Warm Up Exercise #14
Open chords in key of D w/ major & minor triads
Print-friendly version of this lesson
For a print-ready PDF of this lesson, become a supporter on my Patreon page. For a few bucks a month, you get access to PDFs of all my new lessons.
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 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:
📝 Print-friendly PDFs now available for all new lessons I make, including all those listed below. Get a free sample »
- St James Infirmary Blues
Feb 16, 2019
- Barre chord strength & Smells Like Teen Spirit (Warm Up #15)
Feb 14, 2019
- Faking open chords in key of D w/ major & minor triads (Warm Up #14)
Feb 10, 2019
- Copperhead Road by Steve Earle
Feb 7, 2019
- Guantanamera by Pete Seeger
Jan 31, 2019
- "Blue on Black" grooving on D5-Cadd9-G (Warm Up #13)
Jan 26, 2019
- Adding fills to the "Wild Horses" intro (Practice Log #9)
Jan 24, 2019
- Light On by Maggie Rogers
Jan 19, 2019
- Improvised pickin' on The Gambler (Practice Log #8)
Jan 17, 2019
- Faking open chords in key of A
Jan 12, 2019
- My Top Lessons of 2018
Jan 8, 2019
- Heart of Gold by Neil Young
Jan 5, 2019
- Auld Lang Syne (traditional)
Dec 31, 2018
- Faking open chords in key of E
Dec 27, 2018
- Last Christmas by Wham!
Dec 24, 2018
- Please Come Home for Christmas by The Eagles
Dec 17, 2018
- Guitar chords on a ukulele
Dec 13, 2018
- Slap strumming basics (percussive rhythm technique)
Dec 8, 2018
- How to practice with a backing track, feat. Tennessee Whiskey (Practice Log #7)
Dec 1, 2018
- Playing A-major with big fingers or a small fretboard
Nov 27, 2018
- E-major backyard groove (feat. Posters by Jack Johnson)
Nov 21, 2018
- How to play F#m (F sharp minor)
Nov 18, 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.