In the world of guitar chords, D Minor (D, F, A) is one you might consider essential. It's usually part of that first batch of chords most guitarist learn, and if it's not, you can rest assured that they'll be picking it up shortly after when they encounter it in one of their favorite songs.
Learning this chord is critical to your development as a guitarist, so today, we're going to cover a few of the most common variants (including the barre chord version), along with some trickier voicings that will let you show off your chops. Let's begin!
We'll begin with the tried and true, open position variation that just about every guitarist can recall from memory:
Three strings, three fingers, essentially -- it's simplicity at its finest. One thing that tends to trip up beginners, however, is remembering to use that 2nd finger to cover the 3rd string (instead of the 2nd string, which is a natural reaction).
This is a straightforward problem to overcome, however. Just start slowly and train your 2nd finger to move to the 3rd string by repeatedly making your chord shape before you start playing.
After some time, muscle memory will take over, and you'll be nailing this chord voicing each and every time you go for it.
Next up, we'll cover another open position version of D Minor. This one, though, will take a bit more skill for you to pull off:
The challenge here is twofold. First, you've got to get your pinky finger in on the game, and stretch all the way up to the 5th fret to play that "D." Second, you've got to play precisely enough that you only hit strings 3, 4, and 5 while you're strumming, ignoring or muting your outside strings for the best sound.
The solutions to these challenges are simple, though. You'll have to start engaging your pinky more in your playing (if you haven't done so already) so that it's strong and nimble enough to stretch and press down on the strings for a decent-sounding chord.
As for the strumming issue, try practicing shorter strokes with your pick, using only your wrist so that you can control your movement and avoid the strings you shouldn't hit.
Now that we have the open position voicings out of the way, let's take a look at how you can play D Minor as a barre chord:
If you already have a good understanding of barre chords, picking up this voicing should be an easy task. If not, though, you might want to work on strengthening your index finger (which you'll use to make your bar), and taking a look at our tip guide on how to play barre chords right.
While you're up near the 5th fret, you also have two non-barre options for playing D Minor. Tread carefully, though, because these will also take some slick finger positioning and skillful strumming/muting to play:
Lastly, if you want a higher-pitched sound for your D Minor chord, we recommend trying this variant, which you'll find on the 7th fret:
Start by committing these D Minor chord voicings to memory, then pick up a few songs that prominently feature the chord and see how well you can play it on the fly. Afterwards, be sure to check out our complete library of chord variations, since there are even more versions of D Minor you can try on frets 8 and 10. As always, good luck, and happy practicing!
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