How to Play D Minor on Guitar

how to play d minor on guitar

Are you a Hans Zimmer fan? If you are, then you are already familiar with this beautiful chord. The legendary composer is often accused of (fondly though) heavily using the D minor chord in all of his compositions.

From The Pirates of the Caribbean to The Dark Knight Trilogy, you can’t think of a single piece he wrote without this chord.

So, what makes this chord so special? And how to play D minor on guitar?

What Does D Minor Sound Like?

This chord gives off a ‘Lady Got the Blues’ vibe. It fosters melancholy.

The keynote of D minor, and the D minor chord itself, has been used to nurture melancholic sorrow. This chord evokes emotions of sadness, pain, loss, and a sense of impending death.

Maybe that’s why this chord appeals to everyone.

Cool Facts About D Minor: Down The Memory Lane

Music history would be incomplete without mentioning the D minor chord: such is its impact.

Johannes Sebastian Bach composed The Art of the Fugue entirely in D minor key.

Mozart created his most renowned composition, Requiem, with the help of this chord.

The Baroque composer Dominic Scarletti declared D minor as his favorite minor chord.

Beethoven used the D minor chord to write the unforgettable symphony No. 9. In fact, the whole symphony is based on D minor and D major chords.

From the classical era to modern times, composers of all generations embraced this chord for its excellent emotional exposure.

From Pink Floyd to Green Day and from The Beatles to Taylor Swift, everyone took refuge in the D minor chord while expressing the melancholy of life.

Which Notes Make Up The D Minor Chord?

D minor chord is a minor triad. This chord is made of the keynote D, F, and A.

It follows the triad note model of fellow minor chords. Although it gives off a sad, melancholic tune, you can’t possibly restrict it to a single-use.

How to Play The D Minor Chord On Guitar?

You must be eager to play the beautiful chord by yourself. Just like any other great thing, this beautiful chord is pretty straightforward.

You can play the chord even if you are a beginner.

1. Standard D Minor Chord

  • Place your 1st finger (index finger) on the 1st fret of the high E string (1st string).
  • Now, move your 2nd finger (middle finger) to the 2nd fret of the G string (3rd string).
  • Finally, place your 3rd finger (ring finger) on the 3rd fret of the D string (4th string).

Standard D minor chord doesn’t use the 5th (A) and 6th (low E) strings. Check whether your fingers are positioned accordingly and strum your guitar from the D (4th) string.

d minor chord
Standard D minor Chord

2. D Minor Chord (Open Position)

  • Place your 1st finger (index finger) on the first fret of the 1st string (high E).
  • Now, place your 2nd finger (middle finger) on the second fret of the 3rd string (G string).
  • Finally, place your 3rd finger (ring finger) on the third fret of the 2nd string (B string).

Low E string (6th string) and A string (5th string) are unused in this chord. You will have to strum from the D string (4th string). However, the D string will remain open.

D minor open position
D-minor Open Position

3. Dsus2 Open Position

This is the simplified two-finger version of the D minor chord. However, it won’t give off the full sound and feel of the D minor chord.

Although, beginners can practice by playing this one.

  • Place your index finger (1st finger) on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string (G string).
  • Now, place your ring finger (3rd finger) on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string (B string).

Just like an Open Position D minor chord, the low E string and A string remain unused. You have to play downwards from the D string, where the D string and the high E string remain open.

Dsus2 open position
Dsus2 Open Position

D minor chord is as easy as how to play A minor on guitar. In short, try learning few more minor chords to know different minor chord emotions.

Tips To Practice Chords Efficiently

1. Memorize

Before you pick up the guitar, it is necessary to memorize the chord in your mind. Look at the chord diagram several times and study the strumming pattern. Now, play it slowly on the guitar.

2. Maintain The Right Posture

Even if you have excellent hand-dexterity, it will be impossible for you to play a chord easily if you don’t make your posture right. So learn the right posture for the guitar to make your chord practice easier.

3. Warm-Up

Chords are complex. That’s why warming up your fingers before jumping into playing a chord is important. It makes your fingers swift and keeps them away from fatigue.

4. Learn A Few Songs

Learn a few easy songs based on each chord you are practicing. It will make the practice sessions interesting, and you will memorize better.

Songs With D Minor Chords

1. Rock Music

There should be no second opinion on Pink Floyd‘s contribution to the rock music genre. What if I told you that most of their iconic compositions were written with the D minor chord.

The hauntingly beautiful masterpiece ‘Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2’ is one of them.

Green Day’s punk-rock legend used the Dm chord in their iconic songs ’21 Guns’ and ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams.’

Not only in the 90s, but the Progressive bands and solo artists in the 21st century embraced this chord to create music.

The iconic song ‘Losing My Religion’ by R.E.M. is based on the D minor chord.

Rock Songs Based on D Minor Chord:

  1. ‘High Hopes’ by Pink Floyd
  2. ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles
  3. ‘Outshined’ by Soundgarden
  4. ‘Sultan of Swing’ by Dire Straits
  5.  ‘Dr. Feelgood’ by Motley Crue
  6. Country Music

D minor is widely used in country or folk music as a basic chord. From Woody Guthrie to Pete Seeger and modern-day sensation Oscar Issac used this chord in their compositions.

2. Country/Folk Songs Based on D Minor Chord

  1. ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver
  2. ‘Donna Donna’ by Joan Baez
  3. ‘Little Boxes’ by Pete Seeger
  4. ‘Fare Thee Well’ by Oscar Isaac
  5. Pop Music

Here are some contemporary pop songs based on the D minor chord.

  1.  ‘Careless Whisper’ by George Michael
  2. ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ by Adele
  3.   ‘I wanna Go’ by Britney Spears
  4. ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem
  5.   ‘Paradise’ by Coldplay

More Resources

How to Play E7 on Guitar? How to Play A Minor on Guitar?
How to Play C Sharp Minor? How to Play C Minor on Guitar?
How to Play G Minor on Guitar? How to Play G7 on Guitar?



Is there a difference between strumming and Picking?

Strumming is when you strike a note or a group of notes together at the same time. It is usually used when you are playing a chord or a chord progression. On the other hand, Picking is when you play notes at a set rate of time or multiple times. Picking is applicable for songs.

Which guitar should I buy to learn to play?

It is entirely up to you which guitar you’d choose for guitar lessons. However, starting with a classical guitar or a Spanish guitar is the best option. They cost less than electric guitars, and you can learn all the basics of them.

What is the best way to play D minor on guitar?

The standard method of playing the D minor chord is the best way to play it. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 1st string, 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string, and 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th string. Now strum below from the D string.

What are some songs based on the D minor chord?

The most popular songs based on the D minor chord are Come Together by The Beatles and Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Pink Floyd. Some other popular songs that you can play are – ‘Wonderful Tonight’, ‘High Hopes’, ‘Sultan of Swing’, and ‘Paradise’.

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The D minor chord is really not a difficult chord to learn. In fact, it is one of the few guitar chords a beginner guitarist should get introduced to at first.

It may seem baffling at first, but playing this chord will seem like a cakewalk for you once you understand the finger positions and strumming pattern.

If you are still struggling to ace this chord, ask your guitar teacher to help.

Join EnthuZiastic guitar classes for all-around and customized guitar lessons.

Lastly, I would suggest you practice as much as you can. I know you are eager to play all your favorite songs made up with this chord.

So, sit straight, warm up your fingers, and start playing!

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