Guitar Lessons - Basic Power Chords:

- Bill McRea

Not to over simplify Rock Ní Roll but a huge variety of music is based on two patterns: The blues vamp and the power chord. Blues vamps and power chords are just names for rhythmic patterns and chords. Today were looking at the power chords.

What is a Power Chord? Power chords are "movable chords", meaning we can move their position up or down the neck, to create different power chords. Itís the same shape just starting in a different position. The power chord contains two notes, the root note, and a note called the "fifth". Power chords are known as "fifth chords" (written C5 or E5, etc). Power chord are not a Major or Minor in tonal quality. The sample below is a power chord in TAB Format.

E-------------
B-------------
G-------------
D-------------
A----3--------
E----1--------

The first fret on the Low E is an F so this is and F5 Power Chord. In this case you want to play only the two notes on the Low E and A strong.

E-------------
B-------------
G-------------
D-------------
A----7--------
E----5--------

The fifth fret on the Low E is an A so this is and A5 Power Chord. In this case you want to play only the two notes on the Low E and A strong. Notice this is exactly the same shape as the F5 just move up one step or two frets.

In both of these examples we are looking at power chords with the root note (the one that names the chord) on the Low E or sixth string. The same chord shape can be played with the root note on the A or 5th string.

E-------------
B-------------
G-------------
D----9--------
A----7--------
E-------------

The 7th fret on the A string is an E so this is and E5 Power Chord. In this case you want to play only the two notes on the A and D string, and mute the note on the Low E with the tip of your finger pressing down on the 7th fret of the A string.

The following Power chords are the same chord but played in different positions on the fret board. Confused?

E-------------   
B-------------
G-------------
D----9--------
A----7--------
E-------------


E-------------
B-------------
G-------------
D-------------
A----2--------
E----0--------

Donít be. Play around with these cool little chords. Add some distortion to your amp and play the notes with all down strokes while alternating string mutes. This is the basic techniques used in most hard rock, metal and grunge styles of Rock Ní Roll.

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