Guitar Tips for Newbies: Open D Chord

Open D ChordThe open D chord can actually be a lot of fun. For the purposes of this lesson, I’m assuming that by now you at least know some of the basic open chord formations… so this lesson is going to expand ever so slightly upon that knowledge. We’re only talking about the open D chord, but this handy little guitar tip can be thrown into literally just about any song you’ll ever come across that has a open D chord in it!

I use Dsus all over the place. Technically the sus I show you here is a sus4.

Quick Theory Lesson:

Wherever you see (sus) it is short for suspended – it means you’re raising the the second note in the chord (in this case F#) a semitone to G, which is the fourth of D. F# is the third note in the scale… normally you need a root note (D), plus a third (F#) and a fifth (A) to build a chord. Suspending changes the third to a fourth. Confused? I hope not. But you can learn some guitar theory here.

Back to the lesson…

These simple little tricks you can play on the E string, while playing an open D chord, can really add dynamics to whatever song you’re playing. Incidentally, you can apply a similar technique to many other guitar chords to modify them just enough to create a different sound that still works well in the song. But we’ll save that for another day. Enjoy…

Video Problems? Watch Open D Chord Tricks on Youtube

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  1. good lesson on things to do with a open D chord. But can use a little clarificatin on chord nomenclature. Understand – putting lttle finger on G makes the chord a Dsus4. Therefore by my reaoning lifting the middle finger and playing the E string open makes it a Dsus2 and reachng the A with the little finger makes it a Dsus5. Is this correct?

    PS use I-IV-V nd Scale Patterns often: Thank you

  2. Hi Gary,

    Right.. so a suspended chord is one in which the third is omitted. Of course the third in question here is the F# on the second fret, first string. So we take that off, and if you play the E open, you’re adding a II note to the chord, so yes, it would be Dsus2. In the same way as you’ve mentioned, adding the G (IV) makes it a Dsus4 and adding the A (V) at the fifth fret would make it a Dsus5. So you’re absolutely right.

  3. Hi Jonathan:

    That sounds so neat and it’s so easy.

    I just have to tell you, your little tips keep my practice sessions so much more interesting. Before, I would just play the same ole G, C D, and repeat (or whatever chords were in the key in which I was playing.

    Now, thanks to your previous tip on adding in a couple extra bass notes, adding in the E chord, and now adding the G in the D chord, I have a whole little ditty that I can play during practice that sounds really neat. Gonna try it in a couple other keys.

    I’m leaving tomorrow to visit my son in Denver for a few days. He has just recently started guitar lessons (he plays the drums) and I can’t wait to show him and also introduce him to you and your site.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  4. A Happy 2011 to you Johnathan – gosh you make everything look so easy – think you are a great teacher so down to earth – thanks for that will give it a go but it never sounds like what yours does
    kind regards

  5. Hey man you’er just like the mailman, no matter how many times I tell you no deliverey, reluctantly, my mail box is is situated weather I’m coming or going,(“computerize, to put it mildly.”)Learning how to play the Guiter is a life long dream that materialize from a real Dream I had as a child long ago.pds

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