Barre Chords 2: Root On The D String

There are 2 shapes commonly employed on the D String. I’m only giving you with one shape for each as you should be comfortable, (or getting that way), with the idea of moveable chord shapes. Be aware that these chords are the same collection of notes, but in a slightly different order – This is called a different voicing. Notice that the root note on the D string, 3rd fret, is the same throughout.

The first shape you might recognise from the first barre chord lesson – we’ve lost the notes on the E and A strings. These chords lose some of their low-end “fullness”, but you’ll likely find them easier to play. This lower end can make a chord sound a bit too cluttered, especially when using any amount of distortion, reverb or other such effects. You’ll find these kinds of chords in reggae music, or in soft rock and country, often playing a slightly higher-pitched voicing of chords played on an acoustic guitar, or piano.
The Xs here indicate notes that should not be played. It’s up to you whether you want to simply not play them, or whether you want to mute the strings. Muting will give more of a percussive element to these chords, but will require you to move your barring finger further into the centre of the neck, and perhaps wrapping your thumb around the neck to mute those strings.

If you are familiar with the idea of CAGED chords then the second shape here may look familiar. If not, here’s a brief explanation: The CAGED system is a way of playing multiple voicings of any given chord, and it focuses on the shapes from the open position. You may notice that these chords look very similar to the open D chord shapes, the only difference is that you have to fret the note which would normally be on an open string. Strictly speaking, this shape is not a barre chord because you are not using a finger to barre multiple strings. I’ve included them here for two reasons. Firstly, it will give you alternate voicings for the previous chords. Secondly, (and more importantly), root notes on the G, B and E strings will be covered together in the following lesson.

As before I’ve colour-coded the notes in accordance to what “job” they’re doing. (Root = Red; Perfect 5th = Green; Major 3rd= Light Blue; Minor 3rd= Dark Blue).

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