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.

Db Guitar Chord

You might not imaging yourself running into the Db Major chord (Db, F, Ab) very often. Dabble with old jazz standards of funk-fusion for long enough, though, and you'll see this chord making frequent appearances. You'll want to be prepared when the moment comes, so why not take the time to learn this tricky (but useful) trio of notes?

Today, we'll be showing you an open position variant that will take some considerable practice to nail, the quick-and-dirty barre chord variations of Db Major, along with some high-on-the neck voicings that will help make you look like a real guitar pro.

How to Play Db Guitar Chord

You'll notice some similarities to D Major as you attempt this open position variation, with some added challenge thrown in to complete the Db Major sound:

Db Major Guitar Chord

  • Use your 1st finger to bar strings 1, 2, and 3 at the 1st fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd string/2nd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string/3rd fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 5th string/4th fret
  • Mute string 6

You'll probably notice a few things that might give you trouble with this chord. First off, you're going to be using all four of your fretting fingers, so precise coordination is key playing this Db Major voicing correctly.

Beyond that, though, you've got the half-bar to complete on the 1st fret, and a big stretch for your 3rd and 4th fingers up the fretboard and across the strings. It's a lot to put together, so, like with most tricky chords, your strategy should be to start slow, train your fingers into the correct position over time, and let muscle memory take over once it's time to put this chord voicing into action.

Db Guitar Chord - Barre #1

If you're looking for an easier-to-remember way to play Db Major, however, you've got two clear options -- your barre chords, at the 4th and 9th frets, respectively:

Db Major Guitar Chord Barre 1

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 4th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string/6th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/6th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 2nd string/6th fret
  • Mute string 6

Db Guitar Chord - Barre #2

Db Major Guitar Chord Barre 2

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 9th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/10th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string/11th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 4th string/11th fret

With both of these variations, standard barre chord rules apply. You'll need strong finger action to clamp down on the strings (and push up with your thumb) as well as proper wrist placement to keep from tiring yourself out while playing.

If you already understand how barre chords work, though, it shouldn't be a big deal to apply what you know to playing the barre chord shapes in the Db Major position.

Db Guitar Chord - Alternate #1

Let's say you want to play this chord without having to do any sort of bar action at all, however. You've still got a few options left, you'll just have to go high on the fretboard to play them. First, at the 8th fret:

Db Major Guitar Chord Alternate 1

  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th string/8th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 6th string/9th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/9th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/9th fret

Getting your fingers into position for this chord shouldn't be too big an issue, but muting the middle strings and playing only your outside strings might cause you some difficulty.

Try pushing down lightly on those inside strings with your 2nd finger to mute them. That way, you can get a clean sound as you sweep your pick across the strings.

Db Guitar Chord - Alternate #2

You can also try this (slightly) easier version of Db Major up at the 9th fret. No barre required:

Db Major Guitar Chord Alternate 2

  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd string/9th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/10th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string/11th fret
  • Mute strings 1, 5, and 6

You'll want to avoid those outside strings, but by practicing a swift and short picking motion, you should be able to nail just your inside strings for this chord, and pull off a clean sound with less trouble than some of the other Db Major voicings you'll encounter.

Keep at It!

Playing the Db Major chord, no matter where you are on the fretboard, is somewhat difficult. The key to success, though, is staying at it and working on those voicings until you have them down pat. As always, good luck, and happy practicing!

Next Lesson:

D7 Guitar Chord

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