Power Chords – Guitar’s SIMPLEST (and MOST USEFUL) Shape!

Power Chord Diagram

Taking a look at these two diagrams, notice that you can play the power chord with just 2 fingers, or expand upon that and add your pinky JUST above your ring finger to “fatten it up.”

Power Chord on The E String with 2 Fingers
Power Chord with 3 Fingers

Players usually use the “2 finger” version for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s a bit easier and quicker to move around
  2. It sounds a bit clearer when using a lot of gain/distortion

And you may wonder how 2 notes are enough to make an entire chord. Simply put, the power chord contains the “root” and “5th” of a chord. These 2 notes provide the foundation or “skeleton” of any given chord. Power chords do not contain a “3rd” which means they are not major or minor. Thus they provide a neutral, rich and rhythmic foundation.

Power Chord Tips & Technique

  • Sit up straight, put your shoulder back, bring your elbow in
  • Place your fingers as close to the frets as possible (just like with your regular chords)
  • Pluck each string of the power chord to make sure every note sounds clean (not buzzing!)
  • Move the power chord up by 1 fret and strum it again – once again, make sure everything is ringing clearly
  • Lightly touch the top strings (the thinner strings) with the underside of your index to help mute them and avoid unwanted string noise
  • Try this ALL again, starting on the next string (A string)

Know Your Roots

Once you are comfortable with the shape itself you can move it around the fretboard. The power chord can be played with the root on the low E string OR the A string:

Root on the E string
Root on the A string

You simply line up the root (the white circle) with the appropriate note on that string, and you can play chords in ANY key!

Roots on the low E string:

Root notes on the low E string of the Guitar

Roots on the A string:

Root notes on the A string of the Guitar

Power Chord Songs

These song tutorials use power chords EXCLUSIVELY so you can get used to playing them all over the fretboard.

Scroll to Top

Did you get your copy of my FREE eBook?

Did you get your copy of my FREE eBook?