Guitar Chords - Power Chords or Fifth Chords

Power chords, also known as root-fifth or fifth chords, are played by using the first, fifth and often the octave notes of the major scale. A power chord can be moved up and down the neck of the guitar making it a very versatile guitar chord. Power chords do not use the 3rd note of the scale in the chord, so it is neither a major nor minor chord.

Power chords are frequently used in a variety of rock styles like metal, alternative, punk and other heavier sounding music genres that use more overdrive or distortion in their guitar tone.


The diagrams below are power chord forms with the root note on the 6th, 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings.

power chord on 6th string power chord on 5th string power chord on 4th string power chord on 3rd string

Power Chord Guitar Tabs

Power Chords are sometimes labeled by their root note with the number 5 to identify them: C5, D5, etc. The power chords below will show you how to play a chord progression using power chords on the 5th and 6th guitar strings.

How to Read Guitar Tabs

     D5             C5            G5                            
e||--------------|--------------|--------------|--------------||
B||--------------|--------------|--------------|--------------||
G||--7--7--7--7--|--5--5--5--5--|--------------|--------------||
D||--7--7--7--7--|--5--5--5--5--|--5--5--5--5--|--5--5--5--5--||
A||--5--5--5--5--|--3--3--3--3--|--5--5--5--5--|--5--5--5--5--||
E||--------------|--------------|--3--3--3--3--|--3--3--3--3--||
						

Some power chords can be played using an open string such as the A5 power chord and the D5 power chord used in the guitar tab below:

     A5                   D5 C5    A5                   D5 C5   
e||-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
B||-----------------------3-----|-----------------------3-----||
G||--2--2---2--2----2--2--2--5--|--2--2---2--2----2--2--2--5--||
D||--2--2---2--2----2--2--0--5--|--2--2---2--2----2--2--0--5--||
A||--0--0---0--0----0--0-----3--|--0--0---0--0----0--0-----3--||
E||-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
						

You can also play the guitar tab above this way:

    A5                    D5 C5    A5                    D5 C5    
e||------------------------------|------------------------------||
B||------------------------------|------------------------------||
G||--2--2----2--2----2--2--7--5--|--2--2----2--2----2--2--7--5--||
D||--2--2----2--2----2--2--7--5--|--2--2----2--2----2--2--7--5--||
A||--0--0----0--0----0--0--5--3--|--0--0----0--0----0--0--5--3--||
E||------------------------------|------------------------------||
						

Power Chords with root notes on the G or 3rd string and the D or 4th string:

     C5             G5             F5                           
e||--8--8--8--8--|--------------|--------------|--------------||
B||--8--8--8--8--|--8--8--8--8--|--6--6--6--6--|--6--6--6--6--||
G||--5--5--5--5--|--7--7--7--7--|--5--5--5--5--|--5--5--5--5--||
D||--------------|--5--5--5--5--|--3--3--3--3--|--3--3--3--3--||
A||--------------|--------------|--------------|--------------||
E||--------------|--------------|--------------|--------------||