How to Play D7 Minor Chord on Guitar

In today's lesson, we'll go over 7 distinct ways to play the Dm7 guitar chord, also known as the D minor seventh chord.

This guitar chord is built from the D minor scale and is similar to the D minor chord but adds in the seventh interval, making it a four-note chord. The extra note creates a distinct sound that sounds a bit sweet and romantic.

Throughout this lesson, we'll discover common positions, voicings, and recommend finger placements, each with its own chord diagram. We'll also discuss the chord theory, chord names, how the chord can be used, easy songs to practice, and some tips and tricks so that the notes ring out.

Dm7 Guitar Chord in Open Position

dm7 open position 1

To play the Dm7 in an open position:

Place your middle finger on the third string, second fret
Then, your first finger on the first fret of the second string
At last, make sure your middle finger presses in and presses your index finger to the side so that it frets strings 1 and 2

As you can see from the chord diagram, this is a two-string barre chord in the root position where the root note is the d note played on the d string open. Strum the top four strings.

You can also think of it as playing a regular D minor chord but lifting off your ring finger and barring the first two strings.

How to Play Dm7 with Barre Chords?

dm7 barre chord

The easiest way to play the Dm7 guitar chord also happens to be a barre chord! Yes, you heard that right. Some barre chords are difficult, but others are quite easy, and this barre chord only uses one finger to play all four chord notes!

To play, place your:
Index finger on the fourth string, 10th fret, and then lay your finger to the side and press down across all four strings.

As this Dm7 guitar chord is higher up on the guitar neck, it also makes it easier to play.

Technically, this would be a slash chord written as Dm7/C. This means, play the dm7 chord, but have the C note as the bass note. You can see from the chord diagram that the lowest note is the C note.

dm7 with em7 shape

Dm7 Guitar Chord With Em7 Shape

Building off the easy Dm7 guitar chord we just learned, this barre chord will use all six strings. To play, use the following fingering position:

Index finger on the low e string (6th string), 10th fret

Ring finger on the 5th string, 12th fret

Then, as you squeeze in, press your index finger to the side so that all the strings ring out, especially the G string and the high e string. (These tend not to want to ring out if you apply pressure wrong)

This voicing will give you a nice full sound as you use all the strings and are in the root position.

dm7 with am7 shape

Dm7 Guitar Chord With Am7 Shape

To play the Dm7 guitar chord in this voicing:

Place your index finger on the 5th string, 5th fret

Then, your ring finger on the 3rd string, 7th fret

At last, your middle finger on the 2nd (b) string, 6th fret

dm7 with am7 version 2

Another voicing very similar to this one that guitarists often use is that they add the pinky to the high e string on the 8th fret. This also happens to be that seventh interval that turns the d minor chord into a Dm7 chord!

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Dm7 Guitar Chord (Exotic)

dm7 exotic voicing 1

Here, I want to give you a few more voicings that aren't as common due to their difficulty. If you're into jazz and blues, they may be right up your alley!

Voicing #1:

Place your middle finger on the B string (second string), 13th fret
Your ring finger on the high e-string, 13th fret
Your index finger on the D string, 12th fret
And your pinky on the G string, 14th fret

Strum from the 4th string down!

If you run into a song that needs the Dm7 and you sense that it needs a softer sound or want to outline the chord when playing the blues, this is a great choice because it's higher up on the guitar fretboard.

dm7 exotic voicing 2

Voicing #2

To play, place your:

1st finger on the 4th string, 4th fret
3rd finger on 3rd string, 5th fret
4th finger on 1st string, 5th fret

Now barre with your index finger across strings 2, 3, and 4, and then strum from the 5th string down

As you can see from the diagram, we are strumming the A string open and barring! This would also be considered Dm7/A, meaning playing the Dm7 chord but having the A note in the bass.

Minor 7th Chord Tips 

Tip #1

The #1 mistake guitar players make in learning how to play new chords is that they don't memorize them. If you have to constantly look at where to place your fingers, your mind/body won't develop proper coordination. Focus on learning just a few chords at a given time.

Tip #2

To learn the Dm7, play the chord very slowly so that all your fingers attack the strings simultaneously. Your chord changes will always be slow if you place your fingers on the fretboard one at a time.

Tip #3

Even though I have written the Dm7 as the Em7 or Am7 "shape," I would highly recommend not to think or refer to them like this.

Yes, I know it's common for an early intermediate guitarist (which is why I used it), but when speaking a language, you don't translate as you speak; you just say the word. Similarly, thinking of "Am7 shape" or "Em7 shape" causes mental clutter.

It seems small, but the more mental clutter you have when you play, the more negative impact it will have on your playing.

Easy Songs That Use Bm7 Chord

The Foo Fighters - Everlong

Why Is A Chord Called D Minor Seventh Chord? 

To understand how a chord gets its name, we need to understand a little music theory and what's going on inside the chord. So now, let's look at what notes make the minor seventh chord. 

The notes of a chord are derived from its corresponding scale. In this case, The Dm7 chord or D minor 7 is a four-note chord derived from the D minor scale. D E F G A Bb C D

When you number the notes of a scale, they are called SCALE DEGREES. So to make a Dm7 chord, we need the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th "degrees."

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

All minor chords use the 1, b3, and 5 notes of their corresponding scale, and the minor 7th simply adds in one more note- the 7!

When these four notes are being played harmonically (played at the same time), you are playing a Dm7 chord.

You may be wondering why did you add a "b" (flat) to the 3, 6, and 7 degrees of the scale? This is beyond the scope of this lesson, but for simplicity's sake, all minor scales have the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes lowered down a half step compared to the major scale. We'll have other lessons to go in-depth on this, but let's just stick to learning the Dm7 chord for now. 

Also, notice from the guitar chord diagrams I provided ONLY the following notes: D, F, A, and C are present. If you have another note, such as an E or Bb note, it is no longer a D minor 7 chord!

That being said, you can have multiple D F A C notes, as shown in the chord diagrams, and they can be in any order. Listen how the different voicings sound, they are the same but slightly different. Think of it as different shades of the same color.

Now, you know how to play the Dm7 guitar chord in many different positions, focus on memorizing a few voicings, and then put them to practice by playing songs that use the Dm7. I have listed various songs below for you to check out.

How to use the Bm7 guitar chord

By now, you've learned there are different types of guitar chords, but there are also different types of seventh chords! There are minor seventh, dominant seventh (sometimes called a dominant chord), major seventh, & minor major seventh chords...

The Dm7 chord can be used as a chord substitution for the D minor chord. For example, In the key of C major, the basic chords are C, Dm, Em, G, Am, Bdim, and F chords.

If we take a chord progression like C G Dm F, we can create a way to make the music flow even smoother by playing C G Dm7 F.

The reason is that the Dm7 adds an F note, and the F major chord uses note F A C. These two chords share two common tones. Dm7 (D F A C) and F major (F A C).

If you need help learning other chords mentioned or want to learn the theory of these other guitar chords, click here to go to the chord library.

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