How to Play Power Chords (Beginner Guitar Lesson)

Home Free Lessons 2 chord guitar songs How to Play Power Chords (Beginner Guitar Lesson)
Published on September 13, 2019

In this beginner guitar lesson I explain what power chords are, how to play power chords,  and how to make them sound awesome through using muting techniques!

Introduction to power chords on guitar

Power chords are a staple in rock music and are used to create a strong and driving sound. They are an essential part of the electric guitar’s vocabulary, and many popular songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s rely heavily on power chords. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to playing power chords on the guitar and explore the various forms, techniques, and examples of power chords in rock music.

What are Power Chords?

Power chords are simplified chords that consist of only two notes: the root note and the fifth. This simple structure gives power chords their distinctive sound and makes them easy to play on the guitar. There are several different forms of power chords, including root 5, root 6, and root 6/9, and they can be played in any key.

How to Play Power Chords on the Guitar

Playing power chords on the guitar is easy. The basic structure of a power chord involves placing two fingers on consecutive frets and strumming the strings. The placement of the fingers and the strumming techniques can vary, and players can experiment with different variations to find the sound that they prefer.

Examples of Power Chords in Rock Music

Power chords are a ubiquitous feature in rock music and are used to create a powerful and driving sound. Some of the most famous songs that rely heavily on power chords include “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks, and “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.

Enhancing Your Power Chord Skills

To enhance your power chord skills, you can start by adding to the basic structure of the chord. This could include incorporating other guitar techniques, such as palm-muted strumming, slides, and bends. Improvisation and experimentation are also important, and players should explore different chord combinations and strumming patterns to create unique and interesting sounds.

Getting the Hang of Playing Power Chords with These Simple Exercises

Ready to rock out with power chords? Learn how to play them with easy exercises and quick tips from this comprehensive guide!

Power chords are essential for any aspiring electric guitar player! Learn how to play these simple yet powerful chords by following this comprehensive guide. We’ll provide exercises and tips to help you master the art of power chord playing and rock out like a pro.

Start with Basic Chord Progressions.

Before diving into power chord progressions, it’s important to get comfortable with the basics. Start off by learning the basic chords that make up a progression. Try practicing slow, steady strums and play through different numerical patterns. This will help you develop your coordination and overall technique while building the foundation for playing power chords.

Practice Movable Power Chords.

When playing power chords, it is helpful to practice movable power chords to get used to the shape of the strings when forming the chords. With movable power chords, you can slide the chord shape up and down on your guitar. This allows for more versatility when playing, as you don’t have to be stuck in one key or scale. Move between a few different keys or transitions to help build consistency and familiarity with how the notes fit together and sound.

Play Through a Variety of Scales and Keys.

To really get the hang of playing power chords, play through a variety of scales and keys. Every key has different notes that are important for making distinct chord shapes. Exercising your guitar skills by transitioning between multiple keys can help build familiarity and make the process easier. Play through some basic major, minor, and seventh scale patterns to get started on building a great foundation.

Experiment with Different Modulations.

Experimenting is the key to being able to use power chords effectively in your songs. Try transitioning between keys within a progression, or try different combinations of notes and chord voicings. You can even move from modal progressions to standard progressions or vice versa. With all these options at your disposal, you should be able to come up with some interesting progressions that will sound great with power chords.

Incorporate Palm Muting Into Practice Sessions.

Palm muting is an essential technique for playing power chords. To practice it, rest your pick hand lightly against the strings near the bridge and make sure your fingers are muted any time you pluck or strum. This creates a muffled effect that works especially well when it’s used in combination with power chords. Experiment with different levels of palm muting to vary the intensity of your sound. Try rhythmic patterns such as eighth notes and syncopated riffs in this approach, too!


In conclusion, power chords are an essential part of the electric guitar’s vocabulary, and they are an integral part of rock music. By understanding the different forms, techniques, and examples of power chords, players can enhance their skills and create powerful and driving sounds on the guitar.


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At the start of the video I cover some music theory about what power chords are and how they are composed, but if you just want to get straight to playing them that is totally fine and you can just memorize the shapes and come back to the theory behind them later if it ever interests you! Just wanted to give some background information on where these chords come from so it doesn’t seem mysterious 🙂

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