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How To Play A D Major Chord On Guitar

D major is an important chord for guitar players. The D shape is one of the shapes used to build the CAGED system and is used in countless songs. It can also be part of the classic “4 chords” that allow you to play many different songs on the fly. D is a little harder than some of the others in the progression as you have to avoid hitting the top two strings while strumming.

Having your fingers bunched close together in the style that is required for a D chord can be a little uncomfortable at first for some newbies. After a while, it will get a lot easier and will become a second nature shape for you to make.

D Chord

Taking a look at the chord diagram above, we can see that the top two strings have an X above them. That means they are to be muted or not played at all. 

We need to follow these steps to create the standard open chord D shape.

  1. Place your first finger on the second fret of the G string
  2. Place your third finger on the third fret of the B string
  3. Place your second finger on the second fret of the high e string
  4. Stum only the bottom 4 strings.

You can create a 5th chord by not having your third finger on the fretboard. This can be used if you are having trouble. It is also nice to be able to switch between a D major and a D5.

A common addition in many songs for a D chord is to use your pinky on the 3rd fret of the high e string. This is known as a Dsus4. Hammering on and off between a standard D chord, a Dsus4, and/or D5 is very common in popular music. One classic example of this is Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie. 

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