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How to play the E major over D chord on guitar

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The E major over D chord

The E chord, pronounced "E major over D," is a unique guitar voicing that adds depth and texture to progressions. This slash chord is played by fretting an E major shape while using D as the bass note. The E/D is notably used in genres like folk and country, and can be heard in songs such as "Hey Soul Sister" by Train.

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

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Finger placement for E major over D chord

The most common way to play an E major chord over a D chord on guitar is to use the second fret as a barre chord.

Follow these finger positions to play an E major over D chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the second fret, forming a barre.
  2. Place your ring finger on the fourth fret of the fourth (D) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the fourth fret of the third (G) string.

To strum this chord, use a downward motion starting from the sixth (low E) string and strum all six strings. Alternatively, you can focus on strumming only the highest four strings for a brighter sound.

How to play an easy E major over D chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the E major over D chord, try this: Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the D string, middle finger on the 2nd fret of the A string, and ring finger on the 1st fret of the G string. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a E major over D bar chord

Playing the E major over D barre chord on guitar can be a great way to add variety and richness to your playing, especially when transitioning between chords.

Here's how to play an E major over D barre chord:

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

Common E major over D chord progressions

The E major chord played over a D root note creates a bright, hopeful sound that can evoke feelings of possibility, optimism and transcendence. Some common chord progressions featuring this technique include:

  • I - V/ii (D - E/D): Used in "Hey Jude" by The Beatles
  • vi - V/ii - IV - V (Bm - E/D - G - A): Used in "Shine" by Collective Soul
  • I - V/ii - vi - IV (D - E/D - Bm - G): Used in "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2
  • ii - V/ii - I (Em - E/D - D): Used in "Life in a Northern Town" by The Dream Academy
  • I - V/ii - iii - vi (D - E/D - F#m - Bm): Used in "The Scientist" by Coldplay

Drills to master the E major over D chord

To master the E major over D guitar chord, try playing the chord progression repeatedly, strumming each chord for four beats. Focus on smooth transitions between the chords and maintaining a steady rhythm. Aim for precision and clarity in your fretting hand.

Another effective drill is to arpeggiate the E major over D chord, playing each note individually in ascending and descending order (E, G#, B, E). This exercise helps develop finger dexterity and familiarity with the chord shape. Practice slowly at first, gradually increasing speed as you become more comfortable with the pattern.

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Songs that feature the E major over D chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the E major over D chord:

  1. Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan (G, D, Am, E/D)
  2. Free Fallin' by Tom Petty (D, E/D, G, A)
  3. The Joker by Steve Miller Band (F, C, E/D, G)
  4. Peaceful Easy Feeling by Eagles (E, E/D, A, G)
  5. Breakdown by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (D, E/D, G, A)
  6. Listen to the Music by The Doobie Brothers (D, E/D, G, Bm)
  7. Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett (D, G, E/D, A)
  8. Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton (G, D/F#, C, D, E/D)
  9. Harvest Moon by Neil Young (D, D6, E/D, G)
  10. Behind Blue Eyes by The Who (E, E/D, A, C#m)

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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