You can think of Dm7 (D Minor 7) as a close cousin to the D Minor chord. After all, they share most of the same notes. Instead of just requiring you to play "D," "F," and "A," however, Dm7 throws a "C" into the mix as well, which make some variations of this chord a bit more challenging.
Dm7 shares a similar sound to D Minor, but the addition of that extra note can make the critical difference when you're playing some songs (particularly where jazz and funk are concerned), so it's important that you make this a part of your arsenal so that you can play all your favorite tunes correctly.
That being said, Dm7 (like all guitar chords) has many voicings you can learn. Today, we'll look at a few popular ones so you start mastering them right away.
We'll begin with the most common variant of Dm7, which you can play in open position. If nothing else, you should be able to add this one to your repertoire with little trouble:
This version of Dm7 is simple, and at the same time, somewhat tricky. Sure, you've only got three strings to worry about holding down. Some guitarists, however, might find bringing their 2nd finger back to cover the 1st string so close to their 1st finger (which is on the 2nd string), while simultaneously extending their 3rd finger to reach string 3 a difficult exercise.
This problem might be further amplified when trying to get to Dm7 on the fly, and more than a few novice players have bumbled the fingering on this seemingly easy chord while trying to transition from another one.
If you count yourself among that group, then don't worry. While you're in the process of learning the three-finger version of this chord, you can substitute a two-finger version of the same voicing:
Go ahead, try them both. Which of the two variations do you find easier to play? Most guitarist find they favor one or the other, but you'll get the exact same sound from both, so start your adventures in Dm7 by bolstering your skills with one of these fingerings, and when you feel confident enough, you can start expanding your knowledge to encompass new voicings.
The next one we'll cover is an alternate open position voicing, which you might find more challenging:
Where to begin with this one! Pulling off the bar shouldn't be too difficult if you're already used to playing barre chords, but the stretch you'll have to complete with your other fingers is a doozy.
If you aren't precise, you can easily botch the fingering here, and having to put fingers 2, 3, and 4 on the same fret further compounds the difficulty. The problem most run into is getting their 2nd finger to cooperate, so when you're learning this voicing, pay special attention to that finger and getting it into position before you lay down your 3rd and 4th finger.
Since we've already broached the topic of tricky barre-chords, let's look at another way you can play Dm7, on the 5th fret:
Now, if you can pull this voicing off without any difficulty, then congratulations -- you've been practicing correctly! If you find you have some trouble getting your 4th finger up to the 8th fret, though, you've got some work to do.
Thankfully, there's another way you can pull this barre chord off (without the 4th finger) until your pinky is strong and dextrous enough to make the stretch:
While we still have you on the 5th fret, let's take a look at one more Dm7 barre chord you can complete here, with only two fingers:
See? Easy as pie! You can use this voicing as a stand in if you're still new to barre chords, and need a bit more time to improve your skills with fuller sounding barre variants.
When you're ready to move on, the fun with Dm7 barre chords can continue, as there's a whole wide world to discover once you move up to the 10th fret.
These voicings are all very similar (you'll be barring the same fret for each), but subtle differences in fingering imbues each with a slight difference in sound:
You might notice this as the easy-to-play "Em7" barre chord shape, and while it is indeed straightforward to play, you might find the sound lacking in some instances. In those situations, try one of these intricate Dm7 barre voicings on for size:
Got all that? Those takes on Dm7 will each provide you with a different sound, so experiment with them all to learn the situations where they can aid your playing best.
With each, you've got a fair amount of stretching to pull off -- with your 3rd finger, 4th finger, or both -- so make sure you can span those distances comfortably to play those voicings correctly each and every time. Since they are all quite similar, memorizing the differences between them might not come easy. Take them one at a time, ensuring you have each memorized before moving onto the next.
Are you sick of barre chords yet? Try to keep from vomiting, because we've got one more to show you.
The Dm7 barre chord at the 13th fret should look familiar, and it brings everything full circle:
Just like back in open position! There's a big contrast between the pitch of your lower "D" and your higher notes, "A," "C," and "F," however, so you might not dig the sound of this voicing (save for a few select situations). Regardless, it's better to "have it and not need it," in this case, and you may find that the 13th fret voicing of Dm7 comes in handy.
There are a lot of ways to play the Dm7 chord. So many, in fact, that we couldn't even cover all of them in today's lesson (there are more non-barre voicings at the 8th and 10th frets, if you were curious).
You've got plenty to work with as it is, though, so take a good look at all of these Dm7 variations, start committing them to memory, and then incorporate them into your favorite songs. As always, good luck, and happy practicing!
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