This is an easy power chord song on the guitar. Nice easy rhythm, and easy shapes – power chords! Cool, catchy song too – 21 guns by Green Day guitar lesson.

Yours truly! Will Ripley (Campfire Guitar Star)

21 Guns

“21 Guns” was released in 2009 on Green Day’s 8th studio album.  The whole album had a very political feel and was described as a “rock opera”.  The title of the song references a military gun salute, and gives a response to those suffering in America.

This song is questionably easier than “Iron Man” and is a great way to start getting a handle on power chords.

*In the frame shot progression on the left, you can see the first two chords of the song.  Note that the second chord isn’t a power chord.

*Emulate the snare drum and inject more rhythm into your playing by stopping the chords using your knuckles coming down on the strings (just like in “I Love Rock N Roll”).

*Your right hand should be playing all downstrokes.  Remember to use the string below the ones you’re playing as your pick stopper.

In this lesson we’ll be going over easy power chord songs on the guitar and this one is done in the style of Green Days 21 Guns. This is an excellent, simple electric guitar song that utilizes the power chord guitar technique.

Power chords are easy to play for a beginner guitarist and as the name with state, they are powerful sounding guitar chords. Even though they are fairly straightforward and easy to play, many of the most famous guitar songs and the most iconic, famous guitar players use the power chords. In this lesson, we’ve selected a Green Day song but rock music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s all use this power chord rock guitar technique that is “beginner friendly”.

The power chord rock guitar technique is simple to play because there are actual power chords that only use one finger to play. The most common power chord shape utilizes three fingers–your first, third and fourth finger.

To form the classic power chord shape with your fingers, you’ll see in this video, the first power chord used has your first finger on the first fret of the low E-string and then two frets up and one string over your place your third finger on the third fret of the A-string. This is the formula for power cords and how to play a ton of songs. The fingering shape for power chords is always the same and will unlock hundreds, if not thousands of classic, iconic and many easy guitar songs for a beginning guitarist.

Even though power chords can look different on the guitar, they always have the same interval, or space between the notes. Also, the notes that build up a power chord are always the same. Technically, a power chord is built from the root note and a fifth note of the major scale. When combined together, they form a 5 chord AKA  a “power chord” (as guitarists call it).

Let’s talk about several easy power chord songs that you can play on the guitar. By the way, power chords are not only for electric guitar, they are a very common acoustic guitar technique as well which will help you play many songs regardless of what type of guitar you are using.

Here are some easy power chord songs to play on acoustic and electric guitar:

Weezer – Beverly Hills

Green Day – 21 Guns

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Joan Jett And The Blackhearts– I Love Rock’n Roll

Black Sabbath– Ironman

Thin Lizzy – Jail Break

Rage Against The Machine– Bomb Track

There are also some easy power chord songs to play on the guitar that use open power chords.

What I mean by open power chords are Power chord shapes that use open strings. A simple power chord riff is TNT by AC/DC. I have a lesson for this on my YouTube channel. The power chord formula and space between the notes (a.k.a. the interval), is still the same with power chords that utilize open strings.

Power chords are an essential guitar technique that will help you play a lot of classic guitar songs and it is a very relevant guitar technique that’s commonly used by guitarists to this day from everyone by guitarists that you hear on the radio and the classic, legendary guitarists of the past.

I commonly suggest to students their first starting out on acoustic or electric guitar as a beginner guitar player to learn many power chords songs on the guitar even before they learn full, open chords like a G major, C major, D major etc.…

Good luck, and if you would like our full beginner guitar course where we cover the theory, and everything you need to know about power chord shapes, including many classic, easy songs, get access to my course at

Thanks for checking out the video and article of Easy Power Chord Songs On Guitar – Green Day – 21 Guns. 

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Thanks and keep on rippin it! – Will Ripley & Mike B