HOW TO PLAY
The Dm Chord
One this page, you'll learn the easiest way to play the Dm chord on guitar for beginners. Plus, why you only need four strings to play it.
The D minor chord is one of the first chords beginners find outside of their comfort zone of C, G, Em, and Am. The good news is, it's really easy to play. Just like the D Major chord, you'll be using three fingers, and playing just the highest four strings:
STEP BY STEP
How to play a D Minor chord on the guitar
- Put your first finger on the first fret of the first string.
- Put your second finger on the second fret of the third string.
- Put your third finger on the third fret of the second string.
- Strum only the highest four strings.
What about the other two strings?
A guitar has six strings, but you're only playing four. Why?
The simple answer: because you only need four.
The complicated answer? Let's learn a little bit about music theory. There are two things you need to know.
A Little Bit about Music Theory
Chords are built out of notes. When you put your fingers on the frets of a guitar, you change the notes each of those strings is playing.
The notes we need for the Dm guitar chord are D, F, and A. That's what your fingers are doing. On the lowest, thinnest string, you're putting your finger on the first fret to change the note from an E to an F. On the second string, you're putting your finger on the third fret to change that note from a B to a D. And on the third string, you're putting your finger on the second fret to change that note from a G to an A.
The string just below that one, the fourth string? It's already a D. We can just play it.
With these four strings, we have all the notes we need to play the Dm chord guitar.
Simple Music Theory Thing #1: Put the D in the lowest note.
But wait: the note on the fifth string is an A. That sounds OK, doesn't it? Yep. And you can play it that way if you want. But, while you're learning, try to keep the lowest note you play the same as the name of the chord. D minor. Keep D in the bass. That will help the chord sound like you expect it to.
Simple Music Theory Thing #2: Don't play notes that don't fit.
The sixth string, that's an E, which you won't find anywhere in the notes of our D minor chord. So don't play it—it'll sound funny.
As you learn more, you'll learn when you can break these rules (and even how breaking them can sound really, really nice). But, for now, just remember:
- Only play the notes that make up the chord you're trying to play and
- Unless you have a reason not to, try to make the lowest note you play the same as the root key of the chord you're playing.
More Easy Chords to Learn
If you haven't checked out our guide with the easiest way to play the F chord, you really should—Dm is often played together with F:
And, while you're at it, make sure you've got your C and Bb chords down—those are played with Dm all the time: