How to Play Power Chords on Acoustic Guitar

how to play power chords acoustic

Many electric guitarists love power chords, but a lot of players find themselves wondering how to play power chords on acoustic guitar. Well have no fear! By the end of this article you’ll be playing power chords on the acoustic easily.

The short answer for how to play power chords on an acoustic guitar is: the same as you would on the electric!

To play a power chord on acoustic guitar, first find the root of the chord you’d like to play on the low E string. For example, if you want to play a C power chord on the acoustic guitar, you would put your first finger on the 8th fret of the low E string, which is a C note.

Next, place the ring finger of your fretting hand two frets up from your first finger, but on the A string. So for a C power chord, your first finger would be on the low E string 8th fret, and your ring finger would be on the A string 10th fret.

Best strings for electric guitar x
Best strings for electric guitar

Congratulations! You just formed a power chord on the acoustic guitar!

Do Power Chords Work on Acoustic Guitar?

So now you know how to play power chords on the acoustic guitar – but do they even work? If so, why do power chords seem so rare in acoustic music?

Open chords are the go to move on the acoustic guitar, simply because they bring out a lot of the tone and range of the instrument more than power chords do.

This is mostly because open chords are more complex, and involve strumming 5 or 6 strings, while power chords instead involve 2 or 3 strings at most. Simply put: this results in open chords producing a slightly richer sound than power chords on the acoustic guitar. But…

Power chords work on the acoustic guitar, and you can play them just as you do on the electric. In fact, many famous acoustic songs make use of power chords. For example, many of the songs on Nirvana’s famous MTV Unplugged in New York album feature power chords.

In Nirvana’s cover of the Meat Puppets song “Lake of Fire” (above) you can see the guitarist playing power chords extensively on his acoustic guitar. This is a good example of a very popular song in which power chords are played on an acoustic guitar.

Need More Help With Power Chords?

If you’re still looking for more free guitar lesson resources, I’d recommend subscribing to some of the awesome acoustic guitar YouTube channels out there. The only trouble is – it can be hard to find the right channels, and to know who’s really putting out good information.

That’s why I wrote up a whole guide post on my 8 favorite YouTube channels for learning acoustic guitar.

Ready to Get Better at Guitar, Faster?

Whenever you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, check out my favorite resources below:

Best Strings

Elixir Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings

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Best Guitar

Martin D-18

  • Beloved by everyone from Paul Simon to Gordon Lightfoot, the D-18 is one of Martin’s most legendary guitars ever.
  • An excellent, premier quality acoustic guitar for bluegrass, country, folk, rock and more. This is what I play myself.

Free Guide

Chords, Tabs & Lessons for 100 Songs

  • This free guide from Acoustic World gives you chords, tabs, and video lesson for the 100 best songs to learn on guitar.
  • I spent hours putting this together all by myself to help you get better at guitar, faster!

Free Book

Fingerpicking vs Flatpicking Guitar

  • Learn which picking style is right for YOU by exploring examples, history, and popular players of each style.
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Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

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