Watch the Use Power Chords online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Acoustic Rhythm Survival Guide
Power chords are used often in rock music, but you can incorporate them anywhere to bring a very rhythmic, staccato sound into your accompaniment or if you want a very 'open', neutral sound (remember, there are no 3rds or color tones – only roots and 5ths).
Play only the root and 5th, or if you want, the root, 5th and octave, as shown in the video. The sound gets a little 'thicker' with more notes. Because you're only playing roots and 5ths, you can play power chords in the place of any major or minor chords.
Note: Try muting the strings with the palm of your right hand to get a 'tighter' sound.
Follow the accents along with me on the video – and then play around with placing accents on different notes. This will change the feel of the song.
Feeling brave?? Try putting a real twist on things and play power chords using the 5/4 and 7/4 'Ga-Ma-La-Ta-Ki-Ta-Ki' syllables we learned in Technique #1 (Time Signatures)!