The D Major Chord for Left-Hand Guitarists

In this comprehensive guide, we will introduce three common variations of the D major chord on guitar, specifically for left-handed guitarists utilizing left-hand chord charts for reference. We’ll also dive into the theory behind this chord using both scale degrees and intervals to help you gain an understanding of the individual notes included in the chord of D major and the basics of chord construction.

How to Play D Major for Left-Handers

Open Position

D Major Chord - Open Position
  1. Finger Placement:
    • Place your index (1st) finger on the 2nd fret of the G string (3rd string).
    • Position your middle (2nd) finger on the 2nd fret of the high E string (1st string).
    • Lastly, put your ring (3rd) finger on the 3rd fret of the B string (2nd string).
  2. Strumming:
    • Strum the guitar strings from the 4th (D) string down to the 1st (high E) string.
    • Ensure that you avoid strumming the 5th (A), and 6th (low E) string.

D Major Chord – A Barre Shape

    D Major Chord - A Barre Shape (Left-Handed)
    1. Finger Placement:
      • Barre Your Index Finger: Position your index (1st) finger flat across all the strings at the 5th fret, except the 6th string (low E). This finger acts as a “bar” and covers all 5 strings.
      • Ring (3rd) Finger: Position your ring (3rd) finger on the 7th fret of the D string (4th string from the top), G string (3rd), and B string (2nd) and ensure clean contact with the strings.
    2. Strumming:
      • With your strumming hand, gently rest your palm on the guitar’s bridge to mute any unwanted string vibrations.
      • Now, strum all the strings, starting from the A string (5th string) down to the high E string (1st string) using your pick.
      • Ensure that you apply enough pressure with your index finger to create a clear sound on all the strings, as this is a barre chord.

D Major Chord – C Barre Shape

    D Major Chord - A Barre Shape (Left-Handed)
    1. Finger Placement:
      • Index Finger (1st Finger): Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the G string (3rd string from the top), B string (2nd), and high E string (1st) to form a mine barre shape.
      • Middle Finger (2nd Finger): Position your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the B string (2nd string).
      • Ring Finger (3rd Finger): Put your ring finger on the 4th fret of the D string (3rd string).
      • Pinky Finger (4th finger): Place your pinky on the 5th fret of the A string (5th string)
    2. Strumming:
      • Strum all the strings, starting from the A string (5th string) down to the high E string (1st string) using your pick.

D Major Chord Construction

The D major chord is built from the D major scale. If you are unfamiliar with scales, and scale degrees, we’ll explain how this all works below.

D major chord construction – using scale degrees

Scale Degree1234567
D Major ScaleDEF#GABC#
D Major ChordDF#A

The D major scale consists of the notes: D, E, F#, G, A, B, and C#

When building a D major chord from the D major scale, we play the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of the scale, which corresponds to the notes D, F#, and A. When played together, these three notes create the C major chord.

This scale degree formula 1, 3, and 5 is used for all major chords when derived from their accompanying scale.

D major chord construction – using intervals

IntervalRootM2M3P4P5M6M7
D Major ScaleDEF#GABC#
D Major ChordDF#A

Another way to think about the D major chord is in intervals. If you would like to learn more about intervals in music click here.

The intervals of a D major chord include the major third (M3) and a perfect fifth (P5) above the root note of D. The major third interval, F#, is four half-steps (semitones) above D, and the perfect fifth, A, is seven half-steps (semitones) above D.

Another way to visualize the construction of the D major chord is in stacked thirds e.g. passing through three note letters of the accompanying major scale e.g. the 2nd note of the D major chord is a third above the root note of D e.g. (D-E-F#). While the 3rd note of the chord is a third above the 2nd note of F# (F#-G-A).

Tips for Playing D Major for Left-Handers

Like C major, D major is a very common chord, featured in a huge number of songs. As a result, it’s an essential chord to learn and in open position one of the easiest to play.

Keep in mind, especially when playing the 2 barred versions of the chord (as shown above) that it’s important to work on your finger strength, as this will allow you to press down on the strings effectively… but keep in mind, this can take time and practice to get right, as pressing with too much force will cause your fingers to fatigue and cramp.

You can read more tips on playing chords cleanly by clicking here.

About Marty

My name's Marty, I've been tinkering around on left-handed guitars for over 30 years.