How To Play The D Major Scale on Guitar

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This article you are about to read is all about the D major chord or simply called the D chord. It is one of the five foundational guitar chord shapes. All across the globe, anyone trying to learn the guitar, one of the first very chords and shapes he/she practices is the D chord.

This chord makes an appearance in many, many, many songs. To name a few, I would say Lean On Me by Bill Withers, Desire by U2, and I’ve Got A Feelin’ - The Beatles, etc. Today, we will learn all about the D major chord.



The D major chord is in the key of D, as the name itself tells you. To attach a single emotion to a musical connotation isn’t the objective thing to do as music is pretty subjective, but it is widely accepted that songs in Major keynotes tend to sound more pleasant and happy, whereas the songs in the Minor keynotes seem to be slow and gloomy in comparison.

This isn’t a hard rule but just a general rule of thumb. Exceptions are always there. However, try picking any sad songs, and you will realize that almost every popular song is played in the key of D. Fun fact: Did you know that D is the third most popular key used in all songs on Spotify.

So, yeah, it is quite relevant and used throughout the music industry.

The beauty of the D (that is a pun, yes):

The Key of the D is one of the most uplifting and happy sounds out there. It was called the “the key of glory” in the Baroque period. It is used not only in most modern songs, but composers of classical music used to play their songs in this key. Big names too like Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky, and more. Fun fact: Tin whistles were only playable in D.

Another major reason why this is a beautiful key is that it has a simple tone. Most people tend to sing whilst playing the guitar. It isn’t, however, easy to master both vocals and the guitar simultaneously. So, for people who are yet to achieve a broad vocal range, the notes in the key of D, high and low, are comparatively easier to hit without cracking up your voice. If you ever wish to sound better than you sing, play something in D.

How to play the D Major Chord on guitar

The D major chord is one of the easiest chords to play out there. Every beginner learns the D chord. In my experience, the 4 chords that you are taught first are the D, A, C, and E. These are what I teach my students, and most of them are able to get it right without much issue. The reason why this chord is so easy to play is because of the standard tuning (EADGBE). 

When your guitar is tuned to E-A-D-G-B-E, you only require 3 fingers to play this chord as the rest are open notes. Another advantage is that you use your main three fingers: Index, Middle, and Ring. These are our strongest fingers, so you do not have to struggle all that much. Enough overview, here is how you play the D major chord:

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  • Make sure your guitar is tuned in Standard Tuning (EADGBE).
  • You are going to be using your Index, Middle. and Ring fingers.
  • Start from the down up, use your Middle finger to press down on the 2nd fret of the High E string (the 1st string from the bottom).
  • Now, with your index finger, you press down on the 2nd fret of the G string (the 3rd string).
  • For the final sequence, use your middle finger to press down the 3rd fret of the B string (the 2nd string)
  • Once you have the fretting hand figured, with your right hand/strumming hand, play each individual string and make sure all of them are playing. No string should be blocked neither should they create a buzzing sound


The above is how you can play the simplest version, the open version, of the D major chord. There are many different ways of playing it, and each version has its own special touch. If you are at the level where you can play bar chords, give that a shot. D major chord is one of the easiest chords to play as it doesn’t have a complicated shape, neither does it require immense strength. Anyways, I hope this article helped you out. Thank you for reading!

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