8 ways to play a D minor 7 chord on guitar


The D minor 7 chord is a less commonly known chord when first learning to play guitar. You may also see this chord written as D min 7, Dm7, or D – 7 on sheet music.

The D minor 7 chord has an easy open chord shape but there are many different ways you can play this chord throughout the guitar fretboard. By knowing different D minor 7 chord variations, you’ll be able to use them in different musical contexts. 

We’ll first go over some basic chord theory and then cover 8 ways to play a D minor 7 chord which you can start incorporating into your playing.

Grab your guitar and let’s get started!

D minor 7 chord theory intro

Every minor 7 chord is built upon the following four chord tones: 1, b3, 5, and b7. These chord tones can also be thought of as the scale degrees related to one minor scale.

For example, the D minor 7 chord has the chord tones D, F, A, and C. This is essentially a D minor chord with an added b7 chord tone.

Here is the formula for minor 7 chords below.

D minor 7 chord formula

In contrast, Major 7 chords contain the chord tones 1, 3, 5, and 7. For example, D Major 7 chord would contain the chord tones D, F#, A, and C#. However, we will only be covering the different minor 7 chord variations in this lesson.

Now that you know what notes belong to the chord structure, let’s look at how to read the chord charts.

How to read the chord charts

For the charts below:

  • The top horizontal line of the chord chart represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string.
  • The vertical lines separate each fret. 
  • The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand. 
  • The letters on the right of the charts tell you what notes you are playing on each string.
  • Circles on the left represent open strings.
  • Red X means to avoid that string.

You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.

D minor 7 open chord

The first way you can learn to play a D minor 7 chord is using the following open chord. We are using the 1st finger to cover the first two strings.

If you are having trouble playing this chord, try starting with your 1st finger and get the notes on the 1st and 2nd string to sound clear. Once you have that down, add your 2nd finger to put it all together.

D minor 7 open chord

D minor 7 chord – 5th string shell chord

This next chord shape is a shell chord because it only adds the 3rd and 7th of the chord. If the 2nd and 3rd fingers feel like too much of a stretch, you could also use your 3rd and 4th finger instead.

D minor 7 chord 5th string shell chord

D minor 7 chord on the 5th string

To add on to the previous chord shape, you could also add your pinky to the 2nd string, 6th fret.

D minor 7 chord on the 5th string

D minor 7 barre chord on the 5th string

This next chord shape uses a barre with your 1st finger, starting on the 5th string, 5th fret. If you can’t get the chord to sound clear, first try to get the notes from the 5th to the 2nd fret. Then as you develop more strength in your fingers, you can try adding the 1st string as well.

D minor 7 barre chord on the 5th string

If needed, you can also check out these 5 tips to get better at playing barre chords.

Easily look up guitar chords with the Essential Guitar Chords Chart!

This chart covers how to play:

  • Major chords
  • Minor chords
  • Major 7 chords
  • Minor 7 chords
  • Dominant chords
  • Half diminished chords
  • Diminished chords
  • Chords starting on all (12) root notes
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D minor 7 barre chord – 5th string variation

We could also add our pinky finger to last chord shape on the 1st string, 8th fret. This shape originally comes from the open A minor 7 chord.

D minor 7 barre chord 5th string variation

D minor 7 chord on the 6th string

Here is a way to play the D minor 7 chord on the 6th string starting on the 10th fret.

D minor 7 chord on the 6th string

D minor 7 barre chord on the 6th string

Now, here is a D minor 7 barre chord on the 6th string. If you’re having trouble with this chord, first try to get the notes from the 6th to the 3rd string. Then as you develop more strength in your fingers, you can try adding the 2nd and 1st string as well.

This shape originally comes from the open E minor 7 chord.

D minor 7 barre chord on the 6th string

D minor 7 barre chord – 6th string variation

Finally, as a variation to the previous shape, we can add our pinky finger to the 2nd string, 13th fret like this:

D minor 7 barre chord - 6th string variation

Wrapping up

All these chords were mostly in root position, meaning the root note is in the bass. However, you have even more variations if you use different chord inversions. This is when you play a chord with notes other than the root in the bass.

It’s good to know many possibilities of playing the same chord because you have more flexibility to move around the fretboard. Also, you can use different chord variations when you need a certain note at the top to help define a melody that you are playing over.

I hope this helped you understand how to play a D minor 7 guitar chord or learn new ways of playing it. You can also try shifting the shapes that have all fretted notes to play other minor 7 chords on the same string.

If you’re interested in improvisation, you can learn how to play minor 7 arpeggios on guitar.

You can also check out how to play a D Major 7, or D 7 chord on guitar.

Get the free guitar practice guide here!

All the best,

JG Music Lessons

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