Playing basic power chords on guitar
What are "power chords"?
Power Chords on the guitar consist only of the first and fifth note of a scale.
So, taking an F scale: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F... the first note is F, the fifth note is C, so a Power chord is formed by playing an F and C together.
Power chords are easier to play than full barre chords on the guitar. As they don’t contain a major or minor quality to them, power chords can stand in for either of these types of chord and they’re great fun to play!
How are power chords written?
Guitar Power chords are usually written with the name of root note and "5". So, a Power chord of F is written F5.
Yes, it's as simple as that!
How do I play a power chord?
Power chords can be played in many different positions on the guitar and on different strings. For beginners, the best starting point is chords rooted on the 6th string and this is what we refer to here as "basic power chords". Because they use the sixth and fith strings of your guitar they are easier for the beginner to strum than those using other strings. You might also see reference to these chord positions a "E root", because the root note (the note that gives the chord its name) is played on the E string of your guitar.
We'll start off with a Power Chord of F - usually written F5
- Place your 1st finger just behind the 1st fret of the 6th string.
- Place your 3rd finger just behind the 3rd fret of the 5th string.
- Keep your 2nd and 4th fingers away from the strings.
- Now strum the 6th and 5th strings only, (using short down-strokes with your pick) and you're playing an F5 Power Chord.
A little tricky, isn't it? This is where your Power Chord Trainer comes in...
Using the Power Chord Trainer
With your fretting hand fingers roughly in place on the neck of your guitar, simply put the Power Chord Trainer on the middle section of your 1st and 3rd fingers. You will immediately find that it helps to separate the fingers so that the fretting position seems less of a stretch.
As you move the chord position up and down the neck, the Power Chord Trainer helps you to maintain the correct finger spacing as you naturally squeeze your fingers together more as you move up. There is plenty of space for your 3rd finger to hover inside the power loop, but if you prefer you can also place it on top of the loop.
Just like barre chords, power chords can be played anywhere on the neck of your guitar.
Almost anyone can play guitar power chords with just a little practice... and a Power Chord Trainer, of course!
How do I play an E power chord on guitar?
Beginners sometimes think that F5 is the lowest power chord that can be played on the 5th & 6th strings. But an E power chord is easily played using the 3rd finger only (on the 5th string, 2nd fret), with the 6th string is played open.
Although you are only fretting one note, it is best to keep the basic hand shape the same, with your Power Chord Trainer in place. This means that you can easily slide up to the next chord you want to play and your fingers will be ready!
You can, of course, also play an E5 power chord at the 12th fret, an octave higher.