The last open position shape in the CAGED sequence is the D shape. Here is the D major chord:
For first-timers, this shape might feel a bit bunched or twisted at first, but shouldn’t be too bad. Somewhat more challenging is the D minor shape, which requires transposing the 1st and 2nd fingers:
Here’s a great little exercise that will help with fingering and dexterity. Play the open D major chord, then shift to the D minor, without lifting the 3rd finger. Then go back to the major chord. Back and forth, back and forth. Keep the 3rd finger pinned down throughout. Feel the burn!
Here’s the D7 chord, very similar to the D major form, but mirrored:
You’ll be happy to see that the last two chord forms for this post, the DM7 and Dm7, are very easy to play and to move up the neck:
Another nice simple one-finger chord, at least for the open position. You can use pretty much any finger for the half-barre across the G-B-E’ strings, but it makes the most sense to use the 1st or 2nd finger there in the open position. For the movable version, use the 1st finger on the D string for the root note, and the 3rd finger for the half-barre.
I know this is a lot of stuff to go over all at once. Hopefully the chord diagrams and the photos help simplify things, and the text helps to explain the concepts effectively. Over the next few weeks, much of this material will be archived in a couple of different ways, with a PDF sheet on the Resources page, as well as a slideshow of the charts and photos for quick reference.
Also check out the Resources page for basic cheat sheets regarding intervals, triads, scales, and chord construction. The goal is not to make you memorize and recite all the names for things chapter and verse, but rather to show you how these concepts are interconnected, and how they collectively form the basic building blocks of most Western music. Don’t try to learn it all at once — take it a piece at a time, listen to how things sound, and work out some ideas of your own using these ideas.
We’ll finish up the chord series (for now) with barre chords on Friday, and on Sunday we’ll show you a few more useful exercises using chords. Good luck, have fun, and feel free to send any questions.