What is a guitar power chord? How to play power chord riffs and progressions

Beginner guitar: How to play powerchord riffs
(Image credit: Future)

“Obvious question. What’s a powerchord?”

Powerchords are slightly different to the major and minor chords you already know. Hopefully you remember that major chords have a bright, happy sound and minor chords sound dark and sad. Well, by leaving out the most colourful notes, powerchords have a more solid, neutral sound. Perfect for rock and metal, then!

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Chris Bird

Chris has been the Editor of Total Guitar magazine since 2020. Prior to that, he was at the helm of Total Guitar's world-class tab and tuition section for 12 years. He's a former guitar teacher with 35 years playing experience and he holds a degree in Philosophy & Popular Music. Chris has interviewed Brian May three times, Jimmy Page once, and Mark Knopfler zero times – something he desperately hopes to rectify as soon as possible.