When someone begins learning how to play their first chords on the guitar they almost always start with the "basic" chords...
You know the G, Am, C, Em, D, F etc etc.
There's a few problems that come from this approach and it actually SLOWS down your progress.
Each chord has its OWN fingers which means remembering your chords will take a lot of practice
Because each chord has his own fingerings you will have to develop the strength and coordination for each chord AND be able to make it ring out nicely, AND make smooth transitions to other chords
Determining which of all the chords you do first... Yes some, are way harder than others...
All of these problems of course cause confusion, slow progress, frustration, and unfortunately the result is players don't make the progress they want and some actually quit thinking they didn't have "natural talent" or it just wasn't "their thing."
But what if there was another way (a better way) to learn your first chords that would require WAY LESS work get you playing col songs faster, AND prepare you for faster results in the future?
Sounds pretty cool right?
Well, keep reading because below I am going to show you just how you can do this and why learning POWER CHORDS are WAY better to learn in the beginning..
Before I get into my 3 Reasons let me first briefly explain what a POWER CHORD is.
A POWER CHORD is simply a chord that sounds POWERFUL. It's technical name is a 5th chord hence, why when it's written it has the number 5 in its name. e.g. A5, E5, C#5 etc. "Power chords" is simply a slang term.
Ok lets go!
They are EASY!
To play a Power chord you only need 2 fingers and there is only 1 shape! Yes you heard that right! ONE SHAPE. If you can do one you can do ALL OF THEM!
Unlike open chords where each chord requires different fingerings and coordination, with power chords you don't have to spend a lot of time remembering the fingerings and building coordination when you really just want to PLAY!!
PRO TIP - Make sure your thumb of your fret hand is is splitting the difference with the fingers. If not, your fingers won't be able to STRETCH to do it.
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Just think how much faster you will be up playing your favorite songs if you only had to develop the coordination for ONE SHAPE!
Because all the power chords are the same "shape" you can then play ANY power chord!
G5, G#5, A5 - it's all the same fingerings!!
All you do is make the "shape" with your fingers and then SLIDE it up (or down) the strings!|
P.S You can also do this same shape on OTHER Strings!! Just make sure you don't play any of the strings indicated by the X in the diagram)
One of the critical elements that separates beginners from early intermediate players can be summed up with "yea, but can you play BAR CHORDS?"
A lot of guitar players struggle for months or even years to play bar chords and there is no reason YOU need to do this.
The secret is simply to learn POWER CHORDS FIRST because the "shape" your fingers make when you play a power chord is the BACKBONE of the shape of a BAR CHORD!
Check out the diagrams below...
E Shape Bar Chord
Em Shape Bar Chord
Am Shape Bar Chord
A Shape Bar Chord
So what happens is if you get good NOW at playing your powerchords when you want to LEVEL UP and play BAR CHORDS it is the most logical next step as your fingers have been PREPARED to do this!
So instead of learning open chords and struggling for months on end to get them down only to then try to play bar chords and find out that you have to literally start from scratch because your coordination wasn't prepared to do this you will be able to get your power chords down in a week or 2 and then when its time to play bar chords it will be
This is what I mean when I talk about practicing in a way that gets you results NOW but also doing things in a way that will make getting better in the future EASIER Too!
Q) So does this mean you shouldn't learn open chords?
A) No of course not. If you learn power chords first, you can develop coordination, have fun and then when you try to play open chords you will already have a foundation for coordination - also making them easier.
Power chords are the bread and butter of rock and roll and heavy metal music...
I should have just said this and ended…
This sounds really cool and all but..... what if the song I want to play uses an Am? Or a Bm7, or a D7?
Stay tuned because in the next article I am going to show you EXACLY how to handle this.