How to play

How to play the E minor over D chord on guitar

Learn the iconic chord from "Stairway to Heaven" and "Dust in the Wind" in minutes.

The Em/D chord

The Em/D chord, pronounced "E minor over D," is a beautifully melancholic chord that adds depth and emotional complexity to many songs. It's played by fretting an E minor chord shape while using D as the bass note, creating a hauntingly bittersweet sound. The Em/D chord is commonly found in folk, indie, and singer-songwriter genres, adding a touch of introspective sophistication to any composition.

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

Hero Image

Unlock your playing potential in online guitar lessons with experts on Til. Start today and achieve your guitar goals quickly. Find a top-rated teacher.

Finger placement for Em/D chord

The most popular way to play the E minor over D chord on guitar is on the 2nd fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a E minor over D chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th (A) 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.

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to strike down across the 1st through 5th strings in one smooth motion.

How to play an easy Em/D chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the E minor over D chord, try playing an Em chord shape starting on the 4th fret. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 4th (D) string, and your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string. Strum the top four strings.

How to play a Em/D bar chord

Playing a barre chord version of E minor over D can be a great way to add variety and a fuller sound to your guitar playing.

Here's how to play a E minor over D bar chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 5th fret of the 1st (high E), 2nd (B), 3rd (G), 4th (D), 5th (A), and 6th (low E) strings, forming a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 7th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Strum all six strings from the 5th fret.

Common Em/D chord progressions

The E minor over D chord progression is a popular choice for adding a melancholic or bittersweet feel to a song. Here are some common progressions featuring this chord:

  • i - VII (Em - D) - Used in "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. and "Drive" by The Cars
  • i - VII - IV (Em - D - G) - Used in "Creep" by Radiohead and "Mad World" by Tears for Fears
  • i - VII - VI (Em - D - C)
  • i - VII - III (Em - D - G)
  • i - VII - iv (Em - D - Am)

Drills to master the Em/D chord

One effective drill for mastering the E minor over D guitar chord is to practice strumming the chord while changing between E minor and D. Focus on maintaining a steady rhythm and clean transitions between the chords. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable.

Another helpful exercise is to arpeggiate the notes of the E minor chord over the D bass note. Pluck each note of the chord individually, starting with the low E string and working your way up to the high E string. This drill helps develop finger dexterity and familiarizes you with the chord's structure.

Unlock your playing potential in online guitar lessons with experts on Til. Start today and achieve your guitar goals quickly. Find a top-rated teacher.

Tayler K.

"I left Jude's class feeling much more confident in knowing how to make meaningful musical decisions. This class was always the highlight of my week and it was a blast getting to learn alongside other musicians seeking growth! Highly recommend!"

Songs that feature the Em/D chord

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

  1. Wonderwall by Oasis (Em7, G, D, A7sus4)
  2. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman (D, Em, G, A, Bm)
  3. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple (Em, G, A, F, C, B)
  4. The Scientist by Coldplay (Em, A, Bm, D)
  5. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (Em, G, A, D)
  6. Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers (Em, A, Am, B7, Em, Dm)
  7. Nothing Else Matters by Metallica (Em, D, C, G, B)
  8. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, C, D, F, G, Am)
  9. Losing My Religion by R.E.M. (Em, A, D, G, B7)
  10. Everlong by Foo Fighters (D, A, Em, G)

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.

Learn guitar all over the world