Posted by: worshipguitarguy | October 13, 2008

Worship Guitar Chords Exposed!: The Key of D

There is nothing quite as blissful as the D chord forms on the guitar. 

The D chord forms are some of the most useful for a guitarist.  In fact, some beginner guitar players stick so much with G and E that they don’t take advantage of the flexibility that D gives them until much later on their journey.  So why are D chord forms so valuable?  Well, a big reason is because you can easily finger many variations that add color to your tone.  I find D position chords to be the most flexible out of the CAGED chord positions.  As an electric guitarist, many of my rhythmic lead parts somehow revolve around D positions chords. 

For acoustic guitar players, the Key of D works well in “dark” or “brooding” songs, where there’s a touch of optimism or brightness.  A couple great examples of these chord forms in use are “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble” by Delirious, and “The Wonderful Cross” by Tomlin/Redman/Watts.  In both songs, the chords sit above a dark and droning synth part.  Also, both “Enough” and “We Fall Down” by Chris Tomlin are actually played with D position chords, although the guitar is capo’ed.  

D major:
D major is your index finger on the G string second fret, your middle finger on the high E string second fret, and your ring finger on the B string third fret.  Playing the chord this way is important because it gives your fingers room to move around quite a bit to create variations extremely easily. D major MP3 
G major:
For me, using the G major I showed you in the G position chord lesson seems to work the best, (again index finger A string second fret, middle finger low E string third fret, and ring and pinky fingers on the B and high E strings at the third fret.)  However, if your more comfortable, you can play a three finger G which will also work fine.  (ring finger high E string third fret, middle finger low E string third fret, and index finger A string second fret.) G major MP3 
A major:
A always seems to be a tough chord for beginning guitarists to get, since it involves cramming so many fingers into one space.  The traditional way to fret an A chord is to place your index, middle and ring fingers at the third fret on the D, G, and B strings respectively.  However, this often turns into an exercise in torture as there’s so little space for so many fingers.  Some guitarists fret this chord by just putting their index finger over all three strings and barring, or clamping down on them, and muting the high E string.  I actually use both of these methods, the one I use depends on the song I’m playing and the chord transitions around the A chord.  A major MP3
B minor 6:
This is a huge “cheat” for a B minor because it doesn’t involve playing a B minor bar chord.  However, it does sound tonally interesting, so I don’t feel guilty at all for using it.  I play it by placing my index finger on the A string second fret, my middle finger on the high E string second fret and my ring finger on the B string, third fret. B minor 6 MP3
E minor:
This is a standard open position E minor and is pretty easy to play.  Just place your middle and ring fingers on the A and D strings at the second fret, and there you are. E minor MP3
The first important slash chord is the D/F# chord.  It’s often a transition between the G chord and an Em7 chord.  Some guitarists struggle with it so they play an alternate version with their ring finger on the B string, third fret, their middle finger on the high e string, second fret, their index finger on the low E string, second fret, they then let the G string ring open. I fret the chord a bit differently by simply holding down a traditional D major chord and wrapping my thumb over the top of the neck to fret the low E string at the second fret.  D/F# MP3 
The A/C# is a difficult chord for many guitar players to play.  One way to play it is to place their index finger over the D, G, and B strings (barring it) and using your pinky to hold down the A string at the fourth fret.  It’s a bit tough to make transitions to and from this chord so you will want to practice it. A/C# MP3

D-A-Bm-G MP3
This is an example of a 1-5-6m-4 chord progression just like in the previous two lessons, except this is in the key of D.  By listening to this and then playing the same examples in the G and E lessons, you’ll hear the difference in the “voicings” of each chord position set.

D Arpeggiated Chords MP3
Arpeggiated chords are chords where the notes are picked individually instead of being strummed.  Here’s a little variation I had fun with by playing an electric guitar with delay.  The chord progression is D – D2 – G – A. 

Just for reference, this is played with a Fender Strat with the pickup selector in the “bridge-mid” position.  The background effects are just three layers stacked on top of one another, one with an Ebow on a D note, another with an Ebow on a G note, and the third is an acoustic guitar playing the same notes, but with reverb and delay effects turned up quite high.



  1. i love the key of D (and the chord form in general).

    other ways i play D/F#:

    –2— (alternative: x or 5. or 0 for a D2)

    good stuff!

  2. Ebow? in the last paragraph…what’s that about?

  3. Hey Walt, in the last track there’s a pad synth like sound droning underneath the main guitar part. I created that “extra texture” by playing constant D and G notes on an ebow ( ) They’re both in separate tracks that I then put in the mix, (panned to one side I believe) I then also recorded an acoustic guitar part doing the same thing as the electric, and added about 100% reverb and an analog dotted eighth delay to it, so there was no initial “pick attack” just the reverb and sustain following it.

  4. I use three ways to play the G. The 4-finger G you have listed above. Then, the three finger like you mentioned.

    Depending on the chord progressions in a song, I might use the three finger using the middle, ring and pinky fingers (the bottom three fingers). This makes switching to a C easy.

  5. hahh, nice info………

    thx for info

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  7. Thanks, this is helpful. I study a different key each day. Today being the second day of the week (Monday) I’m studying D

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