D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (2024)

Written by

Dwight H.

Fact-checked by

Paul Mazzola

D Guitar Chord

D Major, which consists of the notes D, F#, and A, is another one of those "essential" chords you need to know, regardless of what style of music you enjoy playing.

It's just as likely to pop up in an old James Brown tune as it is a Radiohead classic or the latest metal tune you're hooked on, so it's a must have for the arsenal.

Thankfully, there are more ways to play D Major than you can shake a stick at, so you'll have plenty of options deciding which voicings to use. Let's take a look, shall we?

Get free estimates from guitar lessons near you.

Search

How to Play D Guitar Chord

We'll begin with the standard, open-position that every guitarist and their mother can show you how to play. It's simplicity at its finest:

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (1)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 3rd string/2nd fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 1st string/2nd fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/3rd fret

  • Play string 4 open

  • Mute strings 5 and 6

D Major Guitar Chord - Alternate #1

Now, what every guitarist and their mother usually don't tell you about this version of D Major is that you can beef it up using your other fingers for a fuller sound, like this:

  • Use your first finger to bar strings 1, 2, and 3 at the 2nd fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd string/3rd fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string/4th fret

  • Place your 4th finger on the 5th string/4th fret

  • Mute string 6

Pretty cool, huh? The second variation of D Major will provide some more "oomph" when you really need it, and we're just getting warmed up when it comes to different voicings.

D Major Guitar Chord - Alternate #2

You can also play a version of D Major that's vaguely reminiscent of the open G Major shape:

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (3)

Get free estimates from guitar lessons near you.

Search

  • Place your 1st finger on the 4th string/4th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 5th string/5th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 1st string/5th fret

  • Mute strings 2, 3, and 6

D Major Guitar Chord - Barre #1

Obviously, you'll have to have good command of how to mute the strings to pull off this chord voicing. Be sure to practice slowly to ensure you're hitting the strings you want and deafening the strings you don't need to hear before you go full blast. Now, near the 5th fret, you have two options for D Major, the first of which is a barre chord:

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (4)
  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 5th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string/7th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/7th fret

  • Place your 4th finger on the 2nd string/7th fret

  • Mute string 6

D Major Guitar Chord - Alternate #3

There's also a trickier, two finger, three string version you can try:

Get free estimates from guitar lessons near you.

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (5)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 1st string/5th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/7th fret

  • Play string 4 open

  • Mute strings 3, 5, and 6

D Major Guitar Chord - Barre #2

Again, muting will be a chief concern here, but won't be as much as an issue when you try the D Major barre chord on the 7th fret. Now, you'll have to worry about making some big stretches:

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (6)
  • Use your 1st finger to bar strings 2, 3, and 4 at the 7th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 5th string/9th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 6th string/10th fret

  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/10th fret

D Major Guitar Chord - 9th Fret #1

Now, if you want to talk about awkward finger positions, the D Major variants on the 9th fret will provide plenty of conversation fodder:

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (7)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th string/9th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 6th string/10th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/10th fret

  • Place your 4th finger on the 3rd string/11th fret

  • Play string 4 open

  • Mute the 1st string

D Major Guitar Chord - 9th Fret #2

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (8)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th string/9th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 6th string/10th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/10th fret

  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/10th fret

  • Mute strings 3 and 4

D Major Guitar Chord - 9th Fret #3

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (9)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th string/9th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 6th string/10th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/10th fret

  • Mute strings 1, 3, and 4

D Major Guitar Chord - 10th Fret Barre

That last variation mind end up sounding a bit "wimpy" for your tastes, but you need a lighter, airier take on the D Major chord, it's the voicing you'll want to go with. Now, at the opposite end of the spectrum, this bold sounding barre chord on the 10th fret:

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (10)
  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 10th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/11th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string/12th fret

  • Place your 4th finger on the 4th string/12th fret

D Major Guitar Chord - Non-Barre #1

You'll also find two non-barre variations at the 10th fret:

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (11)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 6th string/10th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd string/10th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/11th fret

  • Mute strings 1, 4, and 5

D Major Guitar Chord - Non-Barre #2

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (12)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd string/10th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/11th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string/12th fret

  • Mute strings 1, 5, and 6

D Major Guitar Chord - Open #1

Bringing things full-circle, there are two ways to play D Major using the open-position fingering further up the fretboard:

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (13)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 4th string/12th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/14th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 1st string/14th fret

  • Place your 4th finger on the 2nd string/15th fret

  • Mute strings 5 and 6

D Major Guitar Chord - Open #2

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (14)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 3rd string/14th fret

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 1st string/14th fret

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/15th fret

  • Play string 4 open

  • Mute strings 5 and 6

Practice Like You Mean It

There are a lot different ways for you to play D Major, and it will likely take a while to commit these all to memory, so start practicing now and work through the entire list until you can play each voicing without referring back to the chart. As always, good luck, and happy practicing!

D Guitar Chord | The 14 Best Ways to Play (w/ Charts) - Lessons.com (2024)

FAQs

Why is it so hard to play the D chord on guitar? ›

The two biggest problems beginners have with the D chord are getting the shape confidently under your three fingers and muting the bottom two strings.

What strings do you strum for A D chord? ›

To play the D chord, we only strum the first four strings starting from the bottom. If you're comfortable reading chord boxes? You'll notice that, in the diagram, the 4th string is marked with an O. This means we play the string, but there are no fingers on it - it's an open string!

What is the hardest chord to learn? ›

The F chord is typically the first major test in a beginner's journey. Many give up after attempting to learn the F chord. This is because it is a bar chord. If you have never played a bar chord before, the F is going to take extra patience and resistance to frustration.

What is the hardest piece of music to play on guitar? ›

Many consider Recuerdos to be the hardest piece ever written for the guitar. It contains an almost continuous tremolo, a technique that requires a guitarist to repeatedly and rapidly pluck the same note.

How to strum d chords? ›

Put your first finger on the second fret of the third string. Put your second finger on the second fret of the first string. Put your third finger on the third fret of the second string. Strum only the thinnest four strings.

How long does it take to learn D chord guitar? ›

For most people it takes around 2-4 weeks of regular practice to be able to nail this chord consistently.

What is the hardest technique to learn on the guitar? ›

One of the most difficult guitar techniques to learn is sweep picking, which we'll tell you about in more detail later in this article. The cliff's notes version is this – sweep picking involves using a combination of downstrokes and upstrokes to play consecutive notes on different strings in quick succession.

Why does the d chord sound out of tune? ›

If it sounds bad to you, it is possible that you are playing notes not intended to be part of the D-Chords or your guitar is not properly intonated, such that one or more of the fretted strings are slightly out of tune (even if it is in tune when open string is played.)

What makes A chord sound happy? ›

“One of the ways that composers or performers communicate … is through the use of either major chords and major scales – which are very strongly associated with creating a happy mood – and minor scales and minor chords – which are associated with a more melancholy feeling,” he said.

When playing chords on guitar, do you strum all strings? ›

That depends on the Chord. In some you strum all the strings. On some just 5 and on some just 4. With some chords you strum all but the bottom and top strings, etc.

How long does it take to learn A D chord? ›

For most people it takes around 2-4 weeks of regular practice to be able to nail this chord consistently.

Why does my D chord sound bad? ›

If it sounds bad to you, it is possible that you are playing notes not intended to be part of the D-Chords or your guitar is not properly intonated, such that one or more of the fretted strings are slightly out of tune (even if it is in tune when open string is played.)

What is the hardest style to play on guitar? ›

Classical. Classical guitar involves intricate fingerpicking and a wide dynamic range, demanding great technical skill.

Why is the DM chord so hard? ›

As you can see the Dm guitar chord is a 3-finger chord which needs you to play across 3 different frets. This makes it hard for beginner guitarists who are making the step up from easy chords like Em, Cmaj7 and Asus.

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated:

Views: 5871

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.