Let’s get one thing straight, mastering the guitar is a lifelong challenge. There’s an endless array of scales to discover, songs to learn, and skills to master, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rock hard on the guitar in five minutes or less if you learn a few tricks.
In this easy guitar lesson for beginners, you’ll learn three open string power chords used by rock guitar legends like ACDC, Metallica, and Led Zeppelin.
Set Up Your Amp to ‘Rock’
Since you’ll be playing open power chords, you’ll want to dial in the perfect rock guitar tone. Crank up the gain or drive on your guitar for that classic overdriven sound. In addition, you can add a touch of delay if your amp includes it.
What’s a Power Chord?
Anytime you see a ‘5’ next to a note name, that’s a power chord. Since power chords are built from the first and fifth scale degrees, they’re neither minor nor major since major and minor tonalities are determined by the third degree of any scale.
That makes power chords the ultimate lazy man’s guitar chord grip because you can replace any major or minor chord with a power chord. If you’re familiar with Pareto’s Principal or you read my previous article 80/20 Guitar Part One: Minimal Practice for Maximum Results, you’ll understand the full ramifications of that statement.
What’s an Open String Power Chord?
That’s easy. Open string power chords use open guitar strings! That’s good news because you can learn to play them in five minutes or less with just one finger! Awesome, right?
Three Open String Power Chords on Guitar
Perhaps no other chord progressions capture the rage and fury of rock guitar like E5, D5, & A5. When you play open string power chords (or any other power chord for that matter), don’t play the open strings because it will sound terrible. That’s what the ‘X’s’ are indicating on the fretboard diagrams.
E5 A5 D5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Parham is the founder of the Rock Dojo in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches hundreds of kids between the ages of 6 and 12 years-old to play, perform, and compose their own original music on the guitar in after-school group guitar lessons. He’s also the author of three guitar method books including Guitar for Kids: Rock Dojo The Complete Belt System.