I'm trying to attempt playing the Power Chords on my Fender Performer Strat and I understand that I have to mute the G, B & E Strings with the finger that is at the root. For example., if I'm playing the G5 power chord, then my pointing finger is on the 3rd fret thicker E String while at the same time I also mute the G, B & E. But I'm having problems doing that as you know the fret board on the Fender Strat is pretty narrow and I could not arch my finger such that I can press the thick E with my pointing finger and at the same time mute the G, B & E Strings. Any clues on how to get this nailed?

I have a Taylor acoustic and I can play this much comfortably on it because of the fact that the fret board is a bit wider than my Fender Strat. So any techniques that I can try to play this on my Fender?


3 Answers 3


The typical thing is to play 35xxxx with the first and third fingers.

It's not clear from your description, but you shouldn't be strumming string 4-1. But those strings can also start vibrating from sympathetic vibration so you use the rest of your fingers on the fretting hand to dampen with those strings so they don't vibrate.

Usually letting your fingers lay over the strings in that way is considered sloppy technique, but in this case it's intentional.

Your posture, sitting position, laying down really should prevent you from do this.

Personally, I do some of these things without thinking about it. I don't have my guitar at hand, but I think I do the dampening with my first finger. It's sort of like a have my hand in the general position of playing a full bar chord, but relax my first finger so that it only press the sixth string and just lays loosely on top of the other strings to dampen them. That seems to work for me on various neck widths.

  • You mean to say that your index finger presses the 6th string but rests loosely on strings 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1?
    – joesan
    Feb 10, 2020 at 14:48
  • Yes, that is what I think I do without thinking about it. I have to check that later when I can grab my guitar. Feb 10, 2020 at 14:51
  • I'd say that only playing root and 5 is not exactly "typical". There are certainly times where you'd do that but I much more commonly see the octave included as well. I think the big thing here is that OP should not be strumming all of the strings, so they only really need to worry about muting to stop sympathetic vibrations. Feb 10, 2020 at 16:57
  • To double or not double the octave doesn't seem to matter Feb 10, 2020 at 17:14
  • @sparkr, FWIW, when I checked last night - actually playing my guitar - I am doing this sort of "relaxed" barre thing with my index finger. Feb 11, 2020 at 17:22

I must offer this, and it's fundamental to everything you are doing with your fingers, hands, and wrists; Free your arms and elbows.

If you are playing whilst sitting slumped back on your bed, or buried in the couch cushions, for instance, your arms and elbows are not free to move about as they should be able to.

Play either standing with the guitar strapped on, or seated upright on an arm-less stool. That way you can maneuver your entire body freely in whatever manner which allows you to comfortable phrase chords and riffs without undue strain on the tendons of your wrists, hands, and fingers.

  • 1
    Even without seeing me play, you guessed it correctly. I was playing sitting slumped back on my bed! So yes, you are correct. Probably I will avoid such playing posture and make use of a proper chair.
    – joesan
    Feb 10, 2020 at 11:09

This is a fairly common technique issue. Keep your wrist straight and make sure your thumb is in the middle of the back of the neck.

With regards to the reaching the top E string. Instead of arching your finger, try flattening instead. Use the top of your finger to mute the E string, the inside to play the G note, and then the rest to mute the lower strings.

Check out this article on guitarmasterclass.com for more!

  • I don't know what that article is about, but I'm specifically looking for a solution to playing the Power Chords.
    – joesan
    Feb 10, 2020 at 10:38
  • I can't understand this answer.
    – Tim
    Feb 10, 2020 at 13:17

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