The Power Chord Shape

First let's check out how to get our fingers in position for the two-note power chord. First place your index finger in the 3rd fret of the low E-string. The only other note we'll need is in the 5th fret of the A-string. It would be most correct to play this with your ring finger. But since we're just starting out with these, you're welcome to use your pinky instead if that's easier. It is for me.

This is a two-note power chord. It's called a power chord because it doesn't have a strong mood like our happy major chords and sad minor chords. This one is very neutral sounding and works really well with aggressive rock guitar tones.

You probably notice that we're not using any open strings, which means we can move this around all over the neck. Just make sure you keep a fret in between the two notes. Once you move it around you may get the sound of the open strings above the fretted notes. To fix that, we'll have to break the rule about fretting with the very tip of your index finger. Instead we'll try to fret with part of the index finger instead of the fingertip. When you get this right, you'll feel how your index finger naturally rests on and mutes the higher strings. It doesn't have to mute all the strings necessarily; just the ones that are closest to the fretted notes.

Instructor Anders Mouridsen
Tutorial:
Power Chords
Styles:
Any Style
Difficulty:
The Power Chord Shape song notation

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Questions & Answers

2 weeks ago
Hello! This is great stuff! I am getting way better at timing, which I've never really worked on, so my timing was horrible. I've been counting along with the songs and strumming but I find myself getting lost in the count and not knowing which bar I'm on. Are there any tips for counting or keeping track of the bars while counting the rhythm? Thank you! LoC
Mike Olekshy 4 days ago

Hello, and thanks so much for your question! Here are a few tips - slow down the tempo when you practice. This will make it easier for you to execute your strums smoothly, but also make it easier to count along. Another idea is to tap your foot along with the beat so that your strum locks in to the rhythm a little easier so you focus on counting a little easier. Hope these help!

1 month ago
Hi! Thanks for the great lessons. I have trouble getting my finger to lay across the open strings. My finger are long! How important is this? Do you have tips?
Mike Olekshy 3 weeks ago

Hello and thanks for the question! It can be tricky at first to position the index finger as Anders instructs in the lesson. You can use your finger tips if you focus on only strumming the 2 fretted strings of the power chord. only. Anders is showing you a way to mute the other open strings if you happen to strum all the strings, but it's not an issue if you only strum the fretted strings. Don't worry about it too much if it's too difficult right now!

2 months ago
Hi, I'm finding that I get a better result if I don't barre my index finger for power chords, is that okay? I'm not hitting the D at all and I get a clearer tone. Thank you!
Mike Olekshy 4 weeks ago

Hello - thanks so much for your question! Yes, that is totally okay!! Go with whatever is working for you!