Practice Tip #13
How to stretch your pinky on D-major
How to master difficult pinky stretches with D-major
It is relatively common, when using a D-major chord, to have a song require you to put a finger down on the 4th fret of either the 3rd or 4th string. In this lesson, I’ll explain how to go about practicing this technique - because it isn’t easy at first!
Understanding the chord shapes
First, let us start with the normal D-chord which you probably know. Even when you later on add your pinky, it’s important to know - the 3 fingers shown here should always stay in these positions!
E –––2––– <-- left middle finger B –––3––– <-- left ring finger G –––2––– <-- left index finger D –––0––– A ––––––– E ––––––– D
From here, let’s look at the first modification - that of adding your left pinky finger to the 4th fret of the 3rd string:
E –––2––– B –––3––– G –––4––– <-- left pinky finger D –––0––– A ––––––– E ––––––– D
And then there’s this other modification, of adding your left pinky to the 4th fret of the 4th string.
E –––2––– B –––3––– G –––2––– D –––4––– <-- left pinky finger A ––––––– E ––––––– D
How to approach learning and practicing this
See my video for the 7 tips I offer in being able to play these chord shapes fluidly. It won’t come to you immediately, but given some dedicated practice it can be added to your bag of tricks faster than you may think (even if it feels impossibly awkward at first).
Example of a practice riff using these positions
Here’s the riff I play in my video lesson. This riff combines the D-major chord with an A-major chord, but running through it all is a melody line built on these D-shapes. You can strum as much or as little as you like when practicing this (based on your comfort). Switching to the A-major creates a good real-world situation - because you’re never going to stay on D-major for the entire song.
E –––2–––––2–––––2––––––––––– B –––3–––––3–––––3–––––2––––– G –––2––4––2–––––2–––––2––––– D –––0–––––0––4––0––4––2––4–– A –––––––––––––––––––––0––––– E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––– D A
Also, note the A-major shown above will likely need to be played with your index finger barring across all three strings. I made a video lesson for that here:
Example of song riffs that use these positions:
Norwegian Wood by the Beatles (my lesson coming soon):
e ––––2–2–2––––––––––––2–2–2–––––––––2–2–2–––––––––––0h2–2–2—–2–2–2–– B ––––3–3–3––3–3–3–––––3–3–3–––––––––3–3–3–––––––––––3–––3–3—–3–3–3–– G ––––2–2–2––4–2–0–(2)–2–2–2–––0–––2–2–2–2–––––0–––––2–––2–2—–2–2–2–– D –(0)––––––––––––––4––––––––2–––4–0–––––––––2–––––0––––––––––––––––– A ––0––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––0–3–––2–0––––––––––––––––– E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Rocky Mountain High by John Denver (view my lesson)
E ––––––2–2–––––2–2–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– B ––––––3–3–––––3–3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– G ––––––2–2–2h4–2–2–2–––––––2–––––––––––––––0–––0–0–0–––0–0–0–––0–0–– D ––––––––––––––––––––––0h4–––––4–––2–0–––––x–––x–x–x–––x–x–x–––x–x–– A ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––2–––2–2–5–––5–5–7–––7–7–– D ––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––0h2–2–––2–2–5–––5–5–7–––7–7–– D Em G A
Feathered Indians by Tyler Childers (view my lesson)
E ––2––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––––––|––3–––––––––––––––– B ––3––––––––––––––––|––0h2––––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––––––|––3–––––––––––––––– G ––0h2–2––4–2––2p0––|––0h2––––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––––––|––0–––––––––––––––– D ––0––––––––––––––––|––0h2–2––4–2––2p0––|––0–––––0h2–4––2–0–|––0–––––0h2–4––2–0– A –––––––––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––––––|––0h2–2––––––––––––|––2h2–2–––––––––––– E –––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––––––|––3–––––––––––––––– D A G G
Also, there’s Hotel California by The Eagles - though I’m not going to show the full tab for it here, as it’s quite a long intro and this D-section is simply one note within. You can view my Hotel California lesson if you want to watch it for yourself.
Once you have this worked out, you’ll be able to tackle the riffs shown above. Good luck!
Enjoy this lesson? Buy me a beer!
If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider donating to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it). Thanks!
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!
Recent video lessons:
- Norwegian Wood by The Beatles
August 14, 2018
- Double Drop D & "The Chain" Intro
August 7, 2018
- Pinky stretch tips for D-major
August 4, 2018
- Q&A: How to sing and strum at same time?
August 2, 2018
- Lola by The Kinks
July 31, 2018
- My original binder of song notes
July 28, 2018
- Simple blues riff in Drop-D
July 25, 2018
- Playing around in Drop-D
July 20, 2018
- Rocky Mountain High by John Denver
July 17, 2018
- When the Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash
June 25, 2018
- We Are the Champions by Queen
June 16, 2018
- My My, Hey Hey by Neil Young
June 9, 2018
- Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses
June 3, 2018
Monthly email updates
If you want to keep posted of new lessons over email, sign up for my newsletter. I'll email once a month with a digest of all my new videos. I promise: no spam.