Tag Archives: music theory

How to play a Dm explained in three simple steps

Are you ready for some basic chord action? We know we are. Last week we showed you how to play a D chord. This time we’re introducing its little brother: the D minor. Grab your guitar and read on for further instructions.

Playing the guitar as a beginner means you’re going to enter a world of fun, action and hurt. Pressing down strings isn’t something your fingers are used to. So, check out this blog for some tips. It’s important to keep your eyes on the price. So, with that in mind, pick up your guitar and prepare for yourself for some D-minor action.

Step 1 – Tune your guitar

As always the first step is tuning your guitar. You just can’t do without this. For a standard tuning just use a tuner, or an application for your phone like KARANG.

Step 2 – Take a look at the Dm diagram

To learn a chord you have to know where to position your fingers on the fretboard. Now this isn’t something you have to figure out on your own. Just take a look at the chord diagram of the Dm and you’ll find every bit of information you need. Check it out below. 

On this picture you see a part of the guitar neck. The vertical lines from left to right are the strings E, A, D, G, B, e (strings are counted from bottom to top, so the high e is the first string and the low E the sixth). You can also see transparent circles at the top. These indicate the strings you need to play open. The number 1 indicates on which fret the chord is located.

Step 3 – Position your fingers

The position of your fingers is indicated by the numbers in the thick black circles. Check out the picture below: 1 indicates your index finger, 2 your middle finger, 3 your ring finger, and 4 your little finger. Now it’s time to grab that guitar and turn this theory into action.

As you can see, you have to position your middle finger on the second fret of the third string (the G string). Your index finger goes to the first fret of the first string (the E string). The Dm chord is complete when you’ve positioned your ring finger on the third fret of the second string (the B string). 

Ready, steady? Yeah? Ring that Dm chord, starting from the D string! Congrats, you just added the Dm to your basic chords skills.

Step 4 (bonus) – The theory behind the Dm?

Playing the Dm feels good, doesn’t it? You’re standing on a crossroads now, and the big question is: what’s your next move rockstar? If you can’t wait another minute to start jamming to songs in Dm click here. Or – and this goes for the curious people amongst you – read on to understand why a D chord is played as such according to the music theory. Don’t sweat it, this isn’t a trick question and there’s no right or wrong answer. So what’s it going to be?

Oh yes, you’re still here. Great! Ready or not, here comes the music theory storm. Each basic chord we discuss consists of a number of basic elements: the root, the third note (third), the fifth note (fifth), and the eighth note (octave).

The octave and the root are the same tone, only they differ in pitch. The fifth provides the power in the triad by supporting it harmonically. The third indicates whether a chord is major or minor. This says something about the mood that the chord sets — major often sounds cheerful and minor sounds a little less happy.

Step 5 (bonus) – The scale of Dm

Why do we give the notes within a chord such strange numbers? Well, that’s because these notes come from the scale of the relevant key. For example, the scale of the Dm is made up of D (1), E (2), F (3), G (4), A (5), Bb (6), C (7) and D (8). Note the numbers behind the tones. The 1 is the root, the 3 is the third, the 5 is your fifth and the 8 is the root played at a higher pitch, which we also call — as already explained — the octave.

Now take another look at the Dm chord diagram. Which tones do you actually use from the scale? You strum a D, an A, a D and an F — so root, fifth, octave and third. Makes sense, right? For more complex chord constructions see this blog post. Now forget all that theoretical mumbo jumbo for a moment. Here are some tracks to practice your skills. Happy jamming!