A power chord is a two-note chord, with no major or minor quality to it. This is because power chords are just made up of the root and the fifth of the chord. The part that usually gives the chord a major or minor quality is left out of power chords.

C5 guitar power chord tutorial
Playing the C5 power chord on guitar

For example, the power chord of C is made of only the notes C and G, the first and the fifth notes of the scale. As a result, the power chord is written as the name of the chord followed by the number 5. So the power chord of C is usually written as C5 on chord charts or tabs.

The great thing about power chords is once you have the shape down, you can just move them all around the fretboard.

Power chords have been used in some of the most epic guitar riffs of all-time like Iron Man, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Smells Like Teen Spirit and also very present on Medieval music.