The B power chord – properly referred to as a root-fifth chord – represents the starting point for most power chord progressions played where the 5th string provides the root note of each succeeding chord.
We begin by identifying the note B on the 5th string which is found on the second fret. Using basic music theory we walk up the scale on the A String (5th String) moving past A# on the 1st fret to the B on the 2nd fret.
Lucky for us we will only be using our 1st finger (index) to hold down the B note on the 2nd fret, although for good practice I want you to use your 1st finger to create a bar that runs from the B note all the way down to the bottom string, this will help when learning barre chords in later lessons.
Now we strum the bar to ensure the B note is played cleanly. The best place for your fingers when fretting any note is to be as close to the actual fret (metal bar) as is possible. Look at your index finger and make sure it’s pushed up as close to the fret as you can for the best tone.
If you get the dreaded fret buzz try moving your finger within the fret, closer to the fret bar is preferred but you might find it is easier for you to have your finger positioned in the middle of the fret. Also try pushing down harder with the tip of your finger, these methods should help you get that cleaner tone.
Now we can add the fifth note of the chord, being a root-fifth chord, and we find that by looking for the F# on the next string down. This is the D string, so we count up through D#, E, F to F# on the fourth fret. We also need to add an octave, which is not completely necessary however you do get a fuller more complete sound from the chord if you can manage it. The octave is a B note 12 steps higher than the root note, we find that on the next string down, G on the fourth fret.
There are two common methods available to you to fret the F# and B octave. The first is to use your ring and pinky fingers, these are your 3rd and 4th fingers, to fret the notes one by one. Your 3rd finger is likely to be stronger so you will want to use it when fretting the comparatively larger D string, then use your 4th finger for the B octave. Positioning the fingers as close to the fret bar will give you the best tone.
If this method proves immediately fatiguing, try barring the other two notes with either the ring or the pinky finger. The ring finger is stronger but requires more stretching. It does allow for one to trill one fret above the 4th fret which is a common motif in rock music.
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