I’m guessing you’re like me:
You have a few favourite rock and metal songs… And you play them loud.
Well, power chords are more or less the core of rock and metal music.
This rather simple chord sounds so powerful, hence the name, and is capable of transforming a simple melody into a face melting riff.
But here’s the deal:
Learning how to easily play a power chord the right way is a skill that takes time to master. But it can be done, I promise.
Here I’m going to discuss how to strum and move between power chords on the guitar, and how to get started with learning this technique.
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Power Chord Grips
A power chord is nothing more than a formation where you play the root note and the fifth note of any given chord.
The reason why it has become so popular is due to how it sounds on a distorted electric guitar.
One cool thing about power chords is that you can increase their intensity with just one simple move.
Instead of playing the root and the fifth note, play the root, fifth and octave at the same time.
In other words, if you were to play a power chord on your low E string, you could play the fifth fret on that string, along with the seventh fret on the A string and seventh fret on the D string.
If we were to stick to the basic power chord, you would only play the fifth fret on the E and seventh fret on the A string.
Give it a shot.
Now, you have probably heard many rock or metal songs where you know they are playing power chords, but they are playing many different ones pretty fast.
Moving the power chord from one note to another quickly is something that takes a lot of time and practice.
Before we get into ways to increase speed, we need to address two main ways to grip the power chord:
The first one includes your index finger and your ring finger, while the other includes your pinky instead of the ring finger.
The former is the technically correct way while the latter is a variation that many have found easier to use.
Moving the power chord on the same set of strings is fairly easy.
All you are really doing is sliding the shape from one root note to another. Even so, this can take some time to master.
The key here is to go slow and pay attention to your form.
In other words, don’t sacrifice grip to gain more speed.
This leads to a messy playing technique that will come back to haunt you later on.
Instead, be patient and take things slow.
I mentioned the pinky finger technique because using this finger gives you a bit more stability when sliding the chord. Many guitar players use it every day.
But jumping strings is where things get tricky. You need to transfer the root note fairly quickly without disturbing the power chord shape.
The only way to master this is to go very slow.
It takes time, it’s frustrating, but there is really no other way.
How to Improve Your Power Chords Much FASTER
Although I mention a technique here you should definitely start practicing, there is so much more cool stuff to learn with power chords.
An article like this just touches the surface.
This is normally when I tend to recommend some guitar courses and videos if any apply.
In terms of power chords, there is a really helpful course called:
Rock Rut Busters with Emil Werstler.
This was one of JamPlay’s Live Courses, however it is now archived on their site where members can access the replay.