Why Is the D Chord So Hard?

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Strumming all the strings of a guitar at the start is a challenging task. Then comes the D Chord, where you’re supposed to play only 4 strings and jumble your fingers simultaneously. As soon as you get a hold of the chord, you realize you must transition from one chord to another. All of this makes the D chord a nightmare for beginner guitarists. So, why’s the D chord so difficult?

The D chord proves difficult for beginner guitarists as they have to use the split-finger technique to hold down the notes while simultaneously making sure not to play the top two strings of the guitar. It takes practice and patience to get used to the chord shape and transition smoothly.

In this article, we’ll discuss the D chord and why it’s so hard for beginners to master it. You’ll also find a few simple tips and tricks to help you master the D chord in no time at all. So, make sure you keep reading till the very end. I promise you. It’ll be worth it.

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Why Is the D Chord So Hard?

What Makes the D Chord So Hard?

Among all the open chords played on the guitar, and yes, even if you include the dreaded F chord, the D chord has proven to be one of the most challenging for new learners and beginner guitarists to master.

The key reason why many beginners consider the D chord as one of the most complicated chords to learn and master is that while playing the D chord, you have to use the three split fingers technique. 

The three split finger technique means that your fingers on the guitar fretboard are bunched together in a compact group.

Moreover, you also have to avoid playing the guitar’s top two strings (E and A) while playing the D chord.

Now all of this might seem easy when you’re reading about it, but it’s easier said than done. 

Using three split fingers along with not playing the top two strings of the guitar can be challenging, especially when you are strumming the guitar and transitioning to the D chord from another chord, for example, the G chord.

How To Play the D Chord?

Technically, you can play the D chord in various locations across the fretboard. However, the basic D chord shape is played by using the bottom four strings of the guitar. 

It’s a sweet-sounding chord and is considered by many a ‘happy’ chord.

To play it, you strum the open D string, G string on the 2nd fret, B string on the 3rd fret, and e string on the second fret. 

To further illustrate this, here is a diagram of how the finger positioning is situated for the D chord.

Why Is the D Chord So Hard?

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/211174974757205/?nic_v3=1a6OPnNaY 

How to Master the D Chord Quickly?

A few tips for you if you are a beginner guitarist are that you learn the chord in steps. 

You can first resort to an easier version of the D chord which is called the Dsus2 chord. You basically remove the last finger of the chord to create the Dsus2 chord.

The rule is simple: whenever you see a D chord in the chord sheet of a song, just play the Dsus2 chord.

The Dsus2 chord will serve as a stepping stone towards you mastering the D chord. It requires only 2 fingers to play and sounds more or less the same as the conventional D chord. Now, don’t think that this is an easy way out for you to play the D chord.

The Dsus2 chord is just an accelerator to help you get comfortable with the chord shape. 

Once you get the shape down and you’re totally comfortable playing the Dsus2 chord, add the third and final finger to the fretboard and play the full D chord.

Other Tricky Guitar Chords

Beginner guitarists usually tend to learn open chords on the guitar first before moving on to more complex barre chords. The D chord is not the only tricky open chord that beginner guitarists struggle with. 

Here’s a chart of a few chords along with diagrams to help you with your finger positioning:

Chord NamePositioning on fretboard
The G chordWhy Is the D Chord So Hard?
The Open F ChordWhy Is the D Chord So Hard?
The C ChordWhy Is the D Chord So Hard?
The A ChordWhy Is the D Chord So Hard?


Q. Is There Only One Way To Play the D Chord? What if I Just Can’t Play It Like the Conventional Method?

There is another way that you can play the D chord but it will prove to be even more challenging than the way shown above. The other variation of a D chord includes a Barre on all six strings on the 5th fret.

Along with this, you are going to have to simultaneously hold down the 3rd, 4th, and 5th string on the 7th fret of the guitar.

If the conventional way is proving difficult, it is advised to keep practicing and mastering the chord slowly but surely!

Q. Why Do My Strings Sound Muted When I Play the D Chord on the Guitar?

There can be two reasons why you are facing these problems. Firstly, you may not be pressing down properly on the string which will end up making a muted or ringing sound. You can eradicate it by pressing down harder on the strings while playing.

Secondly, your fingers may be slightly grazing the open strings of the guitar which also makes them ring with a muted sound. Make sure your finger is in contact with only the intended string and nothing else on the guitar to solve this problem.

Final Thoughts

The key to getting comfortable with playing the D chord and other challenging chords is just practice and patience. One day, you’ll look back and be proud of how far you’ve come. Don’t give up on your guitar dreams, and practice regularly to build your muscle memory. It should take you no more than two weeks to transition comfortably from one chord to the D chord then.

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