How To Play Power Chords

If you are looking for ways to make your strumming fun and easy, power chords are your way to go. You can easily play them rather than their full-version counterparts. Stay tuned with us to learn how to play power chords.  

Despite the power chords having two different notes with 5 steps apart, the actual chord involves more than two strings. This happens as you might double each of the notes making up the power chord.

In this article, you will get to learn how to play power chords in a beginner-friendly way. So let us dive right in!

What are Power Chords?

Power Chords are a kind of movable chord shape for guitars containing only 2 notes. In laymen's terms, they can be considered a simpler, toned-down version of the barre chord. To make various other chords with the same fingering technique, you can shift the movable chords across the fretboard. 

Although the power chords are mainly played in rock, they can be blended with other music styles, for example, country music. Another typical use is to put on an overdriven intense rhythmic blanket of music. 

To sum it up, power chords are a more straightforward, effortless version of a chord.

  • At one single point, only 2 notes can be played (3 if you take the octave into account.
  • There is no minor or major tonality to this.

  • It utilizes only the 5th scale degree and root of a chord.

Why Should You Learn Power Chords?

For your overall musical development and playing, learning power chords is essentially useful. 

What is the impactful magic of power chords?

Thanks to the fifth note makeup and root, these power chords are incredibly versatile. For other regions of guitar playing, they acct as the building blocks.

The Benefits of Learning Power Chords

Here are the benefits of learning the Power Chords:

  • Power chords are neither minor nor major, which means they are the perfect substitutes for more complex chord shapes. 
  • Even on distorted guitar, the power chords can sound clear and punchy. On the other hand, complex chords with complicated harmonics can fade away, sounding muddy. 

  • Power chords prove to be great tools to help you work out songs, try out fretboard note locations, organize and write arrangements, and much more.

Playing Power Chords

Power Chord Pattern 1 – Two Fingers

In any of the 12 available keys, a power chord can be played. Let us take the A5 chord as an example. 

Using 2 separate notes, the first power chord, A, can be played. While your pinky finger keeps on playing the 5th chord note at the 5th A string, your index finger can play the root note on that low E string. 

You can also play this pattern using your 3rd finger to strum the 5th string note in place of your small finger. 

We recommend using your small finger at every chance to strengthen it, leading to improved performance in guitar playing. Using pinky finger also fosters finger spread on the guitar's lower and wider power chords like G5 and F5. 

Power Chord Pattern 2 – Three Fingers

Next up, we have the power chord shape containing only two different notes. Wait, but there is the involvement of 3 fingers. Furthermore, the chord diagrams show that it contains 3 notes. Yeah, we can almost hear you reflecting.

Actually, the main thing is, you will still be playing the fifth and root note. An additional root note is included in a higher octave:

The purpose of this extra root note is to give a fuller sound. You can try out muting by resting your pointer on the unplayed strings just enough to silence them.

It also plays the note on the low E string, while your third finger plays the fifth note on the A string. This leaves your pinky finger alone to play the octave root note on your fourth string.

Here, your second finger has to bear the fear of missing out (FOMO). 

Power chord notes equal the addition of A root, A octave, and E fifth.

Power Chord Pattern 3 – Barred Fingers

It uses the same quantity of notes as the last power chord pattern. By hindering your 3rd finger across the 4th and 5th string, you can play both of these two higher notes.

You will find this technique to be tricky initially. If you feel like you are struggling, you are not alone. The key is to rehearse this barring method separately.

Like other patterns in this guide, you can move your chord up and down the fretboard in order to play power chords using any preferred key.

Some tips

The key is to never practice aimlessly if you want to get better at power chords. What you can do is make the practice time more productive. 

Follow the following tips to gain a better hand at power chords.

  • Strumming

As we have explained throughout this article, you ought to play the strings you have been fretting when you play a power chord. 

Keep in mind to fret using the unused string. Simultaneously, keep on practicing and concentrating on playing the down-strums as a starter. Gradually add up-strum when you become comfortable.

  • Set Goals

To execute some fine chord changes, your primary target should be to get clean-sounding power chords. While you build up your finger strength and muscle memory, you need to stay patient and practice daily. 

  • Record Yourself

This helps you to identify sections that need improving. No matter how chaotic your chords sound, still record. 

This gives you a boost of motivation.


And that’s a wrap! Once you get the hang of the power chords, as well as their shapes, you can apply them to a ton of various music styles. Folk, blues, jazz, rock, bluegrass – no matter which genre you like, power chords can be used with it.

We hope this article helps you to learn the power chords.

You can also read: Best Ukulele Brands for Beginners

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