Guitar Power Chords
Lessons in this Section:
Learning Powerchords

A powerchord is an abbreviated version of a regular chord. It is extremely popular in rock and is a must know. In standard tablature a powerchord is notated by a "5" after the chord letter. For example, A5, B5, or C5.

Guitar Power Chord Lesson
Power Chord Examples [ Coming Soon ]

Whatever the top left hand note is, is the powerchord key. The reason these are A powerchords is because the upper note is on the 5th fret on the E string. This note is A.

Two Note Powerchord
Three Note Powerchord
An A chord is made up by placing your index , middle , and ring finger all on the 2nd fret. The open a string is the first string to be played when you strum.
A B chord is created by placing your index finger on the A string 2nd fret. The place your index, middle, and ring finger on the 4th fret at seen above.

A Major Scale:

Root A , 3rd C# ,5th E

B Major Scale:

Root B , 3rd F# ,5th G#

Figure 1 - Shows a two note powerchord. Notes = A and E
Figure 2 - Shows a three note powerchord. Notes = A , E, and A(one octive higher).

 

A simple chord is made up of three notes. For example, A Major = A, C#, E. This is made up of the 1st note, the 3rd note, and the 5th note of the major scale in A. (see How Chords are Created) A powerchord is only the 1st note and the fifth note. In the key of A this would just be A (the 1st note) and E (the 5th). A powerchord consists of either 2 notes (Figure 1) or 3 (Figure 2 ), depending on whether the root note is played again in a higher octive. The 3rd note of the majorscale is the note that defines major or minor. Since this note is left out in a power chord, it is neithermajor nor minor, but ambiguous.

NOTE - Even though Figure 2 is played on 3 strings, it is really only 2 notes. The first note is played again in a higher active and gives the chord a fuller richer sound.

 

Below are examples of different places to play powerchords. These can be moved up and down the fretboard. These are the basic postitions.

 

 

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