How to Play D Minor Chord on Guitar

On this page I am going to show you 5 ways for how to play the D minor chord on guitar. 
I'll show you the easiest way to play the Dm chord in open  position as well as a few ways to play the Dm bar chord. We'll also get into popular chords that go with Dm, popular songs that use the Dm chord, and what notes are used to make up the chord. 

Why is the Dm chord so hard?

The Dm chord is a bit harder than other open chords because your 2nd and 3rd fingers are a bit spread out. These two fingers simply don't stretch very well... No it's not you, its how the hand works.

That being said with good guitar technique and a little practice you'll be able to play the Dm chord on guitar just fine. I usually teach the D minor chord to beginners as their 5 or 6th chord they learn.

Dm Guitar Chord

Dm easy / beginners 

First lets learn how to play the D minor chord in open position

First place your 1st finger (index) on the 1st string 1st fret

 Place your 3rd finger (ring) on 2nd string 3rd fret
Place your 2nd finger (middle) on 3rd string 2nd fret

Be sure you thumb is lined up behind your 2nd finger. If you thumb is curled or on the outside of your 1st finger your fingers wont stretch!

Not sure on how to read a chord diagram or want to learn more chords?    Click here

How To Strum The Dm chord

To strum the Dm guitar chord without strumming strings 5 & 6 you can do a few things. 

You're going to need to get really good at missing these strings when you strum. This comes with practice but sometimes I lightly rest my wrist of my strumming hand just before the first strum to feel where I am. It's very quick and most people don't realize I am doing this. 

Dm/A Guitar Chord

The dm/a guitar chord is very popular and very easy!

To play the Dm/A chord simply play the Dm chord that you already know and then also strum the 5th string. 

That's it!!

All you are doing is adding the A note (which is one of the notes that makes up the chord) in the bass. Which is why it's written as a slash chord Dm/A.  

Who said music theory was hard? It's easy!!

I have another variation below so keep learning!

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Dm Chord Tips

The 1st tip to learning the Dm chord is to get it memorize and trust your picking hand. If you are constantly trying to remember the chord or having to look back and forth between your picking and fret hand progress will be a slow and painful process. 

The 2nd tip is to to make sure your thumb is behind your first and second fingers. You don't want your thumb on the outside of your index finger as this will cause your hand to not be able to stretch or work properly.

 
The 3rd tip is for bar chords. When playing bar chords and your index finger (1st finger) needs to do execute the bar you want to apply pressure to the side of your finger. If you squeeze directly in your finger will bend and the strings on your knuckles wont ring out!

Dm Chord Without Bar

This next position for the Dm chord will move you one step closer to playing a D minor bar chord. To play the Dm in this position
place your 1st finger on 5th string 5th fret,
place your 3rd finger on 4th string 7th fret,
place your 4th finger on 3rd string 7th fret,
place your 2nd finger on 2nd string 6th fret. 

To avoid strumming string 1 & 6 you can have your index finger slightly higher on the finger tip so that the finger tip touches the 6th string. 
For the 1st string, if you have good technique and are not jutting our your wrist your hand may mute the 1st string without you needing to do anything. 

Dm Bar Chord 

Now we are going to move on to bar chords and you are going to learn how to play the Dm bar chord properly. I am going to guide you through different variations of the dm bar chord with easy variation getting progressively harder. 

Just so we are clear, when you use one finger to press multiple strings this is called a  bar chord or sometimes spelled barre chord. 

Lets get started!

This Dm chord is just like the variation you learned but now we are going to bar using your 1st finger. Fret it just the same as above but have your index finger lining FLAT and pressing to the side so the 5th and 1st string can ring out. 
 

** Note, even though I break down the fingerings 1 by 1, to play chords properly and make smooth transitions this all must be done with ONE motion. 

Here we have another D minor bar chord. To fret this chord do the following:
Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string 12th fret
then place your 1st finger across strings 1, 2, & 3 on the 10th fret. 

Have your thumb splitting the difference between your hands and press your first finger to the side so that all the strings ring out. 

When strumming this be sure to not strum strings 5 & 6!

Dm/A Guitar Chord 

Based off the Dm bar chord we just learned, we can learn another very easy dm/a chord with a simple finger change. 

place your 3rd finger on the 5th string 12th fret and then your 4th finger on the 4th string 12 fret. Then you'll want to bar strings 1 - 3 on the 10th fret just like before. 

* Remember to have your thumb splitting the difference between your fingers for leverage and so they stretch!

Dm Bar chord

In this last variation of the Dm bar chord we are going to cover here is sometimes called the "Em" shape in reference to how the Em chord looks in open position. 

If this is confusing don't worry about it. I don't want you to become a "shape" player but it's a common reference so I thought I'd mention it here. 
To fret this place your 1st finger on the 6th string 7th fret your 3rd finger on 5th string 9th fret
your 4th finger on 4th string 9th fret 
and then lay your 1st finger down across all the strings.

To help leverage I recommend using your 2nd finger to help your 1st finger push down.

Yes, you were already prepared for this one! A s you can see from the Dm/A chord you just learned above all we did was add the bar on the 6th string 10th fret. A

Now you know how to play the Dm chord! 👊
Scratch that, you are a Bm chord pro as you know a lot of ways to play the Bm guitar chord!

Easy Songs That Use The Dm Guitar Chord

Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing
The Scorpions - Wind Of Change

Dm Guitar Chord Progression

Here's a few chord progressions that sound great that use the Dm chord. Feel free to change up the orders and experiment with the sounds!

Dm - C - Am - G
Dm - C - Bb - A 

F - Bb - Dm - C 

Gm - F  - Dm - A 
Am - Dm - C - G
Dm - Em - Am - Em

If you need help learning these other chords, click here

What Keys Have A Dm Chord? 

Major keys that use a Dm chord:
Key of C Major
Key of F Major
Key of Bb Major

Minor keys that use a Dm chord:
Key of Am Minor
Key of Dm Minor
Key of Gm Minor

What Are The Notes Of A Dm Chord?

A Dm chord or D minor chord consists of 3 notes that are derived from the Dm major scale.
D      F   G   A   Bb   C

When you number the notes of a scale they are called SCALE DEGREES. So to make a D minor chord we need the 1st, 3rd and 5th "degrees."

1       2     b3     4     5      b6     b7 
     E      F      G     A      Bb      C 

All minor chords use the 1, b3, and 5 notes of a their corresponding scale. 

When these 3 notes are being played harmonically (played at the same time) you are playing a Dm chord.

Now you may be wondering, why did you add a "b" (flat) to the 3, 6, and 7? This is beyond the scope of this lesson but for simplicity sake, all minor scales have the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes lowered down a half step.  We'll have other lessons where we'll go in-depth on this. For now lets just stick to learn the D minor chord. 

Now, notice from the chord diagrams, ONLY the notes D, F, and A  are being used?  If you have another note such as a E note or a C not it is no longer a D minor chord!

That being said, you can have multiple D, F, or A notes as show in the chord diagrams. Try playing the chords but only strum a few of the notes. Notice the chord will sound "thin" if there are only one of each note. By adding in more of the same notes you make the chord have more depth. You may even think of it as a darker or lighter shade of the same color.

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