The Dm chord on the guitar


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How to play the open position Dm chord and CAGED Dm shape


Once you’ve watched the video lesson above about the Dm chord, you’ve seen all CAGED major and minor chords.

There are just two more videos, the Fm chord, and Bm chord as well, but you’ll soon see how they are just versions of previous shapes.

Let’s look at the final CAGED shape then, the Dm shape.

As an open position chord, what we all think of when we say Dm looks like this Chordacus image:

The Dm open-position chord and CAGED Dm chord shapes.
Dm chord/shape

This chord is super easy to fret. The intervals we get are root, 5th, root again, and a m3rd.

We can play only the top three strings and still have a complete chord, this is the 2nd inversion if we want to use piano language, 5th, root, and a m3rd.



Dm chord extensions

The Dm shape is the easiest to understand when it comes to extending the chord. You only need to see intervals on strings one and two.

Here are all possible Dm-shaped chord extensions:

  • Dm chord (root, 5th, root, m3rd)
  • Dm7 (root, 5th, b7, m3rd)
  • Dm7b5 (root, b5, b7, m3rd)
  • Ddim7 (root, b5, bb7, m3rd)
  • Dmmaj7 (root, 5th, 7, m3rd)
  • Dm6 (root, 5th, 6, m3rd)
  • Dm11 (root, 4th, b7, m3rd)

To properly learn all these chords, you need to first fret them all and move them around the fretboard to ensure you understand how to build them. Try the exercises in the SEPR for the best results.

It is as easy as being able to see all intervals and knowing what intervals are needed to build each chord.

Once you can do this, you need actual song examples.

Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers has a Dm7 chord, and Dream A Little Dream by Mama Cass has a dim7 in a Dm shape.



Building scales and arpeggios around the Dm chord/shape

Just like with the chord shape, the Dm shape is the easiest to play and remember due to its compact layout.

We can easily turn it into this:

Below are all intervals used to build the arpeggios and all scales around this Dm-shaped chord. If you can see all the intervals around the chord shape, you can play all these arpeggios and scales.

Again, just like with the chord shape, you need real song examples to learn how to use scales and arpeggios in context.

When you sign up for my guitar courses, we solve this by, for example, playing vocal melodies for the songs we learn. And as we do so, we do it in every shape, including this Dm shape.

All possible minor arpeggio and scale intervals using the CAGED system


The Dm Chord | Related Pages


Guitar chords

Learn all guitar chords using the CAGED system.

You can learn how to build all minor and major guitar chords using the so-called CAGED system.

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


The D chord

Open position D chord, barre chord shape and extensions

Being the smallest of all guitar chords, the open-position D chord is the easiest to understand and play.

Once you turn it into a moveable shape it becomes very difficult to fret. That’s until you start extending it to maj7, dom7, 6, sus2, etc. Now it becomes easy.



Beginner Acoustic

Many of the Beginner Acoustic Songs have a Dm chord.

This collection of beginner acoustic tunes will teach you how to arrange for one acoustic guitar, as well as how to create a supporting part.

Playing songs will help you with switching between open-position chords and give you the context you need to understand how music works theoretically.


About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this article about the Dm chord.

This article on the Dm chord was written by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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