Power chords on the guitar are a great way to start playing songs and having fun on the guitar. Power chords are built around a single chord shape that is simply moved up and down the fretboard. If you’re looking to better understand power chords on acoustic guitar, check out the rest of this lesson.
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What Are Power Chords?
Power chords are built upon three notes: the root, the fifth, and the octave. That’s it! They are incredibly powerful — hence the name — and they are pretty easy to make.
Here’s how to make your first power chord.
- Place your index finger on the fifth fret of the E string. That note is going to be your root.
- Place your ring finger on the seventh fret of the A string. This note is the fifth, or five scale degrees away from your root.
- Tuck your pinky finger underneath the ring finger on the seventh fret of the D string. That note is the octave of the note your index finger is playing.
Once you have your fingers assembled in their correct positions, go ahead and strum just the three lower strings. Notice how much bass and power is behind that chord. It’s no wonder why guitarists call them power chords!
One of the best parts about power chords is you can keep the chord shape, change frets, and you’re still making a power chord. Try experimenting with different notes on the fretboard while keeping the chord shape. You’ll find that power chords are very fun to play.
How to Play (More) Power Chords
If you’ve been playing power chords starting on the low E string, you might be wondering if there is anywhere else you can play power chords. Fortunately, the guitar is built to play power chords starting on two strings: the low E string, and the A string.
You’ve been playing power chords on the low E string and having tons of fun doing it. Now, it’s time to play power chords on the A string. Don’t worry — it’s the exact same chord shape, just starting on the A string!
Let’s start with a D power chord.
- Place your index finger on the fifth fret of the A string.
- Place your ring finger on the seventh fret of the D string.
- Tuck your pinky finger under your ring finger at the seventh fret of the G string.
Just like that, you have a beautiful power chord. Be sure to just play the A, D, and G strings. It may take some getting used to, but you can use your free middle finger to mute the low E string. Just like last time, you can move this power chord shape up and down the neck of the guitar, and you’ll still be making power chords.
Power Chord Exercises and More Online Guitar Lessons
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