If you’ve ever heard a rock n roll song (and who hasn’t?), you’ve heard a power chord like C5 before. They’re punchy and, best of all, they’re easy to play! Learning power chords will unlock many new songs for you so let’s dive in…

What are Power Chords?

Power chords are guitar chords played with just two notes, the root and the 5th. The 3rd is left out of power chords, and because of this the power chord has neither a major nor a minor sound.

Power chords are quite easy to learn – once you know one, you pretty much know them all! That’s because the shape is always the same, you just move it around the fretboard. In addition to the C5 you’ll learn here, there are also G5, D5, and A5.

Playing the C5 Chord

Your 1st (index) finger will need to be on the 5th string of the 3rd fret. And then place your 3rd (ring) finger on the 4th string of the 5th fret. No need to use your 2nd (middle) finger for C5.

Strum only the 4th and 5th strings. It may help to mute the 6th string with your thumb to make sure it doesn’t ring out with the rest – just gently rest it on that thickest string so it stays nice and quiet.

Try the C power chord for yourself with this handy diagram:

C power chord

Songs With C5 Chord

Now that you’ve learned the C power chord, you’re ready to rock many new songs! Here are just some:

  • “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood
  • “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King
  • “Enter Sandman” by Metallica

How to Build Your Muscle Memory

Memorizing the C5 chord will be the quickest way to play it when you need to in a song. It just takes practice to teach your fingers the shape to make. One way to make it more fun and easy to remember this and 25 other essential chords is to download and print our free guitar chord flashcards.

Tips for Great Sounding Chords

Are your strings buzzing or muffled? Proper technique can help you solve many problems you may be having playing chords like C5:

  • Sit up straight in your chair and make sure your arms have room to move freely
  • Use the very tips of your fingers to press down the strings
  • Press down as close to the fret (metal bar) as you can
  • Place your thumb about halfway down the neck for support

For more tips, see how to make your guitar chords easy to play. Also, learn more about guitar chords for beginners including how to take the chords you just learned and move them around the fretboard for new and exciting sounds.