Tips & Techniques
How to stretch your pinky on D major
No PDF chord sheet exists for this lesson
As of now, I haven't made a printable PDF to accompany this video lesson. If you'd like to request that I make one, shoot me an email. I can't guarantee I'll make a PDF for every older lesson, but it's helpful to know which lessons have the most interest.
Here's a list of the 200+ lessons I have made PDFs for.
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 (view my lesson):
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!
Get my lessons in your inbox!
Every couple weeks I send out an email newsletter with links to whatever new lessons I've made. Sign up here and stay in the loop!
Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!
If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).
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:
📝 My "song" PDFs are now individually purcasheable! I've arranged a licensing agreement with Musicnotes, a service that lets you buy sheet music. Patreon suppoters get 50% off each purchase. Get the latest info here » (last updated July 1, 2021)
September 12, 2021
A deep-dive into the common positions of the major scale, and how they each relate to the CAGED chord shapes... which makes it all easier to understand!
August 29, 2021
I recently got my 1st electric guitar, and was surprised how many things immediately confused me. Here's a quick inventory, in case it helps anyone else starting out!
August 25, 2021
An overview to the CAGED chord shapes! I'll show how they repeat on the fretboard, no matter which key you're playing in.
August 20, 2021
A deep-dive into common stretches within the D-major chord -- and whether it's better to use your left-pinky vs. left-ring finger to reach these 4th fret notes.
August 13, 2021
In which I answer questions sent in my by Patreon supporters! Playing G with 2 fingers, my practice routine, memorizing the fretboard, the secret to light & brushy strums, and more.
July 31, 2021
Watch as I explore a handful of different ways to play a single riff (Key of E), using different positions on the fretboard -- but always playing the same notes.
Browse my all lessons
By lesson type
By song decade
By musical genre
By guitar technique
By musical key
By popular artist
- Johnny Cash
- Tyler Childers
- Tom Petty
- Neil Young
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Willie Nelson
- John Denver
- Guns N' Roses