How To Play A D Bar Chord

Want to learn the D bar chord? You’re in the right place! You’ve found the best D bar chord lesson on the web.

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 4 awesome ways to play the D bar chord.
  • 6 must-know lessons which will make your barre chords sound amazing.
  • 3 quick & easy practice tips that will boost progress.

30,000+ guitar learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

The two most common ways to play a D bar chord are:

  • D Bar Chord (E Barre Shape)
  • D Bar Chord (A Barre Shape) 

Let’s learn how to play them.

D Bar Chord (E Barre Shape)

We refer to this barre chord as the ‘E shape’ because the main structure of this chord is based off of an ‘E chord’.

To learn an E major chord, go here:4 Easy Ways To Play The E Chord On Guitar

  D_Chord_(E_Shape)_

To learn how to read guitar chords, go here: How To Read Guitar Chords: An Essential Guide 

  • Barre your first finger over the 10th fret. (You must barre over ALL the strings!)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 12th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 12th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 11th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)

D Bar Chord (A Barre Shape)

We refer to this D bar chord as the ‘A shape’ because it is based off an A chord.

To learn an A chord, go here: 3 Easy Ways To Play The A Chord On Guitar

D Barre Chord

  • Barre your 1st finger from the 5th fret of the A string (5th string) to the high E string. (1st string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 7th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 7th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 7th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)

Often, some people barre over the 7th fret with just their 3rd finger! This is a more advanced technique which can come in handy when changing chords quickly.

Why do these barre chords work?

The great thing about barre chords is that they are moveable shapes.

This means that you can use the EXACT same chord shape all over the fret board.

This works because you are changing the root note of the chord.

To change the key all you have to do is move it a different fret.

Moveable Barre Chord Shapes On The E String

To move the E shape D bar chord, you change the root note on the low E string.

Here are the root notes for the low E string:

d bar chord

For now, concentrate on moving this E shape barre chord to the following frets:

  • 3rd fret. (G note.)
  • 5th fret. (A note.)
  • 7th fret. (B note.)

On most guitars these frets are labeled by a fret marker on the side of the neck. A good way to remember each note is to think of the word ‘GAB’.

Moveable Barre Chord Shapes On The A String

To move the A shape barre chord, you must change the root note on the A string.

Here’s each note on the A string.

D Bar Chord

For now, just concentrate on moving this A shape barre chord to the following frets:

  • 3rd fret. (C note.)
  • 5th fret. (D note.)
  • 7th fret. (E note.)

These are the main major guitar chords that you must know. A good way to remember this combination of notes is to remember ‘CDE’.

To learn more about guitar notes, go here: Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginner’s

What is a barre chord?

A barre chord is a chord which uses one finger to barre over multiple strings.

Like this:

barre chord

Barre chords are used to extend your knowledge of the fret board.

Your fingers are doing the exact same job a capo would do.

To become an intermediate/advanced guitarist you must know how to play barre chords.

Quick Tip!

Most beginners spell barre chords like this, ‘bar chords’. However, the correct spelling is like this, ‘barre chords’.

How do I play barre chords?

Barre chords are the most common roadblock in a beginner guitar players journey.

However, don’t worry. We’re going to show you 6 quick & easy tips which will help you master barre chords.

Tip#1 Keep Your Thumb Behind The Neck

This is essential, your thumb must sit behind the neck.

To play barre chords correctly:

  • Keep your thumb in the center of the guitar neck.
  • Make sure your thumb nail is pointing up towards the ceiling.

Like this:

barre chords

Tip #2 Use The Side Of Your Finger

Using the side of your finger is the best way to barre chords.

You must press down with the bony side of your index finger. This will help with chord clarity.

Tip #3 Clamp Your Finger And Thumb Together

When playing barre chords clamp your fingers and thumb together.

Don’t try and use your fingers to barre chords, use your thumb and first finger together.

Think of it like this:

Imagine the motion of a clothes peg. When it’s open, it’s impossible for it to hold anything. Where as when it’s closed, it keeps the clothes tight on a line.

Think of the ends of a clothes peg as your thumb and first finger. When you bring them together, there must be enough pressure to guarantee chord clarity.

Bonus Barre Chord Tips

In this video, Mike will show you 3 awesome tips that will enhance your barre chords:

Why Should I Learn Barre Chords?

To become an intermediate/advanced guitarist, you must know how to play barre chords.

Here are a few reasons why learning barre chords is essential.

Barre Chords Enhance Your Fretboard Knowledge. 

Without barre chords, you’ll never be able to play guitar chords in ALL 12 keys.

Learning barre chords increases your knowledge of the fret board and allows you to play ANY chord.

This means that you unlock a whole new level batch of guitar songs that you couldn’t play with regular chords.

To learn easy songs, go here:10 Easy Songs On Guitar

Barre Chords Enhance Technique

Learning barre chords is a fantastic way of enhancing your dexterity and technique.

It’s a completely new technique which isn’t covered when learning open chords.

Learning barring technique WILL make you a better guitarist.

barre chords for beginners

The D Chord

Before we learn how to play the D bar chord, let’s take a look at a regular D chord.

This chord is an open chord. We refer to this as an ‘open chord’ because it uses open strings.

D Bar Chord

  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the high E string. (1st string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the B string. (2nd string.)

To learn more about the D chord, go here:3 Easy Ways To Play The D Chord On Guitar

Quick Tip!

D major chords can be written in a variety of ways, here are a few examples:

  • D Chord
  • D Bar Chord
  • D Major Chord

A chord is only ever minor, whenever the word ‘minor’ or a lower case ‘m’ is placed AFTER the chord.

For example:

  • Dm
  • D Minor

In today’s lesson, we’re going to be focusing on the D bar chord. In this case, it is a D major chord. 

Easy D Bar Chord

The easiest way to play a D bar chord is with your:

  • 1st finger barred across the G, B and E strings.

This is known as a ‘D Major 7’.

D_Maj7

If you’re new to barre chords, this chord is perfect as you only have to barre over 3 strings.

Download a free beginner chord guide and learn easy versions of every chord

 Say goodbye to frustration and twisted fingers. Say hello to MAKING MUSIC.

  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is one of our most popular guides and will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.

 

Other D Bar Chord Shapes?

The two most common D bar chord shapes are the:

  • E Shape
  • A Shape.

However, to enhance your fret board knowledge, it’s worth learning some extra D bar chord shapes.

We’re going to learn two, these are:

  • D Bar Chord (G Shape).
  • D Bar Chord (C Shape).

These barre chords are aimed at more advanced guitarists as they’re less common. However they are useful to know if you want to enhance your dexterity an technique.

Playing guitar is good for you, it’s scientifically proven. Check out this article by Guitar World to find out why: 10 Reasons Playing Guitar Is Good For Your Mind And Body

D Bar Chord (G Shape)

We refer to this as the ‘G shape’ because this chord is based on a open G chord.

To learn the G chord, go here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The G Chord On Guitar

D_Shape_(G_Shape)_

  • Place your 4th finger on the 10th fret of the low E string. (6th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 9th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Barre your first finger over the 7th fret on the D (4th string), G (3rd string), B (2nd string) and E string. (1st string.)

D Bar Chord (C Shape)

We refer to this as the C shape as this D bar chord is based on an open C chord.

To learn a C chord, go here: Easy Ways To Play The C Chord On Guitar

 

D_Bar_Chord_(C_Shape)

  • Place your 4th finger on the 5th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th fret of the D string. (3rd string.)
  • Barre your first finger over the 2nd fret of the G (3rd string), B (2nd string) and E string. (1st string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string. (1st string.)

Even though you don’t have too barre ALL of the strings, this chord can be tricky as you have to use ALL of your fingers.

Make sure you take your time with this D bar chord.

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 30,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

NGAEM

How do I practice the D Bar Chord?

We’re going to show you the two best ways to practice the D bar chord. Let’s get started.

1) Replace The Open D Chord With A Barre Chord

Here’s a top practice tip:

Any time you see a regular D chord, replace it with a D bar chord. 

This is the best way to practice barre chords.

Let’s put it into practice, here’s the chord progression from ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran.

D  D/F# |G   A |

Every time you see the ‘D Chord’ replace it with ANY D Bar chord.

Even though this isn’t what Ed plays, this is a great way to practice the D bar chord.

Practice each of your D bar chords in this order:

  • D Bar Chord. (E Shape.)
  • D Bar Chord. (A Shape.)
  • D Bar Chord. (G Shape.)
  • D Bar Chord. (C Shape.)

To mix it up, you could even throw in an open D chord.

D Barre Chord

2) Practice Changing Between Each D Bar Chord

To perfect each D bar chord shape, practice changing between each of them.

The best way to do this is to allow four beats for each chord.

You would practice them in this order.

  • D Bar Chord (D Shape)
  • D Bar Chord (C Shape)
  • D Bar Chord (A Shape)
  • D Bar Chord (G Shape)
  • D Bar Chord (E Shape)

This is great for practicing barre chords, as it enhances your dexterity and technique.

Click play to hear this cool trick in action:

What’s the best way to remember guitar chords?

Here’s a cool trick which is guaranteed to help you NEVER forget guitar chords.

Here it is:

Every time you play a chord correctly, squeeze your hand. 

This engages your muscle memory and allows you to ‘remember’ guitar chords.

It’s VITAL that the chord is correct. If you play the chord wrong and squeeze your hand, you will be teaching yourself the incorrect chord.

Follow each of these steps, BEFORE you squeeze your hand:

  • Make sure each note of the chord is clear. (You can test this by picking each individual note!)
  • Make sure it feels good. (You shouldn’t feel any pain!)
  • Make sure that it sounds great.

Once you’ve completed these steps you will be well on your way to becoming a chord master.

 

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 30,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

NGAEM

Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

 

More Cool Stuff

Learn about me & the National Guitar Academy on the About Us page.

Check out some of our free chord lessons.

We'll be launching a new Podcast soon, exciting!

I will love you forever if you 'like' our new Facebook page.

Thanks for stopping by, speak soon! 🙂

00. Mike Kennedy Profile Pic (Circle)

Mike Kennedy - National Guitar Academy Founder

Enter your email address to learn our best guitar tips and tricks today!