How to convert normal chords into power chords on guitar with free video tutorials

How to convert chords to power chords

Here’s a simple tip for a common situation. You want to beef up a chorus by playing some power chords. You only have the Acoustic player’s chord chart. It isn’t marked with power chords. D’Oh!

You’ll need to know how to convert chords to power chords. And it’s easier than you might think.

Let’s say you have a typical chord sequence: G, Em7, Cadd9, D

The acoustic player will be all over that, using open chord shapes. But you need to know which power chords to play.

You need to do two things:

  1. Strip back to the root note. In this case, that’s G, E, C, D
  2. Add ‘5’: G5, E5, C5, D5

That’s it! You can see this sequence played in this video lesson

This works for any chord, in any key. So the weird and wonderful chord A7#9add11 becomes A5.

The only tricky part happens when the root note is a sharp or flat. For example, Ab7 (‘A flat seventh’) has the root note ‘Ab’ (A flat). So its power chord would be Ab5 ( ‘A flat five’). In the same way, G#minor would become G#5.

And now … the science bit

Whilst there is much more to know on how chords are built up, this trick uses a simple fact of music theory. All typical chords are built up around a power chord! Take a closer look at a G7 (‘G seventh’) chord. It’s made up of notes G, B, D and F. Compare this to the power chord of G5. This contains just the two notes G and D.  The G7 is simply a G5 with the notes B and D added in, to give the chord extra colour. But just as easily, we can strip those notes back out to get the equivalent power chord.

Free Power Chords Video Tutorials

Click the lesson links for video tutorials on power chords: Shapes, common patterns, how to palm mute and stop. With backing tracks to play along to!

Next Steps

Power chords might be all you need for some worship like Hillsong United, Lincoln Brewster or !Audacious here in Manchester UK.

But for anything a little more, well gentle, you’ll need a different approach.

Take a look at the Learn Rock Worship Guitar Ultimate Guide to Modern Worship Chords for 30 essential sparkly chords!