Open chords in key of D w/ major & minor triads
Lesson #214 • Feb 9, 2019
Instructional PDF 2 pages
Follow along with the print-friendly PDF! It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.
Thanks for being a Premium member of Song Notes! Your support makes these lessons possible.Download PDF
Follow along with the print-friendly PDF!
It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.
To download the PDF, upgrade to premium or log in.
In this lesson, I’ll show you how you can warm-up by playing triads for all of the major & minor chords in the key of D – while only using the thinnest three strings. By doing this can keeping the 4th string (note of D) open, this could be seen as a way of “faking” open chords. The result is bunch of building blocks (triads!) that you can freely mix and match, and very easily always sound good together. I hope you find this helpful!
The typical way to play chords in the key of D
First, let’s understand how to “normally” play these common chords in the key of D-major. Going up the fretboard we have:
E –––2––––0––––2––––3––––0––––2––– ––10––– B –––3––––0––––2––––0––––2––––3––– ––10––– G –––2––––0––––2––––0––––2––––4––– ––11––– D –––0––––2––––4––––0––––2––––4––– ––12––– A ––––––––2––––4––––2––––0––––2––– ––12––– E ––––––––0––––2––––3––––––––––––– ––10––– D Em F#m G A Bm D
Playing “open” triad chords in the key of D
Here are the same chords, but played in a way where you’re only ever using the thinnest 3 strings. I’m always leaving the 4th string open here, which creates a consistent droning “D” note sound, reminiscent of playing in open-D tuning.
E –––2––––3––––5––––7––––9––––7––– ––10––– B –––3––––5––––7––––8–––10––––7––– ––10––– G –––2––––4––––6––––7––––9––––7––– ––11––– D –––0––––0––––0––––0––––0––––0––– –––0––– A –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ––––––– E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ––––––– D Em F#m G A Bm D
All of the triads I show in this lesson
Here is a single tab of all the chords I show. This may seem like a lot, but the important thing to realize is there’s only 5 shapes used for all these chords (3 major shapes, and 2 minor shapes).
E –––2––––3––––5––––5––––7––––9––––7––– ––10––12––14––– ––3––5–– ––10––12–– B –––3––––5––––7––––7––––8–––10––––7––– ––10––12––14––– ––3––5–– ––12––14–– G –––2––––4––––6––––7––––7––––9––––7––– ––11––12––14––– ––4––6–– ––12––14–– D –––0––––0––––0––––0––––0––––0––––0––– –––0–––0–––0––– ––0––0–– –––0–––0–– A ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ––––––––––––––– –––––––– –––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ––––––––––––––– –––––––– –––––––––– D Em F#m D G A Bm D Em F#m G A G A
Finger positions for the major chord shapes
For the familiar “D major” shape, here are two ways to approach the fingering:
e –––2––––7––––9––– <= left middle e –––2––––7––––9––– <= left index (barred) B –––3––––8–––10––– <= left ring B –––3––––8–––10––– <= left middle G –––2––––7––––9––– <= left index OR G –––2––––7––––9––– <= left index (barred) D –––0––––0––––0––– D –––0––––0––––0––– A ––––––––––––––––– A ––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––– D G A D G A
For the shape that is reminiscent of the F-major (133211) chord’s thinnest three strings, I use this fingering.
e ––10––––3––––5––– <= left index (barred) B ––10––––3––––5––– <= left index (barred) G ––11––––4––––6––– <= left middle D –––0––––0––––0––– A ––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––– D G A
Finally, there’s this shape which is based off the open A-major chord, or the barred D-major chords (x57775):
e –––5–––10–––12––– <= left index B –––7–––12–––14––– <= left pinky G –––7–––12–––14––– <= left ring D –––0––––0––––0––– A ––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––– D G A
Finger positions for the minor chord shapes
For the familiar “D minor” shape, here’s how I place my fingers:
e –––3––––5–––10––– <= left index B –––5––––7–––12––– <= left pinky (or ring) G –––4––––6–––11––– <= left middle D –––0––––0––––0––– A ––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––– Em F#m Bm
For the shape that’s based off the typical F#m (244222), where you’re playing the thinnest 3 strings on the same fret, I use this fingering:
e ––12–––14––––7––– <= barred w/ left ring (or index) B ––12–––14––––7––– <= barred w/ left ring (or index) G ––12–––14––––7––– <= barred w/ left ring (or index) D –––0––––0––––0––– A ––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––– Em F#m Bm
Now, mix and match these chord shapes!
Think of each of these chord shapes as a building block - which can be freely used & combined in any order. Keep this in mind when playing these shapes. Try out a few of them together, in a pattern, and repeat. Experiment with different strumming patterns. Mix it up! Especially when you’re warming up, this sort of free play can be very helpful to get the blood flowing and try something new.
I hope this was helpful. As always, I encourage you to be in touch with any questions.
Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!
If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).
Fun & Helpful Tools I've Made
Interactive fretboard map! See the patterns behind every scale in any key.View
An easy way to calculate key & chord combinations, for any capo location!View
Subscribe to my YouTube channel
Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!
June 3, 2023
Pentatonic Fun with Billy Strings' "Lonely At The Top" Riff
June 2, 2023
Major Pentatonic Scales in Open Position
May 27, 2023
"Fast Car" Riff, Explained Step-by-Step!
May 23, 2023
Uncle John's Band
May 16, 2023
Learn the Percussive Slap Strum, Step by Step
May 12, 2023
Tips for Writing Guitar Tabs (on Paper and iPad)
May 8, 2023
First Steps with the "Amie" Intro Riff
May 3, 2023
Easy-Going Fingerstyle Blues! A Step-by-Step Guide.
Browse All My Lessons
By lesson type
- Strumming & Rhythm
- Walk-Ups & Walk-Downs
- Learning Barre Chords
- Travis Picking
- Learning Chords
By musical genre
By musical key
By popular artist
- Johnny Cash
- Tyler Childers
- Tom Petty
- Neil Young
- Chris Stapleton
- Willie Nelson
- Guy Clark
- John Prine