scroll down for the video tutorials and play along!
I could not believe it. Normally, you can find anything you need with a couple Google searches, but after looking for HOURS I couldn’t find a decent resource on power chords!
In my opinion, power chords are the most important thing to learn when you’re learning to play guitar. Why? It’s simple really. In order to stick with guitar lessons, you need to see progress quickly. If you’re not playing something that actually sounds like a song you probably won’t be interested in playing for too long.
Don’t get me wrong, all kinds of guitar skills are important. Depending what your goals are, you’ll probably need to learn notes, scales, chords and all kinds of other guitar goodness. BUT, there are three reasons why power chords are essential.
First, they allow anyone to start playing almost immediately. Even people who have never played guitar can be playing within hours. When I say playing, I mean actually playing songs. Current songs. Popular songs. Classic songs. You name it. There are songs from just about any era or genre that can be played with power chords. Which brings me to point 2…
There are hundreds, possibly thousands of songs than can be played if you understand the power chord basics. Know power chords and you can either pick up the songs you want by finding the power chord tablature (written forms of the music that show the frets to be played on each string rather than standard music notation – see “What’s a power chord?” below for an example) or, you’ll probably be able to pick them up by ear. Once you play power chords a bit, you’ll start to notice songs that most likely use them.
Finally, power chords will get you playing fast. No matter how far you want to take your guitar lessons, it’s always important to be able to play something that actually sounds familiar. It’s fun. Keeping your practice fun by mixing in power chord songs along with your other skills training will keep you motivated to play longer and more often so all your skills will improve.
What’s a power chord?
Power chords are played with 2 or sometimes 3 strings on the guitar. It’s usually on an electric guitar with a bit of distortion, but they can also be played on an acoustic guitar. The typical finger placement is to skip one fret between the strings being played. Here is the tablature showing the finger placement for some common power chords, the notes in () are optional:
You won’t believe what you can do with power chords. Some bands played almost exclusively with power chords and there are tons of songs you can play.
This page will be used to start capturing a list of the songs and chords and/or video lessons. If you have suggestions, please leave a comment or send me an email.
Also, be sure to check out the video lesson on power chord basics.