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How-To

How to Play the D Minor Guitar Chord

A staple chord in the note catalog.

The D minor chord (often written as Dm) is a chord that evokes a sense of melancholy and contemplation on the negative side of situations. Like many other minor chords, Dm can create a heavy, serious atmosphere -- and sometimes even creates an almost otherworldly sense of drama.


Embedded content: https://youtu.be/oZswGpF1H6A?rel=0

An example of how to play a minor chord above.


Playing the Dm Chord

The Dm guitar chord is a staple chord in the note catalog, which makes learning it pivotal to playing a wider song base. It also happens to be a fairly simple chord, so learning it is fairly straightforward.

The standard way to play the Dm chord starts on the 1st fret:

  • - Place your index (or 1st finger) on the 1st fret of the first string (high E).
  • - Then, place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the third (G) string.
  • - Finally, place your ring finger (3rd finger) on the 3rd fret of the second (B) string.
  • - When your fingers are positioned correctly, strum from the fourth (D) string down. Do not play the 5th (A) and 6th (low E) strings.

The D minor chord is a relatively easy chord to play, but it may still take some time for beginners to get used to since it involves stretching your fingers across three frets. If you’re just starting to play guitar, this is key chord to learn because it’s frequently found in songs of all genres.

Dm Open Position Chord (v1)

  • - E (low) – do not play
  • - A – do not play
  • - D – open
  • - G – middle finger on 2nd fret
  • - B – ring finger on 3rd fret
  • - E (high) – index finger on 1st fret

D-minor-guitar-chord-insert-01

To play this version of the D minor chord using numerical notation, you’d use this pattern: x, x, 0, 2, 3, 1

There is also is a simpler way to play the Dm chord with only two fingers, however, it won’t sound as full as the open position Dm chord.

For the simplified version of the Dm chord (also known as the Dsus2 or D suspended chord), place your index (first) finger on the second fret of the 3rd (G) string. Then place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the second (B) string. Leaving the first and fourth strings open, strum down. Do not play the fifth (A) and six (low E) strings.

Dsus2 (suspended) Open Position Chord

  • - E (low) – do not play
  • - A – do not play
  • - D – open play
  • - G – index finger on 2nd fret
  • - B – ring finger on 3rd fret
  • - E (high) – open play

You would use the following numerical notation for this chord: x, x, 0, 2, 3, 0

D-minor-guitar-chord-insert-02

What Notes Make Up the Dm Chord?

The Dm chord follows the triad note model of its fellow minor chords. It’s made up of three notes:

D, F and A

It’s often considered a melancholy chord, but due to its diverse use, the Dm chord is hard to pigeonhole to one specific emotion.

Songs That Use the Dm Chord

Pop Songs

The Weeknd’s smash hit, “In the Night,” blends a powerful driving percussion section with a softer, more anxious chord selection that shows the complexity and versatility of the Dm chord.

Not all songs that feature the Dm chord and other minor notes have to feel melancholy and apprehensive. Martha Reeves & The Vandellas’ “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave” shows just how catchy the Dm chord can be when accompanied with a catchy melody and horn section.

Folk/Blues Songs

Kaleo seamlessly juggles back and forth between blues-driven rock and ambient acoustic folk. This Icelandic band’s song, “All the Pretty Girls” falls into the latter category, using the Dm chord to provide a Bon Iver vibe to this acoustic gem.

Rock Songs

If there’s one thing that doesn’t need to be said, it’s Pink Floyd’s influence on the rock genre. And with one of their most well-known songs incorporating the Dm chord into that haunting choir refrain, “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2” is a prime example of the band’s lasting legacy.

The Beach Boys and minor chords may seem like opposites attracting on the musical spectrum, but the way this harmonizing surfer crew crafted an upbeat and catchy song in “Help me, Rhonda” with the more gloomy sounding Dm and Am chords is a testament to their musical prowess.

It can be said that the Dm chord is a serious sounding chord -- even pious in nature and tone. That notion is proven perfectly and sincerely in R.E.M.’s confessional track, “Losing My Religion”.

Who says adding a banjo automatically qualifies an artist as folk? Judah & The Lion’s “Take It All Back 2.0” is a modern folk/rock ode to the past, present and future counterparts of love where the Dm chords sets the tormented mood for what could have been and what will be.

Country Songs

Trisha Yearwood’s country 90s rock anthem “She’s in Love with the Boy” pits an irresistibly catchy chorus with an up-tempo verse. The result is a country classic that prominently features the Dm chord.

Now that you’re armed with a few ways to play the D minor chord, start playing it and learning some of the songs that make use of this versatile chord. With practice, you can expand your chord vocabulary and add new songs to your repertoire.

Now that you’re armed with a few ways to play the D minor chord, start playing it and learning some of the songs that make use of this versatile chord. If you'd like to learn how to play even more chords, browse Fender Play's chord library, learn about chord types, and find tips on how to master them .

If you’re brand new to the guitar, you can start with a free trial of Fender Play!