This week for my learning project I learned POWER CHORDS. Power chords, are chords played with only two notes (only two strings are used to play this). Their most commonly heard on electric guitars in rock songs. Some of the most legendary guitar solos have been played with the use of power chords, thus, they’ve been dubbed the back bone of Rock ‘n Roll. Below are some of the all-time great songs of Rock ‘n Roll that highlight the use of power chords. These songs include “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks, “Come On To Me” by Paul McCartney, and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benetar (Hint: all songs are linked to Apple Music).
Along with my trusty Yousician app this week, I also enlisted the help of Marty Music on YouTube. As I’ve learned previously, learning new chords is tough. They require repetition and muscle memorization. With the help of the above resources though I was able to learn the basics.
Watching Marty’s video on YouTube was very helpful. I was able to slow down the video in order to follow exactly where his fingers moved along the guitar, and follow along at my own pace. Marty is a great teacher, and has over one million subscribers on YouTube to prove it! He’s able to explain guitar theory and skills at a level even the most beginner players can follow. He also uses both acoustic and electric guitars in his video’s. This is helpful as it seems a lot of online resources are based solely around electric guitars. The sound between an acoustic and electric guitar is no where near comparable, so its nice to find learning resources compatible with my own acoustic guitar. Marty’s YouTube channel is defiantly a great resource I will continue to use and suggest to others, whether a beginner or an expert! Below is the video I used oh his lesson on power chords.
I used my Yousician app and iPhone camera this week to measure my progress. I found one of my favourite songs “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain on the app and, thought it was a perfect fit for learning power chords. Below is a video of the progress I made this week. In the bottom left corner I overlaid my yousician app, displaying the notes played and whether I hit those notes correctly or incorrectly.
My progress was marginal this week. I was a tad bit too eager at the beginning of the week and, managed to give myself a blister on my strumming hand. It turns out strumming power chords requires a lot more force than I expected. I was forced to take a dew days off to let it heal but, I was still able to hit my practice goal of three hours a week. Some progress is better than no progress!
Next week I’m in full blown midterm mode, A.K.A I will basically be completing life’s bare necessity tasks of eating, sleeping, and studying. This tight schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for practicing guitar. Thus, I’m seriously considering dedicating a week of my learning project to the important major motion picture School of Rock and its relevance to standardization in school systems and cultural effect on young musicians, particularly guitar players. Not sure how my awesome EDTC-300 instructor, Katia Hildebrandt would feel about this, but I think it has the potential to be a very educational theory project. On second thought maybe ill just stick to learning some new chords. Stay tuned to find out!
My top tips for learning power chords:
- Learn with a fun song – there’s so many legendary songs you could use learning this skill. Learning Mississippi Queen made the experience a lot of fun for me, and I practiced regularly because of it.
- Don’t over do it – playing power chords are particularly hard on your strumming fingers, as your applying a lot more force to the strings than usual. Limit your playing time your first couple of sessions to avoid the painful blisters I received midway through the week.
- If you don’t sound like Black Sabbath don’t worry about it – If I’ve learned one thing so far, its that learning guitar takes above all else patience. Keep practicing and the results will come!