Most basic chords contain three notes, but you can also get by with only 2. Power chords are simplified chords that omit one note. The missing note determines whether a chord is Major or Minor so removing it gives us a shape that can function as either one. These Power chords are designated as C5, E5, G5, etc. This reminds you to play only the root and 5th of the chord.

Let’s try one. Put your index finger on the 6th string 5th fret. Now put your ring finger on the 5th string 7th fret.

The index finger is the one that names the chord. Since it is currently on an A, we would call this an A power chord or an A5. Try moving this shape up one fret. We now have an A# or Bb power chord (A#5 or Bb5). Remember that the Power chord is just another movable shape. We can start this shape on all 12 notes, so there will be a total of 12 Power chords available.

Keep moving this shape up the neck one fret at a time and name each chord. If you’re having trouble keeping the shape together, the trick is to imagine that your fingers are frozen in place. Then move your hand up and down the neck.

Here are some examples showing how power chords are used +++++++++++++++++++++

We can also play power chords off the A string. Just remember that our root/tonic is now on the 5th string. Whatever note your index finger is on names the chord. +++++demo and graphic

You can also play power chords off of the D and B string, follow the instructions above. The power chord shape won’t work based off the G string.