Guitar Power Chords
An Introduction to the Power Chord
electric guitar is undeniably the basis for a very large amount of
modern music. The distorted electric guitar produces a sound that is at
once highly appealing and very harmonically full meaning that a very
big sound can be produced by a pretty small line up.
If you want
to get into playing Rock, Metal, Punk or Pop music then there is one
crucial tool in your guitar arsenal with which you can create or
recreate music effortlessly and very musically. That tool is the Power
As its name implies, the Power Chord is two things.
Firstly it is a Chord - that means that it is more than one note being
played simultaneously. For a basic power chord that simply means two
strings - but if you want a really full and fat sound then you need to
play three strings. The second thing about a Power Chord is that it is
However - it sounds pretty flat without a choice
selection of effects - at the very least a distortion pedal. A
distortion sound can be fattened up nicely with a bit of delay (echo)
and some choice EQ settings. For the classic Metal sound you need to
remove a lot of the mid (known as scooping) and boost the top and
bottom. This gives you the supreme combination of powerful chugging
bass and tight highs that give definition and articulation.
So you want to get into Power Chords?
start with you need to understand the shape on the fret board of the
classic Power Chord. Once you know the shape, you can move it around
the fret board to your hearts content to achieve every key possible.
This is the real beauty of the Power Chord - itís really simple!!
your first finger and place it on the third fret (the first one with a
dot down from the nut) of your bottom E string (the one that is at the
top as you hold the guitar normally. Now take your third or second
finger and place it on the fifth fret (second one with a dot) of your A
string (the one next to your E string). Now simply play these two
strings together - being careful not to play any of the other strings.
you should have your thumb against the back of the neck of the guitar
and in effect you are pinching the strings to the fret board between
your thumb and fingers. Try to get your fingers going as vertically
into the fret board as possible - which will help you minimise the
chance of hitting any other strings. Now - donít grip too hard - to
play quickly you need to apply the minimum amount of pressure necessary
whilst maintaining clearly defined notes.
Play these two strings
as much as you want - you are playing a basic Power Chord. Try moving
the shape up and down the frets a bit - you are now playing different
keys :-) Easy - isnít it?
Now lets take it to the next level -
try moving the whole shape down a string, so that your first finger is
on the A string and your second (or third) finger is on the next string
down (your D string). Now try moving back to the original position.
Once you are comfortable with switching between strings, you are ready
to start tackling a large amount of modern music. I bet you
accidentally get a few Nirvana or Green Day riffs in there - have fun.
you are comfortable with this, you can go for the next level still and
start to use three strings. This gives you a really nice, fat Power
Chord - very satisfying indeed!!! To do this we are going to use your
Letís go back to putting your first finger on the
third fret of your E string. Now put your third finger on the fifth
fret of your A string. OK - back to the original basic Power Chord... All
we are going to do now is add your little finger on the fifth fret of
your D string - so it is next to your third finger on your A string.
This note is one octave higher than the note that your first finger is
playing. Now play all three strings together - isnít that good..?
simply go back to moving up and down the fret board and moving the
shape up and down between the E string and the A string. Once you have
fully got the hang of that - crank up the distortion, add a few extra
effects and enjoy the Power Chord experience!!
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