How to Play Guitar Power Chords on the 4th and 5th Strings

ezineIn an earlier article we discussed playing guitar power chords that are located on the 5th and 6th strings. Today we will apply those same concepts by learning how to play them on the 4th and 5th strings.

In case you missed the previous article, power chords on the guitar are simply two note chords based on the root note of the chord, and the "5th" interval.

So how do you figure out what the "5th" interval is? We can look at two methods for making the determination, one is easy, but the other is ridiculously simple!

In music theory, the major scale consists of 8 steps. By counting each of those steps you can determine an "interval". For example, here is the C major scale:

C D E F G A B C

Each note in this scale can be identified as an interval. The note "C" is considered the "root" note of the scale and is considered to be the first note. To determine an interval of the C major scale, just count up from there.

The second note is "D", making that the 2nd interval - the third note is "E", making E the 3rd interval - the fourth note is "F", making F the 4th interval of "C"....and so on.

So if the C power chord consists of the "root" note, C, and it's 5th interval, just count up five steps and you find that the 5th of C is "G". As a result, the C chord is made up of the notes C and G. Easy!

Now for the ridiculously simple. Keeping in mind that we are discussing playing these chords on the 4th and 5th strings, and that the root notes for these chords are always located on the lowest sounding string, which is the 5th string - we can easily figure out the 5th interval to determine any power chord by simply looking at the "pattern" of the chord.

The "pattern" for a "C" power chord played on the 4th and 5th strings would be as follows:

-------------------------------------
-------------------------------------
-------------------------------------
--------5---------------------------
--------3---------------------------
-------------------------------------

In the above example, the "root" note (C) is located on the 3rd fret of the 5th string, and the 5th interval (G) is located on the 5th fret of the 4th string.

Now, here's what makes this so simple. The "pattern" involved here is this. If you play a root note on the 5th string - then the 5th interval of that note is ALWAYS the note that is two frets up (higher) on the fret board on the 4th string.

Again, it ALWAYS works this way.

So you can now conclude that if you know the notes on the 5th string, you can easily locate and play any power chord on the 4th and 5th strings.

By the way, in case you missed the other discussion on this topic, this same "pattern" can be applied to playing power chords on the 5th and 6th strings as well.

One quick side note. If you want to really beef up the sound of a power chord played on the 4th and 5th strings, you can add the note on the 6th string that is adjacent to the root note on the 5th string. This can usually be done by using the 1st finger, which is already in place to play the root on the 5th string, and sliding it over to "barre" the notes on the 5th and 6th strings.

Using the C power chord again as an example, it would look like this:

-------------------------------------
------------------------------------
------------------------------------
-------5---------------------------
-------3----------------------------
-------3----------------------------

When you do this you are not really adding a third note to the chord. You are actually just adding the "octave" of the note on the 4th string. This a cool technique so give it a try.

If playing power chords has previously been something of a mystery to you, then things should be becoming fairly clear to you now.

You may even be amazed at how simple and easy playing power chords are!

keith01 lowKeith Dean is founder of http://www.AdultGuitarLessons.com and a 30 veteran of stage and studio. He toured extensively as a road musician throughout the US and Europe, was a former lead guitarist for Jason Aldean, and has shared stages with Little Big Town, Wild Rose, Winger, Confederate Railroad and more. He is a published songwriter, owned and operated a successful music store, and has instructed numerous students in guitar.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Keith_Dean

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