The D chord on the guitar

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You can learn how to play the open position D chord and CAGED D shape!

This may seem like the final video in the series as we are spelling out CAGED and we’ve done C, A, G, and E already but we’re not actually there yet.

We’re also going to look at F and B, and then we have all the minor CAGED chords to explore as well.

Saying that, in many ways, this is the last chord, hopefully, you’ll soon see why this is the case.

Let’s start with the easy stuff, the open position D chord, and also, as a D shape, starting on fret 12. Here it’s displayed as a Chordacus image.

Open position D chord/shape

D chord extensions

The D chord is the easiest to understand when we extend it due to its compact layout and therefore fewer options.

You have two notes to manipulate, the root on string 2 and the 3rd on string 1.

These are the potential extensions for a D-shaped chord. If you can see all intervals around the D shape, you can play all these chords.

  • D major chord (root, 5th, root, 3rd)
  • Dsus2 (root, 5, root, 2)
  • Dsus4 (root, 5, root, 4)
  • D7sus4 (root, 5, b7, 4)
  • Dmaj7 (root, 5, 7, 3)
  • D7 (root, 5, b7, 3)
  • D6 (root, 5, 6, 3)
  • D6/9 (root, 3, 6, 9)
  • Dmaj9 (root, 5, 7, 9)
  • D9 (root, 3, b7, 9)
  • D7#9 (root, 3, b7, #9)
  • D7b9 (root, 3, b7, b9)

As with all chords, you can’t just practice these in isolation and memorize them, instead, you must experience them in real songs.

You must move around the neck and build guitar parts using the CAGED system.

Here are some songs from the beginner and intermediate acoustic courses that use a D chord, or a D-shaped chord.

Redemption Song, Rewind (2nd guitar), Robin Hood, Taking About A Revolution, Time Of Your Life, Wonderwall, Hey There Delilah, Mad World, Blowin’ In The Wind, Babylon, Whistle For The Choir.

Perhaps the best song for D shape practice is Soul Man, from the intermediate electric course.

Building scales and arpeggios around the D chord/shape

There are more things you can do to this D shape. Just like with all CAGED shapes, we can turn it into two arpeggios, a Major Pentatonic, Ionian (the major scale), Lydian, and Mixolydian.

Below are all intervals used to build these arpeggios and scales around the D-shaped chord.

If you can see all intervals around the chord shape, you can play all these arpeggios and scales.

Maj7 ArpeggioR357
Dom7 ArpeggioR35b7
Major PentatonicR2356
Major ScaleR234567

The D chord | Related pages

Guitar chords

Learn how to build minor and major guitar chords using the CAGED system.

This is the foundation upon which we learn to extend chords and build arpeggios and modes as well.

Guitar chords.

The Dm chord

As the smallest of all minor CAGED chords, the Dm is very easy to fret and understand.

Even as a barre chord shape, it’s all very clear how to build any chord, arpeggio, or mode using the Dm chord shape.

The Dm chord.

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