest way to learn the power chords and where those root notes are is to learn what we call the 6 key tones which will kind of open up all of these chords for you if you can remember where these particular root notes are.

what is a power chord guitar
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Now the root notes are here G and C. There’s a G chord, there’s a C chord. You’ve got A and D power chord which is here at the 5th fret and you’ve got a B and an E here on the 7th fret. B and E. Of course alphabetically you could be thinking G, A, B, C D, E. But it will quite helpful to think of it like this G and C, A, D, B, and E.

If you can remember those 6 root notes, none of the other notes are more than a step away from chords that you already know. It just means that if you’re confident with finding those super quickly, you’ll be able to find an E flat relatively quickly. Because if this is an E so you just move it down a semi-tone you will get an E flat.

Memorizing that stuff is important. It will help you learn songs super quickly. Especially with power chords because it’s the same shape, if you learn those root notes, you’ve essentially learned all of the chords and that is a pretty big deal.

It’s a great get-out-of-free card even if you have a whole series of chords if you’ve got a song that has E flat and then A flat and then D flat and then F sharp all in the same song. But if you know the power chords, you can buy and play along with, you know, if you play in a band or whatever.

Of course, there are times when power chords are just power chords. You’re gonna play, you know, G and A, sometimes you might want to be playing them as open chords. It will become a bit of a choice and it will depend on the style of what you want to play.

In your practice time, it is recommended that you should spend a little bit of time in the beginning just practicing the chord shapes and making sure that you got the muting, and that the fingers feel comfortable. Explore using the 2-finger one, and explore the 3-finger one. Just practice it for some time. Make sure you memorize those root notes and all that sort of stuff. Really, important.

6. How to Move around the Neck Using Power Chords?

But as soon as you start playing songs you’re gonna notice that some other challenges present themselves.

The first one, if you’re sliding up and down the same string, the trick is to be able to hold the power chord shape while you move it. And you do that by relaxing the tension in the fingers but maintaining the shape. So, let’s say that you have got a C power chord here. And the next one is a D.

Rather than lifting them all and like try to put the fingers down one at a time again, you want to get in the habit of, there’s C, now to go to C we relax the fingers. They’re still touching the strings. That’s the key thing. They’re still touching the strings, then you try and slide the shape up, then put it down again, then practice.

Then lift it and slide it back again trying to keep the shape the same, press down, and play the chord. Relex lifts it and slides it up. Play it again. That as an exercise on its own is already a good one to start with. You gonna find it’s quite difficult to keep the fingers spread apart while you move it. Some of you will find that keeping the 3rd and 4th fingers together will be difficult.

You might control the 1st and 3rd finger but as you slide it back the little finger kind of gets waylaid a little bit. That’s kind of normal, it’s just practice. It’s a new thing this idea of keeping the hand in the same shape while you move it around, it’s gonna be a little bit awkward the first few times you do it. That’s OK. Practice is going to solve that.

The Bottom Line!

This was all about the power chords guitar. Power chords are one of the most essential guitar chords. It can help you a lot.

If you are a beginner with a guitar and want to learn then check this out.


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