How to play

How to play the Ddim chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of Ddim, used in hits like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Creep."

The Ddim chord

The Ddim chord, pronounced "D diminished" (dee-dim), is a haunting and unstable chord that adds tension and dissonance to music. Formed by stacking minor thirds, it has a unique, ethereal sound. Ddim is often used in jazz, classical, and film scores to create suspense or transition between chord progressions. Its unsettling nature makes it a powerful tool for evoking mystery and unease.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Ddim chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Ddim chord

The most common way to play the Ddim chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 1st fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Ddim chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 1st fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, play all six strings together in a downward motion. Make sure to apply adequate pressure with your index finger to properly barre all the strings.

How to play an easy Ddim chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Ddim chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  4. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a Ddim bar chord

Playing the Ddim chord as a barre chord can be a convenient way to switch between chords quickly and efficiently. It's also a great way to build finger strength and dexterity.

Here's how to play a Ddim bar chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 10th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 11th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 12th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 12th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the low E string to the high E string.

Common Ddim chord progressions

The Ddim chord is often used to add a sense of tension, mystery, or sophistication to chord progressions. It can evoke feelings of jazz, R&B, or neo-soul. Here are some common progressions featuring the Ddim chord:

  • i - iv - VII - III7 (Dm - Gm - C - F7) Used in "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers
  • i - VII - VIdim - VII (Dm - C - Bdim - C)
  • ii - V7 - Idim - VI7 (Em - A7 - C#dim - B7)
  • i - iv - Vdim - VI7 (Dm - Gm - G#dim - A7)
  • i - VI7 - iidim - V7 (Dm - Bb7 - Edim - A7)

Drills to master the Ddim chord

To master the Ddim guitar chord, try practicing the following drill:

Strum the Ddim chord repeatedly, focusing on maintaining a consistent rhythm. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable with the chord shape. Aim for clean, crisp notes with each strum.

Another effective drill is to transition smoothly between the Ddim chord and other common chords, such as D major or D minor. Practice switching back and forth between these chords, ensuring that your transitions are seamless and your timing remains steady.

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Songs that feature the Ddim chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Ddim chord.

  1. All of Me by John Legend (Dm7, C, G, Ddim, Dm7, C, Cm7, F7, Bbmaj7)
  2. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls (Ddim, Dm, Bb, F, C, Gm, Eb)
  3. Creep by Radiohead (G, B, C, Cm, Ddim)
  4. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (A, E/G#, F#m, Ddim, A/C#, Bm7, Esus4, E)
  5. Space Oddity by David Bowie (Fmaj7, Em7, Ddim, Am, C)
  6. Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers (Am, Em/G, Ddim/F#, Am/E)
  7. Mad World by Tears for Fears (Am, Ddim, C, F, Fm)
  8. While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles (Am, Am/G, Ddim/F#, F7, Dm/F)
  9. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G, D/F#, Ddim, Am/E)
  10. Blackbird by The Beatles (G, A7, Ddim, B7, Em, D)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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