Want to sound good right off with that brand new guitar you just got? The quickest way to sound good, when you are just starting out on an electric guitar, is with two not power chords. They are the easiest chords to play, and only require two fingers - that's it. I will also cover the three note power chords, which sound a little fuller, but are slightly harder to play if your just starting out then the two note version. Some punk bands have had entire albums done using nothing more then these simply chords, and with just a little practice, you will soon be rocking out and impressing your friends with your new learned skills.
Pick out a few of these power chords below and practice strumming them. If possible, add some distortion to your amp. You can just hear the power behind each power chord
The root notes are found along the low E thick string. As you can see, the shape of the power chord maintains the exact same shape no matter where you play it, the shape is moveable. There will always be one blank fret between the two notes you are fretting. From the 12th fret on everything repeats itself an octave higher.
Now your root notes fall on the A string. When you play these, palm mute at the bridge lightly with the side of your hand. It will lend a chunky sound to the power chords.
Now look at the three note power chords below and give these a try. They have a fuller sound to them.
I only gave a few examples, but by now you know that the shape is moveable, and you can slide these up and down the neck just as you can with the two note power chords.
Now look over the power chord examples below and try some of these out. Back in the 60's and 70's guitar players developed a little trick to make it sound as though they were playing more chords then they really were. They added an extension onto the power chords. It spices up the power chords when you through some of these extensions in here and there.
Now look over the tab below and try sliding into your power chords. Punk bands make good use of this technique.
Try this slide out on other power chords on different frets. Try sliding up to the power chord from two frets away.
Now practice adding a percussion sound to your power chords. This is done by striking muted strings, marked by an x. To mute the strings, lightly release some pressure off the strings you were muting, then reapplying the pressure again to sound the power chord.
Now examine the power chords below. These are how power chords are mainly played in many many punk bands, and to play power chords with this shape, your guitar has to be in drop D tuning. That is where you change the tuning of just one string, tuning your low E thick string from an E to a D.
As you can see, in drop D all your power chords line up in a way you can now fret the entire three note chords with one finger, doing a mini bar across the low D, A and D strings. This allows punk guitar players to fire off a rapid series of chords in a very short time as they slide that one finger up and down the guitar neck. Now you know many punk bands secret weapon, drop D tuning. But if you are not planning on doing a lot of punk stuff, I would suggest staying with standard tuning and sticking to the two note power chords to get started out on.