Instructor: Dwight H.
From big bands to rock ensembles, and even R&B groups, Dwight has played with them all. He's been teaching guitar for over 10 years. When teaching, he draws from his experience on stage, injecting the knowledge of what it takes to be a gigging musician into every lesson.

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?

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 Major Guitar Chord

  • 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:

D Major Guitar Chord Alternate #1

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord Alternate #2

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord Barre #1

  • 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:

D Major Guitar Chord Alternate #3

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord Barre #2

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord 9th Fret #1

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord 9th Fret #2

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord 9th Fret #3

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord 10th Fret Barre

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord Non-Barre #1

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord Non-Barre #2

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord Open #1

  • 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 Major Guitar Chord Open #2

  • 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!

Next Lesson:

Dm Guitar Chord

41 Guitar Instructors online
Ashburn, VA

26 Guitar Instructors found near you!

Learn to play the guitar fast with an expert guitar instructor. You can take lessons locally or online. Want to see the instructors near you?

Recommended Courses

guitar lessons for beginners
Want to learn how to play the guitar? Go from knowing nothing about the guitar and learn to play songs everbody loves with this free course.
12 lessons 1.5 hours All levels English