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How to play the Dm6 chord on guitar

Learn to play the moody Dm6 guitar chord, used in hits like "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls.

The Dm6 chord

The Dm6 chord, pronounced "D minor sixth," is a rich and expressive variation of the standard D minor chord. It adds a sixth note, giving the chord a melancholic and slightly jazzy flavor. The Dm6 is often used in genres like blues, jazz, and folk to add depth and complexity to progressions. Its unique voicing makes it a favorite among guitarists and songwriters alike.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Dm6 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Dm6 chord

The Dm6 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 5th fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a Dm6 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings at the 5th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 6th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

To strum this chord, use a downward motion starting from the lowest (thickest) string to the highest (thinnest) string, making sure all notes ring out clearly.

How to play an easy Dm6 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Dm6 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 1st (high E) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  4. Leave the other strings open and strum.

How to play a Dm6 bar chord

Playing the Dm6 chord as a barre chord can be useful when you need a fuller, more powerful sound or want to easily transition between chords in a progression.

Here's how to play a Dm6 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 2nd (B) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the 5th fret.

Common Dm6 chord progressions

The Dm6 chord adds a melancholic and slightly jazzy feel to chord progressions, often serving as a ii chord in a ii-V-I progression or as a substitute for the iv chord. These progressions evoke a sense of longing, sophistication, and emotional depth:

  • i - iv - Dm6 - V (Dm - Gm - Dm6 - A)
  • Dm6 - G7 - CMaj7 (ii6 - V7 - IMaj7). Used in "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Autumn Leaves"
  • Dm6 - G7b9 - CMaj7 (ii6 - V7b9 - IMaj7)
  • Dm6 - E7b9 - Am7 (ii6 - V7/vi - vi7)
  • Dm6 - A7 - Dm (ii6 - V7 - i)

Drills to master the Dm6 chord

To master the Dm6 chord, try playing each note individually, focusing on clarity and tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between the notes in different orders, such as D-F-A-B, D-A-F-B, or D-B-F-A. This will help your fingers develop muscle memory and dexterity.

Another effective drill is to strum the chord repeatedly, ensuring all notes ring out clearly. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed while maintaining accuracy. Incorporate the Dm6 chord into simple progressions or songs to apply it in a musical context, further reinforcing your skills.

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Songs that feature the Dm6 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Dm6 chord:

  1. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (A - E - Fsm - Dm6 - A - E)
  2. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (Em7 - G - Em7 - G - Em7 - A7 - Em7 - A7 - Dm6 - C)
  3. Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson (D - Dm6 - G - D)
  4. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman (C - G - Em - D - C - G - Dm6 - C)
  5. The A Team by Ed Sheeran (Dm6 - C - Bb - F)
  6. Angie by The Rolling Stones (Am - E7 - G - F - C - Dm6 - Am - E7)
  7. Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver (G - Em - D - C - G - D - Em - C - G - D - C - G - Dm6 - F - C - G)
  8. The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel (C - Am - G - F - C - Dm6 - G7)
  9. Cannonball by Damien Rice (Dm6 - F - C - G)
  10. Where Do the Children Play by Cat Stevens (D - G - A - Bm - G - D - Em - A7 - Dm6 - Bm - Em - A7 - 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.

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