Beginner power chord practice exercises
When practicing power chords on your guitar, you need to concentrate on three things:
- Moving the chord position
Start off by fretting a single chord (say G5), as described in "Basic Power Chords". Add a little distortion to your amp if possible (don't overdo it!) and concentrate on strumming technique. Remember you need to strum only the strings you are fretting, so the technique is totally different to playing open chords.
Play using a medium or heavy pick and play downstrokes only, using short strokes with the pick and using your wrist, not your arm to strum.
Staying on the same chord, practice playing 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.
When you're happy with your strumming technique, try the following exercises. Start slowly at first and gradually increase your speed as you become more confident. But don't be overeager to play fast too soon, as the most valuable practice can be gained from playing slowly.
Strum each chord 4 times using short, even downstrokes before changing to the next one. Remember you don't need to remove your fingers from the strings when changing chords, just relax the pressure a little and slide up or down the neck to the new chord position. Your Power Chord Trainer will help you to keep your finger spacing correct, just remeber that you need to squeeze as you move up the neck and relax when you move down the neck.
Exercise 1 : A - D - A - E (First finger on fret: 5 - 10 - 5 - 0)
Exercise 2 : G - F - C - D (First finger on fret: 3 - 1 - 8 - 10)
Exercise 3 : Bb-C - D - E (First finger on fret: 6 - 8 - 10 - 0)
Exercise 4 : B - A - G - F (First finger on fret: 7 - 5 - 3 - 1)
When you have mastered these four exercises, try playing them in strict time against a metronome or drum machine. Playing in time and keeping up will be vital when you're playing guitar in a band!
Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple *
We couldn’t resist it! Love it or hate it, this classic riff is still one of the best guitar practice exercises for power chords... and a great way to impress your mates.
So turn on your amp, add a little distortion, fit your Power Chord Trainer and ROCK!
Remember that this time each chord is strummed only once, so you'll be moving your chord position a lot to play this great power chord riff. Start off slowly and gratually build up to full playing speed as you get used to the positions.
Smoke on the water
E - G - A / E - G - Bb-A
E - G - A / G - E
Note that the E power chord is played using the 3rd finger only (on the 5th string, 2nd fret), as the 6th string is played open. But the hand shape is kept the same.
[*Note: we're using the Smoke on the Water riff as a guitar practice exercise for E-string rooted power chords here, which sounds great and is a really good way of practicing moving your power chord shape to different positions up and down the neck.
However, the original Deep Purple version of Smoke on the Water is played using inverted power chords. If you want to see how the definitive version is played, try a YouTube search!]