The D Minor Chord

The Dm is pretty different from the D Chord, but I made it all easy for you! :)

View the full lesson at The D Minor Chord | JustinGuitar

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It may be OK to start using the 4th finger on the B string - it’s good for beginners to get practice using their 4th finger. However, I would highly suggest making a Dm chord using your 3rd finger long term. Using the 3rd finger on the B string gives you the anchor finger that you need to switch to a D chord (and many other chords yet to be taught like a G chord). The ability to make the same chord using multiple different finger patterns often comes in handy depending on the song you are playing.


I also learned using the 3rd finger on the B string and while I’m not oppopsed to change, if the only advantage is that your fingers are less crowded (I have large hands anyway) I can’t see a reason to switch?

Hello @brownjars and thank you for your comment. There are many good reasons to use 4th finger. And for using 3rd too. Although the anchor suggestion is not such a strong one as there are not many occasions when you will be changing Dm to D nor Dm to G.
One aspect of using 4th is that your 3rd finger becomes free and available to play bass notes on other strings. Check Justin’s lesson on Imagine at 4mins 50s Imagine by John Lennon |

Cheers :blush:
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For me, using the third finger is much easier than using the fourth. But it might be good to give the pinky some practice! But then again, it’s easier to move to the D chord if I use the third finger.


I have small hands and The Dm was a little awkward at first , but wasn’t as hard to learn as I thought. I’m playing it clean pretty much every time now (1,2,4 fingering), and though clumsy with the chord changes I am improving.
D , the first chord that we learned is another story. My curse from day 1 and I’ve been into this for months. Sometimes I can get it to sound good, but it always sounds bad during chord changes.
However, I just discovered by fingering Dm and sliding finger 1 down a fret plays a perfect D chord. It’s actually easier to finger than the Dm because I don’t have to stretch as much.
Should I just give up trying to finger the D chord the traditional way and just play it this new way? Will this hurt me in any way further into this guitar journey?

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Hi John sounds to me you are having a common beginner issue with muting the low e string with your ring finger when you play D chord using fingers 2 3 1. Just push your wrist a bit forward, fret with a tip of your finger rather than in the middle of it and it should ring out fine. Using your suggested fingering seems a bit uncomfortable and there are not many occasions where you will be switching over from Dmin to D and other way around, therefore you won’t have time to slide over from D min if you change from other chord like E.

Patience, hard work, mixture of Perfect changes with One minute changes between A E and D and you’ll get there. Also pick some simple songs using A D E, if you are struggling with D my feedback is that you should stick at A D E chords only at least for a while longer before you touch Dmin.

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No. Please don’t ingrain that bad habit. It will do you a big disservice in the long run. You really do not want to have to unlearn the habit of finger 1 on high string and finger 2 of G string for a D chord. Stick at it. Make micro adjustments. When your finger ends harden up a little the flesh will squash out a little less and the issue of adjacent string muting will go away.

Cheers :smiley:
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If you just can not get the Dm chord and have tried with frustration, can you use D chord in its place

@Sloveless welcome to the community Sandy.
No you can’t interchange the Dm chord with D.
Dm has a minor 3rd and D has a Major 3rd. This is what
gives the distinctive sound to these 2 different chords.

Have you tryed playing Dm with your pinky finger on the
B string?

Hi Sandy, welcome!

Dm is a tricky one, for sure. My first reaction was something along the lines of “yeah, uhmmm… nope! My fingers won’t do that!” That was also my second reaction. And third. :slight_smile:

My advice on it is not to stress too much about that one. You do want to get those fingers to learn to play it eventually, but do a little cost/benefit analysis on this one and don’t let it derail you too much.

I definitely spent some time working on it but moved forward without really being able to say I had mastered it by any means. What will happen is that if you diligently practice and do finger stretching exercises and learn other new chords your fingers will gain dexterity and strength. You’ll come back to Dm again in a few weeks and you’ll be closer to being able to play it. Your fingers won’t be quite as angry and uncooperative. Practice it for a few days, then move on again. Keep coming back to it every few weeks. You’ll get it.

Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting you should casually go off track and skip modules, because most of the time that is a mistake. I am saying that one you hit a wall of frustration that is making you question whether this guitar thing is for you, it is ok to move on to something else for awhile as long as you commit to circling back.

@stitch suggests trying your pinky finger on the 2nd string, and I’ve seen others suggest the same. That works well for some people; it just made my fingers completely confused!

Lastly, congratulations on picking up the guitar and finding Justin’s site. You’ve found a great instructor with a really fantastic structured course, and it’s even free! How cool is that? There is a tradition here in the community for newcomers to stop by the #community-hub:introduce-yourself topic and say howdy to the community and tell everyone a little bit about yourself. People like to hear a little bit of your unique story - what made you decide to start on this guitar journey, how long you have played, what kind of music you like, whether you have any specific goals, what kind of guitar you play, stuff like that. You will be warmly welcomed. Everyone is here to help each other along and share advice and experience in a judgement free, positive way. So it’s certainly not mandatory, but encouraged to introduce yourself. Whadda ya got to lose, eh? :slight_smile:

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Hello @Sloveless welcome to the Community.

D major and D minor just happen to have the letter D in their names and share a couple of notes. Butt hey are different chords and will be used in different ways, in different songs. You absolutely need both to move forwards and progress as a guitarist. It may be causing issues - and some chords do cause issues for everyone - but they have to be negotiated and overcome.
Good luck with it.

Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

After several days of trying to use the 4th finger with absolutely pathetic results (my 4th finger keeps laying down muting the 1st string), I’ve switched to using my 3rd finger with much better results. Will this hurt my playing in the long run?

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Welcome to the community David
No it won’t hurt your playing it perfectly OK to use your ring finger.
but you will have to use your pinky for lots of other things so using it does help straighten it.

Hello and welcome @drc726
Further down the line there are some songs that require you to have your 3rd finger spare for other bass notes on a Dm chord.
In the early stages it is not pivotal,

I’ve been having exactly the same problem with this .
Is it safe to assume that it’s worth learning/ mastering both fingering patterns eventually then? Playing the B with the 3rd finger almost feels natural but 4th finger feels crowded and like I’m fighting myself. Might just get it out if the way now though if it’s required.

Hello @Paulstation welcome to the Community.

Yes, my view is to learn both.
Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

Justin talks about taking your hand off the frets for chord perfect practise. I’ve been changing chord as it has the same effect and gets those finger positions more deeply ingrained.

Hi Nick, a little later in the lessons Justin will introduce “Perfect Fast Changes” which is a combination of chord perfect and one minute changes. That’s a lot like what you are talking about, I think. The key to all of it is building muscle memory, so that’s what you are already working on, and it is a good thing.

I see this is your first post - feel free to introduce yourself over here on the #community-hub:introduce-yourself topic. Say howdy, tell us a little about yourself, what brings you to Justin’s course and the Community, what kind of music you want to play, etc. I promise you’ll be greeted warmly. A lot of us find this Community as useful as Justin’s lessons.

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Hi @nickc744 and welcome to the community.
You’re learning Dm so now have met six chords - A, E, D and Am, Em, Dm.
This advice is a little beyond the sort of practice Justin suggests but does tie in with what you describe that you are doing. See if it is of any help. Or store it for later as you progress.
This takes the idea you have already met and stretches it out a little to address the chord formation in songs when you need to be able to change to and from it.

To improve the Dm chord formation, try this:

  • Hold your fingers near to but not touching the strings.
  • Touch the fingers where the chord is but do not press.
  • Once you have all three touching at the correct place then press them down.
  • Do not strum - this is a fretting hand exercise only.
  • Release the pressure after a few seconds but keep touching the strings.
  • Then move your hand away from the strings by a small amount. All fingers away.
  • Repeat the process.

Then, to improve changes to and from the Dm chord and other commonly grouped chords, repeat the above process with one alteration. After the final step of lifting all fingers away, the next cycle would be over the chord that you are changing to. Once that chord has been done and fingers are lifted away, go back to the first chord of the pair. Wash, rinse, repeat.
1 minute - Dm alone
1 minute - Dm & Am
1 minute - Dm and Em
1 minute - Dm and Am
1 minute - Dm alone

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:

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