ELECTRIC BEGINNERS

Welcome to our first rhythm and chord based rock course! In this course, we will be taking a step away from the open chords and venturing further up the neck by learning power chords! Powerchords are the foundation of thousands of rock songs, and in this course you will learn how to play them in two places and how to play two really cool rock riffs using them. In the spirit of Spinal Tap, get your amp out, plug your axe in, and turn it up to 11!

Summary: Powerchords

It’s time to take a big step into rock, pop and punk guitar by learning our first powerchord shape. These chord shapes will take you out of the open position chords and open up a new world of guitar songs, so let’s get learning! We will begin by learning the two fingered versions of E string powerchord. Here is the 'A powerchord':

Materials: Moving the shape

The great thing about this shape is that you can move it up and down the fretbaord to get different powerchords. All you need to know are the notes on the E string. Here is an example of 5 different powerchords, reached by just moving the shape up and down the neck. Take note that powerchords on a chord chart are simply written 'A5' or 'B5' for example.

TUTORIAL: Riff 1

Summary: Riff 1

We will now put our new powerchord shape into practice with this cool riff! First things first, let's take a look at the chords we are using in the tune:

Materials: Riff 1 tab

It is your task to get this riff played up to speed, but it will take a lot of practice to get it there! Use the tab below to play along with the riff and gradually get it up to speed.

Audio: riff 1 Audio

Just as with the tab above, you can also find the audio tracks here to play along to. These are all at full speed so make sure you have practised with the tab version before trying these. Good luck!

Summary: A string powerchords

Next up, we will look at the A string shape for the powerchords. The shape is exactly the same as the first one, with the only difference being that it starts on the A string. This means that you need to be careful and block the low E string with the top of your first finger to stop it ringing out. Here is the chord shape:

Materials: Moving the shape

The great thing about this shape is that you can move it up and down the fretboard to get different powerchords. All you need to know are the notes on the A string. Here is an example of 5 different powerchords, created by just moving the shape up and down the neck.

TUTORIAL: Riff 2

Summary: The verse

The first thing we will look at is the verse part of the riff. The verse uses the following chords in the order shown in the chord chart:

  • Verse
  • E5 /// E5 /// E5 /// E5 / B5 / D5 /// D5 /// D5 /// D5 / B5 /
  • E5 /// E5 /// E5 /// E5 / B5 / D5 /// D5 /// D5 /// D5 / B5 /

Materials: The verse tab

When playing rock or punk music, you tend to find that you are doing a lot of down strokes! This track is no exception as you are playing all downstrokes in your rhythm pattern. Take a look at the verse part of the tab below to learn exactly how to play through it.

Summary: The chorus

In the chorus, we are using even more powerchord shapes, plus one very cool major chord shape. We also loose the muted notes and just go for all-out thrashing at powerchords. Here are the chords and the full chord chart which you can now go through:

  • Verse One
  • E5 /// E5 /// E5 /// E5 / B5 / D5 /// D5 /// D5 /// D5 / B5 /
  • E5 /// E5 /// E5 /// E5 / B5 / D5 /// D5 /// D5 /// D5 / B5 /
  • Chorus One
  • E5 /// D5 /// A /// A5 / B5 / E5 /// D5 /// A /// A5 / B5 /
  • E5 /// D5 /// A /// A5 / B5 / E5 /// D5 /// A /// A5 / B5 /
  • Repeat Verse & Chorus 4 times

Materials: riff tab

Below is a link to the full chord chart / tab of the song. You can now piece the entire song together! Take advantage of the slow down and looper feature to make sure you get these parts correct.

Audio: song Audio

Just as with the tab above, you can also find the audio tracks here to play along to. These are all at full speed so make sure you have practiced with the tab version before trying these. Good luck!

Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Turn It Up To 11! Part 2

We begin by looking at palm muting, then we expand our powerchords and finally put it all into practice by learning a full Green Day style song! This course is great fun and will get your powerchords up to scratch in no time.