The D Shape: Create chords and lead lines

Most of us learned how to play a D chord very early on in our history of playing guitar. You can actually use this shape all over the fretboard to create interesting sounding chords and melodic lead playing.

The D Shape


How it works

The note where your third (ring) finger is on the B string determines the chord that you are playing. In the case of the typical D major chord, that note is a D (3rd fret of the B string). As you move this shape up the fretboard, the chord moves up as well. For example: When you are fretting the following fret on the B string:

  • 3rd fret: D chord
  • 5th fret: E chord
  • 6th fret: F chord
  • 8th fret: G chord
  • 10th fret: A chord
  • 12th fret: B chord
  • 13th fret: C chord
  • 15th fret: D chord (again – one octave higher than the 3rd fret D shape chord)

It is important to note that you will probably want to mute all the other strings when you play this shape. In some cases, the open strings will fit with the chord, but typically not.