This is an exciting lesson because we are going to be learning power chords. Power chords can be one of the guitarists best friends. They are used a lot in all kinds of rock, pop, metal, and country music. First, we will learn how power chords are made and then we will learn how to play them. Once you have the shape for your power chords down we will apply them to a song.
The formula for a power chord is root and 5th. With that in mind, let’s make a G power chord. The notes in the G major scale are G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#. If you want to make a G power chord just use the G note as the root and the 5th note in the G major scale for the 5th of the power chord. The 5th note of a G major scale is D so the two notes in a G power chord would be G and D.
Now we will learn the shape for power chords. Let’s stick with a G power chord for now. Play the G note on the 3rd fret of the 6th string with your 1st finger. Now go up two frets and over one string to play the 5th fret of the 5th string with your 3rd finger. That is a D note. Now you have a G and a D. G is the root and D is the 5th. That fits the formula for a power chord. Whenever you want to make a power chord just remember pick a note to play with your 1st finger on 6th, 5th or 4th. Once you have that root note, go up two frets and over 1string to play the 5th of the root with your 3rd finger. That will complete your power chord.
The song “Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty is a great example of what you can do with a few simple power chords. This song is in the key of E major and we have provided you with the notation and tab for the verse.
Let’s look at the power chords that you will be using to play this song. Put your 1st finger on the 4th fret of the 5th string and your 3rd finger on the 6th fret of the 4th string. This is a C# power chord. The next power chord is a B power chord. Play a B power chord by placing your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string and your 3rd finger on the 4th fret of the 4th string.
The E and A power chords that that we will be using both have an open string in them. Play the open low E string along with a B note with your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string. Lastly, grab an A power chord by playing the open A string and the 2nd fret of the 4th string with your 1st finger.
The rhythm for this song is just straight eighth notes using all downstrokes the entire time. All of the notes are palm muted as well. Have fun with this song and move your power chords around and experiment with them as much as you like.