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Easy Power Chord Song

Gary Heimbauer

Power chords are an essential element of the rock genre and sound, and in this blog post, we'll guide you through three fundamental and easy to play, two-note open position power chords: A, D, and E. Once you've mastered these chords, we'll show you how to combine them into a rocking sequence and then find the right tone to really dial in that rock sound. These three power chords are the basis of 100s of classic songs by bands such as AC/DC and Black Sabbath.

Before we dive in, you might be wondering, “What is a Power Chord?” A power chord is a two note chord that is neither major or minor. It contains a root note and the note that is a fifth above that root note. For instance, if it’s an A power chord, the note A is the root note, and if you follow the alphabet up five notes, the fifth is the note E. When we combine A and E, we have an A power chord! Let’s start there:


1. A Power Chord (Two-note Open Position)

Let's start with the A power chord. To play this chord, you’ll combine the open A string, or string 5 counting toes to nose, and the second fret of the fourth (D) string which you’ll fret with your index finger. Strum these two strings together, and you've got the raw power of an A power chord. You can slightly angle your index finger so that it mutes strings 1,2 and 3, allowing you to strum more freely without worrying about hitting other strings.


2. D Power Chord (Two-note Open Position)

Next up, let's move on to the D power chord. Simply move your index finger down 1 string, so that it’s fretting the second fret of string 3, or the G string. To play this chord, you’ll combine the open 4th string (D) with the fretted note.


3. E Power Chord (Two-note Open Position)

Lastly, let's tackle the E power chord. For this one, just move your index finger up two strings so that it’s fretting the 2nd fret of string 5 (A), counting toes to nose!  To play this chord, you’ll combine the open 6th string (E), with the fretted note.


Combining the Chords into a Rocking Sequence

To get into the rock groove, let's combine these three power chords into a classic progression. Follow this pattern:

A Power Chord (2 beats) → D Power Chord (2 beats) → E Power Chord (4 beats)

Repeat this sequence several times, and see if you can gradually increase the speed. Try using all down strums. You'll notice how the chords create an electrifying momentum that's a trademark of rock music.


Adding Distortion for a Fierce Rock Sound

Now, it's time to elevate your playing to a whole new level by adding some distortion. Distortion is an effect that sends the sound into overdrive and beyond, giving it a rough, aggressive edge. To achieve this, you can use a distortion pedal or the distortion channel on your amplifier (if it has one)! You might also experiment with the sound of your bridge pickup vs. the neck pickup. Typically, the bridge pickup will give you a more classic rock sound. 


At this point you probably are hearing a sound reminiscent of many great rock songs. Try combining these chords in different orders, changing the rhythm and changing the tempo. You can use these three power chords to create your own song and become the ultimate rock guitarist you aspire to be. Keep rocking on!

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