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Jan 24, 2022 - 8:25:50 PM
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8 posts since 6/8/2020

I'm still a beginner and I'm trying to teach myself the D chord "shape" (which, I *think* is called the 1st inversion position). That is, when tuned to G we have

ring finger 4th fret 1st string;
index 2nd fret 3rd string;
middle 3rd fret 2nd string;
pinky 4th fret 1st string

What I have been doing is setting a timer for 5 minutes and a metronome at 40 bpm. I alternate clicks between the D-shape and other chords (Ive got G, C, and A down). But I am sloooow at switching to the D. I can barely get it at 40 bpm, and sometimes miss it. Ive been practicing this way for about a week now.

Is this the best way? Any other advice for becoming faster at switching to this shape/chord? My weakness seems to be in getting that pinky to operate in concert with the other fingers.

Any help much appreciated.
Best
J

Jan 24, 2022 - 9:52:04 PM
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4328 posts since 5/29/2011

I think you want your ring finger on the fourth fret, fourth string. If it is time consuming to get all the fingers in place at once you can leave the fourth string open to start with. As you get more comfortable you can try incorporating the ring finger on the fourth string again.

Jan 25, 2022 - 4:33:38 AM
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Fathand

Canada

11981 posts since 2/7/2008

Make an F chord. Slide it up 1 fret while swapping you index and middle fingers from 2nd to 3rd string and vice versa.
Ring and pinky do not leave 1st and 4th strings. Then go back to the F or up to the G chord back and forth.
Do this while playing a roll, play a whole 8 note roll per chord change at first then work your way to playing a half roll 4 notes per change.

Jan 25, 2022 - 4:50:31 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27160 posts since 8/3/2003
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I agree with Rick: make your usual G chord at 5, 3, 4, 5 and then move up the neck a fret, exchange the index and middle fingers, move up a fret, exchange the index and middle all the way up the neck. It's a chromatic exercise, but it will help you learn to make that terrible D chord that all beginners complain about.

I do an exercise where I move up like the above just vamping all the way up and down, then I do a forward roll, moving up after each forward roll.

I also do an exercise where I make the G chord at 5, 3, 4, 5, move down on fret to 4, 2, 3, 4 exchanging index and middle and then move up one and flatten out my ring finger on the 5th fret. That's a good exercise to learn to move from G to D to C.

Jan 25, 2022 - 5:08:06 AM
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BobbyE

USA

3096 posts since 11/29/2007

Don't change to the D shape you are practicing from various chords. Pick one chord to make the change from. Go back and forth slowly between whatever chord you choose and the D. Once you get the D shape imprinted in your brain and muscle memory it will be there for whatever chord you go to the D from. Going to the D from different chords is working on two or more things. Going to the D from a single chord all the time is working on one thing.

Bobby

Jan 25, 2022 - 5:41:39 AM
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Alex Z

USA

4820 posts since 12/7/2006

"I think you want your ring finger on the fourth fret, fourth string."

Absolutely essential advice, and worth the price of joining the BHO!

Also, for the other recommendations about "starting with the ordinary G or F chord," we don't know how the poster is making the "ordinary G or F chord" and -- in light of how the poster was making the D chord -- cannot assume it is being made in the way we might think.

Jan 25, 2022 - 5:58:59 AM
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7535 posts since 8/30/2004

Beginners like yourself must learn to be patient. Hold down that D6 or open D chord anyway it works--"pinky or "ring finger" on the 4th is just fine. There is no exact way to hold down that chord. You must, and all people beginning this great instrument MUST LEARN PATIENCE...Jack

Originally posted by Caddisfly

 

Edited by - Jack Baker on 01/25/2022 06:01:47

Jan 25, 2022 - 6:40:24 AM
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2297 posts since 2/4/2013

Assuming there is a finger on the 4th string then my question is why is there even a finger on the fourth string. Why have another F note instead of a D note. I think D works fine in the D chord.

Jan 25, 2022 - 6:51:04 AM

7535 posts since 8/30/2004

If you don't know the answer then you should just do it your way. The choice is either the root note on the open D string or the 3rd (an F# note) of the D chord on the 4th string...

Edited by - Jack Baker on 01/25/2022 06:54:33

Jan 25, 2022 - 8:55:07 AM
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133 posts since 9/12/2006

All good advice here. When going from the F shape G back one fret, you'll find your ring finger will want to pick up to join the others in a nice comfortable line. Training that to stay down on string 4 as you move to the D will create a new wiring in your finger coordination that will be super helpful in numerous other instances. It is much easier to keep it down as you go from the D back to the G as your fingers will be moving back to a more natural relaxed state.

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Jan 25, 2022 - 9:22:53 AM

7535 posts since 8/30/2004

Yes quite true Eddie but I have seen many of the pros. put their pinkys on that D6 chord position...be well Eddie...jack

Originally posted by Eddie Collins

All good advice here. When going from the F shape G back one fret, you'll find your ring finger will want to pick up to join the others in a nice comfortable line. Training that to stay down on string 4 as you move to the D will create a new wiring in your finger coordination that will be super helpful in numerous other instances. It is much easier to keep it down as you go from the D back to the G as your fingers will be moving back to a more natural relaxed state.


Edited by - Jack Baker on 01/25/2022 09:37:09

Jan 25, 2022 - 9:38:33 AM

7535 posts since 8/30/2004

Also,
A lot of women have a problem using the ring finger...Jack

Edited by - Jack Baker on 01/25/2022 09:53:32

Jan 25, 2022 - 10:53:39 AM
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chuckv97

Canada

63553 posts since 10/5/2013

But real women pump gas…..

Jan 25, 2022 - 10:57:11 AM
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7535 posts since 8/30/2004

Ha! Yes that too. so funny...J   p.s. they also are incredible banjo/s...players...J

Edited by - Jack Baker on 01/25/2022 11:07:55

Jan 25, 2022 - 12:20:07 PM
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307 posts since 10/3/2012
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quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker

Assuming there is a finger on the 4th string then my question is why is there even a finger on the fourth string. Why have another F note instead of a D note. I think D works fine in the D chord.


It can be open in the D position, but to use this chord shape further up the neck, you are going to want that 4th string fretted in many cases, for example vamping chords.  You might as well start practicing it now. 

Jan 25, 2022 - 1:13:57 PM

7535 posts since 8/30/2004

I'm only talking about the D6 open chord position at the 2nd and 4th frets...For backup you would need the full D chord and I don't take my students there until they have the basic D6 open position down...Jack   p.s. oh I see, the original poster was talking about the full D chord shape. You are correct about that for sure...

Edited by - Jack Baker on 01/25/2022 13:16:44

Jan 25, 2022 - 1:26:05 PM
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2297 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by saw_woods

It can be open in the D position, but to use this chord shape further up the neck, you are going to want that 4th string fretted in many cases, for example vamping chords.  You might as well start practicing it now. 


I have the advantage that I don't play bluegrass and I definately don't vamp (and also mainly use G modal tuning so there's an easy barre for the D shape). However once you're past the E chord other chord shapes seem much more preferable for vamping especially the F Shape and also the A shape.

Jan 25, 2022 - 4:08:34 PM
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358 posts since 5/21/2020

From experience find every way to fret a D chord. 1st, 2nd, 3rd Inversion as well a partial chords. As you gain experience you'll learn that a partial chord is your best friend because often you wont be able to form a full chord quick enough when playing fast. Start out with the three inversions, learn what defines a chord and what a triad is.

Jan 25, 2022 - 8:14:40 PM

8 posts since 6/8/2020

Thanks for the great advice everyone.

Yes, my error - it should have read:
ring finger 4th fret 4th string

as I am trying to make the full D chord. I will practice up-and-down the neck moving from the root form (or G shape) to the 1st inversion (or D shape). It also makes for a good opportunity to learn what those chords are.

Jan 25, 2022 - 10:14:37 PM
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594 posts since 2/5/2014

Interesting stuff, thanks. Unfortunately I started with the Janet Davis D7 chord, and I have struggled with the complete D shape ever since. It has been a long slow slog, but since I pump my own gas, I guess I can learn to play the D properly.

Edited by - talljoey on 01/25/2022 22:15:10

Jan 26, 2022 - 5:22 AM

10338 posts since 6/30/2020

Good suggestions made above and the crux of the issue is repetition in your practice moving between chord shapes. You can ditch your picks occasionally and just strum chords with your thumb once or a couple of times which helps you develop smooth movements between chords. Strumming with the thumb also lets you concentrate on your chording hand without thinking about picking patterns. One you get the chording movement down you can easily add picking and concentrate on that. Name the chords as you move around the neck and no time you will have an understanding how to string together the commonly used I-IV-V chords in many keys. Strumming quietly with your thumb also means you can easily do this any time and just about any place in your home without disturbing others. I do this frequently early in the morning without disturbing others at rest.

Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 01/26/2022 05:38:34

Jan 26, 2022 - 5:43:14 AM

KCJones

USA

1669 posts since 8/30/2012

Keep in mind that you only have to fret notes that you're playing. The majority of the time I'm making a D chord from 1st position, I leave the 4th string open. If a melody or roll requires me to hit the low F#, I'll fret that note only when I need to.

Watch the pros. They rarely make full 4-finger 4-string chords. They just fret the notes that they're playing.

Jan 26, 2022 - 7:41:17 AM

O.D.

USA

3693 posts since 10/29/2003

I suggest to keep working on it as you are
The full D chord will show up in many licks and passages,with a variety of was to get there.
I don't believe there is one "right way to do it.
Be persistent and you will discover what works best for you.
Good luck
Everett

Jan 27, 2022 - 9:54:32 AM

Melvoid

USA

15 posts since 1/13/2014

quote:First, ring goes on the 4th string 4th fret. Also, however, you aren't always using or needing the 4th string when playing a D, so you can play the chord without the ring finger, just put the index, middle, and pinky on the 3rd, 2nd and 1st strings, respectively, and keep the ring ready to go down on the 4th string IF it's needed there. That's true for up-the-neck d-position as well, when playing backup.
 
Originally posted by Caddisfly

I'm still a beginner and I'm trying to teach myself the D chord "shape" (which, I *think* is called the 1st inversion position). That is, when tuned to G we have

ring finger 4th fret 1st string;
index 2nd fret 3rd string;
middle 3rd fret 2nd string;
pinky 4th fret 1st string

What I have been doing is setting a timer for 5 minutes and a metronome at 40 bpm. I alternate clicks between the D-shape and other chords (Ive got G, C, and A down). But I am sloooow at switching to the D. I can barely get it at 40 bpm, and sometimes miss it. Ive been practicing this way for about a week now.

Is this the best way? Any other advice for becoming faster at switching to this shape/chord? My weakness seems to be in getting that pinky to operate in concert with the other fingers.

Any help much appreciated.
Best
J


Jan 28, 2022 - 1:06:01 PM
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6 posts since 8/29/2006

When going between the F and D shapes, the ring and pinkie (the sliders) slide up and down and the index and middle (the switchers) switch back and forth. Work on sliding just the sliders up and down the neck. You can try stopping on each position marker. Then do the same thing and practice switching everywhere you stop. This strengthens your muscles and helps familiarize you with the fretboard.

Jan 28, 2022 - 5:15:39 PM
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Fathand

Canada

11981 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker

Assuming there is a finger on the 4th string then my question is why is there even a finger on the fourth string. Why have another F note instead of a D note. I think D works fine in the D chord.


Sometimes you will need that low F# note in a tune, better be ready to use it, also the E note, need to be able to walk up and down the D scale with a D chord.

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