For any guitar player, the journey of learning chords is an endless one, filled with joy, surprises, and some interesting challenges. One of these captivating chords is the DM7 (D Major 7) chord.
Known for its distinctive sound, this chord can add a unique depth and richness to your music, whether you’re playing jazz, rock, or folk.
In this blog post, we will delve into the DM7 chord, exploring its structure, how to play it, its variations, and how you can use it in your music.
Understanding the DM7 Chord: A Deeper Dive
As mentioned, the DM7 chord consists of four notes: D, F#, A, and C#. Let’s delve deeper into the theory behind these elements.
The D is the root note, providing the foundational pitch that the chord is built on. It’s the anchor, the central point from which all other notes in the chord relate.
The F# is the major third. In terms of interval theory, a major third is two whole steps from the root note. This note gives the chord its major quality, contributing a bright, happy sound.
The A is the perfect fifth. Positioned three and a half steps from the root, this note gives the chord a sense of stability and fullness. It’s called a ‘perfect’ fifth due to its strong, consonant sound.
And, the C# is the major seventh. This note is one half-step below the root note (or, thinking of it another way, one half-step from the octave D). The major seventh adds a touch of complexity to the sound of the chord, giving it a dreamy, almost ethereal quality.
Together, these four notes create a rich and melodious chord that can truly elevate your music. The major seventh chord is often associated with jazz music due to its complex and sophisticated sound, but it’s also found in many other genres, from pop to rock to classical music.
How to Play the DM7 Chord: Extended Instructions
Playing the DM7 chord involves precise finger positioning. Here’s an extended explanation to help you perfect it:
- Index Finger: Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the G string. This is the F#, which is the major third of the chord. Your finger should press the string firmly against the fret, but avoid any unnecessary tension in your hand.
- Middle Finger: Your middle finger should be on the 2nd fret of the high E string. This is another F#, an octave higher than the F# played on the G string.
- Ring Finger: Position your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B string. This is the D note, which is the root of the chord. This note helps to establish the overall sound and quality of the DM7 chord.
- Pinky Finger: Lastly, your pinky finger should go on the 4th fret of the D string. This is another F#, doubling up on this note to create a fuller sound.
When you strum, make sure to avoid hitting the low E and A strings, as they don’t contribute to the DM7 chord and can muddle its sound.
Remember, this is just one way to play the DM7 chord.
There are multiple positions and variations up and down the neck of the guitar that can give you different voicings of the DM7 chord. Feel free to explore and experiment to find the ones that you like the best.
Variations of the DM7 Chord:
Variations of the DM7 Chord There are many variations of the DM7 chord that you can play, depending on the sound you want and where you are on the fretboard. Here are a couple of examples:
Open Position (Alternate fingering):
This variation is slightly different from the standard open position. Here’s how to play it:
- Your index finger goes on the second fret of the G string (A).
- Position your middle finger on the second fret of the high E string (F#).
- Your ring finger should be on the third fret of the B string (D).
- Finally, your pinky finger goes on the fourth fret of the D string (F#).
- When you strum, avoid hitting the low E string.
Barre Chord (5th Fret):
We already mentioned this variation, but it’s worth repeating. You bar all the strings at the 5th fret with your index finger, then use your other fingers to form an A major 7 shape.
Barre Chord (10th Fret):
This variation is similar to the one on the 5th fret but played on the 10th fret. You bar all the strings at the 10th fret with your index finger and then form an E major 7 shape with your other fingers.
This is a stripped-down version of the chord that is often used in rock music.
For this, you only play the root (D), fifth (A), and the octave (D). It doesn’t include the 7th, so it lacks the distinctive major 7th sound but can be useful in certain musical contexts.
Jazz guitarists often use a four-string version of DM7, which is derived from the barre chord shape but only includes the four highest strings.
To play this, bar the top four strings on the 7th fret with your index finger, and then add your middle finger to the 7th fret of the G string (D), and your ring finger to the 7th fret of the high E string (C#).
You may be interested in learning the basics of rock, country, funk, or blues. Guitar Tricks has the learning resources for you, as well as many instructors to choose from. They offer some of the best online guitar lessons for beginners and advanced guitarists.
The DM7 chord, with its rich and complex sound, is a fantastic addition to any guitarist’s repertoire. It might be a bit challenging at first, but with practice, you’ll be able to incorporate it into your music with ease. The key is to understand its structure, learn how to play it, and then experiment with it in your music.
Remember that, music is a language, and like any other language, the more words (or in your case, chords) you know, the more expressively you can speak.
So, don’t stop exploring, keep on learning, and most importantly keep on playing the guitar.
We hope that you enjoyed reading this post, and that by the end of it, you now have a better understanding of the DM7 Guitar Chord. However, if you have any other questions or queries then let us know in the comments.
- Pass J. Joe Pass guitar chords. – Mel Bay Publications, 2010.
- Ruth L. C. Altered Chord Alternatives //International Conference on Mathematics and Computation in Music. – Cham : Springer International Publishing, 2022. – С. 390-397.
- Bay M. Rhythm Guitar Chord System. – Mel Bay Publications, 2016.
- Hrybyk A., Kim Y. Combined audio and video analysis for guitar chord identification : дис. – Drexel University, 2010.
Marko is a passionate composer, producer, and multimedia artist with a Master of Music degree. His career involves performing, creating, and producing his own music in his home studio using digital and analogue equipment. Marko is a multi-instrumentalist (he plays guitar, bass, piano, theremin, and other instruments). performs live acts and DJ sets, and works on feature and short films, documentaries, festivals, theaters, and government initiatives.