Many popular rock songs use power chords extensively. David explains how power chords are formed and provides you with their basic fretboard shapes.
Taught by David MacKenzie in Basic Electric Guitar seriesLength: 10:12Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
The E5 Chord
The first power chord presented in the lesson is E5. Simply place your first finger on the 2nd fret of the A string and play the open E (6th) string. Strum only these two notes. Do not accidentally hit any of the other strings. Notice that this is the E5 chord, and the first note we play is the open E string.
The A5 Chord
The second chord Dave demonstrates is the A5 power chord. The visual fretboard shape of this chord is quite similar to E5. Take your first finger and place it on the 2nd fret of the D string (or 4th string). This power chord only uses two strings - the open A and the 2nd fret on the D string. Simply strum these two notes. Notice the rich, powerful sound that comes out of your guitar with the distortion cranked up.
Practice playing this chord until you have the position memorized before moving on.
The D5 Chord
Up next is the D5 chord. As Dave explains, this chord is fingered by moving your finger down to the second fret of the G string. This leaves the D string open. Play only the G and D strings and these two notes will give you a D5 power chord.
Are you noticing a pattern yet? We are simply going down the neck of the guitar each time. The open string note names the power chord.
The G5 Chord
The G5 power chord is a bit different from the others. Instead of placing your finger on the 2nd fret, you will place it on the 3rd. This chord is fingered by playing the open G String (names the chord) and the D note located at the 3rd fret of the B string. The next chord will move back to the second fret, so remember, G5 on the 3rd fret, the rest on the second.
The B5 Chord
One of the last power chords for today's lesson is B5. To play B5, simply finger the 2nd fret of the high E, or first string and play the open B string.
The chords that were taught above are frequently referred to as "open" power chords since they each contain an open string. They are not necessarily used as much as the closed position power chord, which is discussed next. However, they are very useful to know and easy to play.Closed Position Chords
The closed position power chord is called "closed position" because it does not use any open strings. The major advantage of using a closed position power chord is that it can be moved up and down the entire fretboard. For instance, the G5 closed position power chord starts on the 3rd fret. If you move it up to the fourth fret, you now have a G#5 Power chord.
The G5 Power Chord
This is the G5 power chord. As you can see, it is played in a closed position, because it uses no open strings. To play this chord, simply place your first finger on the 3rd fret of the low E or 6th string, and place your thirdrd finger on the 5th fret of the A (5th) string. Play the two strings that you have fretted. As mentioned above, this chord can be moved up and down the neck, with each fret creating a new power chord. Try experimenting with this concept. Move the chord shape to the 8th fret, the 6th, then up to the 12th and see how things sound. This demonstrates the power of closed shapes, and why they are used so often.
This has been a very short lesson that contains much information. Do not worry if you do not yet fully understand what a power chord is, or how it is used. Simply play around with the chord shapes in this lesson and have some fun. See how things sound and feel. Playing around on your guitar is just as important as learning and playing exercises. David will explain more about what chords are in future lessons. He covers how they can be used in a practical musical context.
In his Phase 1 series, David MacKenzie will walk you through the basics of rock guitar.
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About David MacKenzie
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Dave MacKenzie has been playing guitar for 30 of his 45 years on this earth. Starting back when he was 14 years old, Dave picked up the guitar and started to learn from his oldest brother, who had played some guitar as well. Dave was hooked, and couldn't learn fast enough! Everything from the Beatles, Chicago, Ted Nugent, The Eagles, you name it, Dave was trying to play it.
Then as with a lot of players out there, Eddie Van Halen came along and changed the way guitar was played! Dave has been influenced by anyone he has heard play guitar, literally! Always keeping an open mind and a humbleness about him has helped him to keep learning new things on, and about the guitar.
Dave has mostly played in top 40 rock, country, and pop bands. He is most recently playing guitar and keyboards in a 80's metal band called Open Fire. They have opened for Warrant, Firehouse, Winger, and LA Guns within the 3 and a half years they have been together, and are now jumping into original music.
Dave believes you should have internal motivation, and passion to play guitar, and most definitely, it should be fun!
As with his playing, Dave will find new ways to show you how to get the most out of your time learning guitar!
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