How to Play the Dm Guitar Chord Correctly: 3 Easy Ways

The Dm guitar chord is a really cool chord to know, but my students find it hard to play because it requires a different hand position to a standard D chord. Let’s look at how we can make this easier!

In this free lesson you will learn:

  • How to play the Dm guitar chord correctly
  • Two easy 2-finger alternatives for the Dm guitar chord
  • A dark and moody version of the Dm guitar chord

Over 100,000 guitar-learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

The standard way to play the Dm guitar chord

In its standard form, the D minor guitar chord (usually written as “Dm”) looks like this:


(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

As you can see the Dm guitar chord is a 3-finger chord which needs you to play across 3 different frets. This makes it hard for beginner guitarists who are making the step up from easy chords like Em, Cmaj7 and Asus.

All of my students find the Dm guitar chord tough to play when they first encounter it, so don’t worry if you struggle with it too! It’s worth persevering with because it’s a chord that crops up often. It’s good to get it under your belt near the start of your guitar journey if possible.

An easy 2-finger alternative for the D minor guitar chord

An easy alternative to the Dm guitar chord is to play Dsus2 which looks like this:


Dm guitar chord

NOTE: Dsus2 is a very useful chord to know as it will often sound ok in the place of any D chord.

As you can see Dsus2 (the ‘sus’ is an abbreviated way of saying ‘suspended’) only requires two fingers to play and the hand shape is easier to form than a full Dm chord.

Our goal is for you to be able to play the Dm guitar chord in its full form as soon as possible. However in the early days of your guitar journey (under 30 hours of practice) you will find it too challenging so we’re going to use Dsus2 as a stepping stone to get you to the full Dm guitar chord.

Does that make sense? I hope so! 🙂

Learn 12 EASY beginner chords with our popular guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly! 😎

Get your own personalised guitar-learning plan 🎸

Get a custom guitar-learning plan here: Click here for GuitarMetrics™

World-Class Guitar Courses 🌎

Learn from the world's best guitar educators: Click here for our guitar courses

An important point

You must use fingers 2 and 3 when using Dsus2 as an alternative to the Dm guitar chord. This will ensure you get used to having finger 1 free which you will need to if you want to play a proper Dm.

Can you see what we’re doing here? We’re ‘training’ your hand to get accustomed to the Dm shape in stages.

After a few weeks of playing Dsus2 with fingers 2 and 3, you will find it fairly easy to add finger 1 on and turn this into a full Dm chord, like this:


I hope you can see the logic in this and can resist the temptation to play Dsus2 with fingers 1 and 2 which will be your natural urge! You have more control over fingers 1 and 2, so it’s understandable that you’ll want to use them – my students do it all the time! 🙂

It’s important for you to resist that urge if you want to have good long-term technique. By following my instructions in using the correct fingers you will be planting seeds now for a better future as a guitarist.

A straightforward alternative to the Dm guitar chord

A very simple alternative to the D minor guitar chord is to simply use a standard D chord. It’s not ideal, but it’s a quick-fix that’s passable. Unlike other major/minor variants, you can actually use a D major in place of D minor without too much damage to the song.

guitar chords for beginners

Give it a try. Sure, it doesn’t sound ideal, but while you’re developing your guitar skills to a level where you can play a standard Dm, it can do a decent job.

An interesting 2-finger version of the Dm guitar chord

This unusual D voicing (it’s called “Dadd4”) gives you an open sounding alternative to the Dm guitar chord and as you can see, it will also train your hand to keep finger 2 free.

You can add finger 2 on to make this a full D minor guitar chord after a few weeks’ practice.

D minor guitar chord

As you can see this is also a 2-finger chord but it has a different personality to Dsus2. Try them both. Can you hear the difference?

The Best Easy Versions Of This Chord

A dark & moody version of the Dm guitar chord

This bass-heavy version of Dm sounds very dark. Unlike some of the other alternatives here, this is actually a pure Dm guitar chord. It sounds very muddy compared to the standard form of the Dm guitar chord, but it IS a D minor and would work well for dark metal sounds and heavier genres. Dm works well in most rock jams too.

Here are some other cool-sounding Dm chords

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The Quiz

Join the world's best online guitar school 🌎

  • Get your own personalised guitar learning plan (customised just for YOU).
  • World-class online guitar courses. Learn at your own pace.
  • Community Campus & Learning Forum -  A friendly community! Connect with our team & students. 😊
  • Beginner Song library with chordsheets, tabs and tips. (Songs suitable for all levels!)
  • Regular live streams, seminars and Q&A sessions - Learn from world-class guitar educators. Get all your questions answered!

Click here to learn more about National Guitar Academy membership

Cool Guitar T-shirts 😎

Look cooler! Check out our merch: Click here to see our merch store

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

Join over 100,000 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.

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about National Guitar Academy: About Us

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.

Get our best guitar tips & videos

Where should we send it?

Get our best guitar tips & videos

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