What is A Power Chord

What is a power chord

Did you just get your guitar, and you want to learn some easy chords? Or maybe you know some chords, but you want to learn some Rock n Roll. Then you have found the right article. Where You will learn what is a power chord,

If you are familiar with some basic chords, and you have heard of “Power Chords.” What is a power chord? This article explains What is a power chord: A Power Chord is defined as a chord that consists of the Root note, and the 5th of the chord. The power chord is used with the guitar. Especially when playing the electric guitar. Genre’s such as Rock n Roll, Heavy Metal, and the Blues are where the power chord is often used.

If you want to learn different kinds of power chords, and how to use them in a song. Then keep reading to find out all the secrets of power chords.

How Do You Read Power Chords?

First things first. We now know that a power chord is a root note and a 5th of the chord. But what the heck does that mean? Let me explain this to you. So that it will make playing them, and understanding the chord easier for you.

What’s a root note? In music a chord is made up of at least 3 notes. The chord can be named from one of these notes. The chords name is the root of the chord. What ever the root note is, this is also the pitch of the chord. Hence we have G chords, C chords B chords etc.

What is the 5th of the chord? Also in music theory the fifth of the chord is the pitch or note of the chord. That is the 5th scale degree. When we speak of “scale Degree”, we are referring to the position of a particular note a scale relative to its Tonic. The Tonic is the root of the chord.

Here is a link if you want an in depth look into the Major Scale.

Finding the Root & the 5th Note

When playing the power chord it is different than any other chords. Because it breaks the rule that a chord is made up of at least three notes. With a power chord you are playing only two notes.

When you play the power chord the root is usually played using your first finger.

For example if you were playing an A power chord. Your root or A would be found on the 6th string. The thickest string, at the 5th fret. You would place your index finger there.

Then your third finger is playing the 5th of the chord. Which in the case of the A chord. The 5th of the chord is the E note.

The E note is found on the 5th string, at the 7th fret. When you play these two notes together you are playing the A Power Chord. You don’t play any of the other strings.

Related Article: First Position Chords.

Take a look at what the A power chord diagram looks like.

A Power Chord
A Power Chord

With this same finger position you can move up and down the 6th string, and play lots of chords. The trick to this is knowing where the root is. Here is a link to learn all the root notes on the fretboard.


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X – Mute the Strings

So that you don’t accidentally play the other strings on the guitar. You can lightly touch the strings with your first finger. This will mute the strings. If you do strike them by accident, they will not ring out.

You can take this same shape and move the chord down to the 5th string. Let’s say you want to play the C power chord. You want to find the root note. Which is the C note.

The C is located on the 5th string, at the third fret. This is where you would place your first finger. At the third fret. Then your third finger is playing the 5th of the C chord.

Related Article: How to Mute guitar strings.

Which is the G note. This is found on the fourth string, at the 5th fret. Look at the chord diagram for the C power chord below.

C power chord
C Power Chord

When playing this chord you don’t want to play the E string, (6th string) or the first three sings. What you can do is use your first finger to mute the strings.

Place your first finger slightly against the 6th string. This will mute the E string. Then you can lay across the first, second and third string with that same finger. Just lightly touch those strings to mute them.

For more Guitar lessons check out YourGuitarGuide

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Making A Thicker Sounding Power Chord

Here is another way to play a power chord. This will change the sound of the chord. Just by adding one additional finger. Instead of a thin sounding two note chord. By adding one finger to the chord gives it a more meatier sound.

What you want to do is just add the pinkie to the chord. Right below the 5th of the chord. Which is below your third finger.

When you play the note that is under your pinkie. You are playing the Octave. If you want to learn more about Octaves here is the link: Octaves a great way to find your way around the fretboard.

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See the C power chord with the addition of the pinkie. This example is in the chord chart below.

C Power Chord
C Power Chord with the Octave

If you need help reading chord diagrams take a quick look at how to read chord diagrams.

Related Article: Best beginner Electric guitar song & easy.

Can You Play Power Chords On An Acoustic Guitar?

You can play power chords on an acoustic guitar. But more often you will find that the power chord is played in Rock N Roll, and sd Heavy Metal songs.

When your playing this type of music you don’t want all the string in a chord to muddy up the music.

Usually when playing an acoustic guitar you are strumming all the strings. Or at least picking them. The acoustic guitar gives you a loud distinct rhythmic sound.

Where as in Rock music, and Heavy Metal you are using an amp with distortion .

You don’t want to play all the notes in the chord. Which in turn is playing a lot of strings.

So what better chord than the power chord to play. Only two notes at a time. Instead of strumming 6 strings. This makes it very messy, and it does not sound good at all. Here are 11 easy songs on guitar for beginners.

Related Questions

Power Chord PDF

Get the PDF that gives you the most popular power chords. This PDF will put you on a fast track to playing power chords. Just click this link for the POWER CHORD PDF.

G Power Chord

The G power chord can be found on the 6th string, at the third fret. The third fret of the 6th string is the G note. This is the root of the power chord. Then we need to find the 5th of the chord.

Which is the D note. It can be found on the 5th fret of the 5th string. You play this note with your third finger.

What is a power chord
G power chord

If you want a full sounding G power chord. You can add the pinkie to the G octave. Which is the note right below your third finger. At the 5th fret, on the fourth string. To learn where all the root notes are. Here are 11 tips for learning the guitar notes.

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Power Chord Songs

A great song to play using power chords is by Black Sabath. That is the song “Iron Man”. Here are the power chords needed to play this song. (G Bb C C#).

Here is the chord progression to play the song. G Bb C, G Bb C# C,
G Bb C, Bb G.

Here are the Chord Diagrams to help you play this song, and many more.

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