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This lesson is in standard tuning (EADGBE) and has not been pitch altered!

Introduction

Movable power chords are a versatile and essential tool for guitarists, providing a powerful sound that is widely used in rock, punk, and metal music. This lesson will guide you through the steps to play two-string power chords with the root note on the E string. By learning these chords, you will be able to move them up and down the neck to play various chords without changing the finger shape.

The Formula of the Power Chord

Power chords are made up of two notes: the root (R) and the perfect fifth (5). Unlike major or minor chords, power chords do not include the major third (3) or minor third (b3), giving them a neutral sound that can fit into various musical contexts.

  • Root (R): This is the note that gives the power chord its name. For example, in an E5 chord, the root is E.
  • Perfect Fifth (5): This note is seven semitones above the root note. For example, in an E5 chord, the perfect fifth is B.

How to Play Movable Power Chords

Playing a movable power chord involves placing two fingers on the fretboard. Here are the detailed steps:

  1. Find the Root Note on the E String: Start by identifying the root note on the low E string. For example, if you want to play a G5 power chord, find the G note on the E string, which is on the third fret.
  2. Place Your Index Finger (1st Finger): Place your index finger on the root note on the low E string. For a G5 power chord, place your index finger on the third fret of the E string (G note).
  3. Place Your Ring Finger (3rd Finger): Place your ring finger on the fifth fret of the A string. This note is the perfect fifth (5) of the root note. For a G5 power chord, this note is D.

Example of Movable Power Chords

Here are a few examples of movable power chords with the root note on the E string:

  • E5 Power Chord:
  • Root (R): Open E string
  • Perfect Fifth (5): Second fret of the A string (B note)
  • G5 Power Chord:
  • Root (R): Third fret of the E string (G note)
  • Perfect Fifth (5): Fifth fret of the A string (D note)
  • A5 Power Chord:
  • Root (R): Fifth fret of the E string (A note)
  • Perfect Fifth (5): Seventh fret of the A string (E note)
  • B5 Power Chord:
  • Root (R): Seventh fret of the E string (B note)
  • Perfect Fifth (5): Ninth fret of the A string (F# note)

Putting It All Together

When you play a power chord, you should hear a strong, focused sound composed of the root and perfect fifth notes. Here’s a quick summary of the finger placements and notes:

  • Index Finger (1st Finger): On the root note of the low E string.
  • Ring Finger (3rd Finger): On the perfect fifth note of the A string, two frets higher and one string down from the root note.

Tips for Playing Movable Power Chords

  1. Proper Finger Placement: Ensure your fingers are positioned just behind the frets, not directly on them, to produce a clean sound.
  2. Finger Pressure: Apply adequate pressure to the strings to avoid any buzzing. Too little pressure will result in muted notes.
  3. Muting Unused Strings: Use the tip of your index finger to lightly touch the low E string above the root note to mute it, preventing any unwanted noise. Your index finger can also lightly touch the D string to mute it.
  4. Strumming Technique: Strum only the E and A strings, ensuring that the root and perfect fifth notes ring out clearly.

Practice Exercises

  1. Slow Strumming: Strum the chord slowly, ensuring each note rings clearly. Listen for the balance of each note within the chord.
  2. Arpeggios: Pick each string individually to confirm that each note is sounding properly. This helps in identifying and correcting any muted or buzzing strings.
  3. Chord Changes: Practice transitioning between different power chords (e.g., E5 to G5, G5 to A5) to develop smooth and quick changes.

Conclusion

By following these instructions and practicing regularly, you’ll master movable power chords with the root note on the E string, establishing a strong foundation for your guitar playing journey. These chords are versatile and widely used, making them an essential part of your guitar repertoire. Keep practicing, and you’ll be ready to incorporate these power chords into your playing and songs in no time.

This lesson is from the Technical Certificate: Level 1 course at Simply Guitar

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