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How to play the D7 chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of classic hits like "Hey Joe" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."

The D7 chord

The D7 chord, pronounced "D dominant seventh," is a versatile and commonly used chord in various musical genres. It adds a bluesy, slightly dissonant sound to progressions, making it popular in blues, rock, and folk music. Notable songs featuring the D7 chord include "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan and "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Mastering the D7 is essential for guitarists.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common D7 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for D7 chord

The D7 chord is most commonly played on the 1st fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a D7 chord on your guitar:

  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 1st (high E) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.

Strum the chord by playing the bottom four strings (D, G, B, and high E) together in a downward motion. You can also add upward strums between the downward strums for a more dynamic sound.

How to play an easy D7 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the D7 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 1st (high E) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  4. Strum only the top four strings.

How to play a D7 bar chord

Playing a D7 barre chord can be a great way to add variety and richness to your guitar playing, especially when transitioning between other barre chords.

Here's how to play a D7 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 5th fret, covering all six strings (barre).
  2. Place your middle finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the 5th string (A) down to the 1st string (high E).

Common D7 chord progressions

The D7 chord is commonly used in blues, jazz, and rock music to add tension and create a sense of movement. These progressions often evoke feelings of excitement, anticipation, and resolution. Here are some popular D7 chord progressions:

  • I7-IV7-I7-V7 (D7-G7-D7-A7) - Used in "Johnny B. Goode" and "Roll Over Beethoven"
  • I7-IV7-I7 (D7-G7-D7) - Used in "Hound Dog" and "Folsom Prison Blues"
  • I7-I7-I7-I7-IV7-IV7-I7-V7 (D7-D7-D7-D7-G7-G7-D7-A7) - Used in "Rock Around the Clock"
  • I7-IV7-V7 (D7-G7-A7)
  • ii7-V7-I7 (Em7-A7-D7)

Drills to master the D7 chord

To master the D7 chord, try playing each note individually, focusing on clean execution. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between D7 and other chords you know, striving for smooth changes.

Another effective drill is to play a simple progression using D7, such as D7-G-A. This helps you understand how D7 functions in a musical context. Experiment with strumming patterns and rhythms to make the progression more interesting and dynamic.

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Songs that feature the D7 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the D7 chord:

  1. Hey Jude by The Beatles (D, G, A, E, F#m, B7, D7)
  2. Let It Be by The Beatles (C, G, D, D7, Am, G7)
  3. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2 (D, G, D7, A)
  4. Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan (G, D, Am7, D7)
  5. Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash (G, C, D7)
  6. Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival (D, A, Bm, G, D7)
  7. Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival (D, A, G, D7)
  8. Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash (E, E7, A, A7, D7)
  9. All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan (Am, G, F, Am, G, D7)
  10. The Joker by Steve Miller Band (F, C, G7, D7)

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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