Chords accomplish a lot in music — they convey emotion that can be challenging to get across in lyrics. Today, we’ll be looking at the useful Dm guitar chord and several different ways to play it and use it.
What’s the Dm Guitar Chord?
Like a lot of minor chords, Dm could be classified as sad or melancholy. It tends to sound more serious than dark. It’s a versatile choice that can be at home in songs of just about any genre, and it’s an indispensable part of your toolkit as a guitarist. Like many guitar chords, it is a triad that contains the notes D, F, and A.
How to Play D Minor Guitar Chord
You may already know this version: it’s your standard open version of D minor, and it is usually the D minor chord guitar players learn first.
To play this one, first put your first finger on the first fret of the first (high E) string. Place your middle finger on the second fret of the third (G) string. And lastly, put your ring finger on the third fret of the second (B) string.
In order to play this chord properly, make sure you do not hit the sixth or fifth strings. Usually, once you have some practice strumming or picking the chord, this should be very easy to do.
Dm Guitar Chord – Alternate
This alternate open voicing can be tough to get right. You’ll need to mute the first, second, and sixth strings, playing only the three strings in between.
For this one, place your index finger on the third string at the second fret. Then, place your middle finger on the fourth string at the third fret. For the last note, place your ring finger or your pinky on the fifth string at the fifth fret.
Dm Guitar Chord – Barre
Most guitarists start learning barre chords once they start to get the hang of open chords. The most common barre version of Dm is using the “A minor” barre shape, where the root note is on the fifth string.
To play this chord, first barre the first five strings at the fifth fret. Since the root note is on the fifth string, you don’t play the sixth string — you can either skip it or mute it. Then, put your middle finger on the second string at the sixth fret. And at the seventh fret, put your ring finger on the fourth string and your pinky on the third string.
There’s a second barred version of Dm; this one uses the “E minor” barre shape with the root on the sixth string. For this one, use your index finger to barre the strings at the tenth fret. At the twelfth fret, place your ring finger on the fifth string and your pinky on the fourth string.
Dm Guitar Chord – Non-Barre #1
As you know now, the D minor chord is made up of the notes D, F, and A. Most online guides you’ll find focus more on versions of the chord that use the first, second, and third strings. But since you don’t play the fifth and sixth strings, these versions can be a bit lacking in the bass department.
If you want a heavier, dark-sounding chord, there’s an easy way to play it. Just put your first finger on the first fret of the low E string. Then strum only the sixth, fifth, and fourth strings. Putting your finger on the first fret of the low E gives you an F, the fifth string played open is A, and the open fourth string is D. As long as you don’t hit the other strings, you’re playing a Dm!
Dm Guitar Chord – Non-Barre #2
This chord is effectively a simplified version of the barred Dm. For this one, we’ll start at the fifth fret and only play the first four strings. First, place your ring finger on the first string at the fifth fret. Then, place your middle finger on the second string at the sixth fret. On the seventh fret, place your ring finger on the fourth string and your pinky on the third string.
Dm Guitar Chord – 7th Fret Variant
One of the best things about playing guitar is finding new and exciting voicings for some of your favorite chords. So if you want an interesting way to play Dm, try out this voicing that starts on the seventh fret:
First, place your index finger on the fourth string at the seventh fret. Then, place your middle finger on the fifth string at the eighth fret. Next, place your ring finger on the sixth string at the tenth fret. And finally, place your pinky on the third string at the tenth fret. Make sure you don’t play the first and second strings!
If you’re a new player, this voicing can be a little tough to master. After all, coordinating four fingers on the fretboard is a bit harder than coordinating three!
Songs to Practice the D Minor Chord With
Whether you play country, rock, folk, or something else entirely, you’re sure to find a use for Dm. Here are a few you might want to check out:
“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.
“Rumour Has It” by Adele
This catchy, energetic song is a bit of a departure from Adele’s usual, and it’s also in the key of D minor. It allows you a decent amount of time between chord changes, so it’s a good option if you’ve just learned Dm. The song also includes G minor, which you can learn here if you haven’t already.
“Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse
If you’re ready to make your chord changes a little faster, this famous song is a lot of fun to play. And it’s even better if you have a friend who plays piano! Thanks to the presence of an A7 chord, this D minor chord progression has a bit of a bluesy edge, too.
Hopefully, you’ve now learned D minor on guitar (or at least a new voicing or two!). It’s a complex chord that can really help you add some new life to your music. Don’t be discouraged if the chord takes a bit to learn — memorizing the fingering for a chord is one thing, but committing it to muscle memory is quite another!
Still have some questions? Here are some answers:
Like we saw above, there’s no single correct way to play D minor on guitar. Which version you learn is up to you, but it’s usually easiest to start with the standard open version.
D minor chords are the same on acoustic and electric guitars. But since most electric guitar necks are thinner, it may be easier to play barred D minor chords on an electric.
The D minor chord, like all minor chords, contains a root note, a minor third, and a perfect fifth. The root note is D, the minor third is F, and the perfect fifth is A. So it contains the notes D, F, and A.