The Power of Power Chords

What is a power chord? It’s simply a ‘guitar-slang’ term for a 2 or 3 note chord using the 1st, the 5th, and sometimes the 8th of the scale. Power chords are fairly easy to learn and can be used to play hundreds and hundreds of songs in your guitar lessons. Just to name a few songs that use power chords:

  • “Back in Black” by AC/DC
  • “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones
  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
  • Every single song ever released by Blink-182
  • “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
  • “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin
  • “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple
  • “My Generation” by The Who
  • “Closing Time” by Semisonic
  • “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream

And the list doesn’t end there. Chances are if you hear a song with a guitar part, there’s a power chord somewhere in it. This is especially true in all kinds of rock and pop genres. Most songs can also be simplified with power chords if you’re not comfortable with all of your chords yet. For example, if there’s a song you really want to learn but it has a chord or two you’re not familiar with, figure out how to play the equivalent power chord and play that instead. Since a power chord does not contain the 3rd, we can use a power chord over top of both major and minor chords. Power chords provide us with an easier alternative for many chords. And in some cases, power chords sound much better than a full open or barre chord depending on the style and genre of the music we’re playing. Power chords come very easily for some in their guitar lessons, while for others they may take a while to master. Wherever you fall in between these two extremes, know that power chords are not going anywhere and are very important to learn in your guitar lessons if you really plan to play guitar.