How to Play a D Power Chord on Guitar (Tips and Variations)

Written by: Cody

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

The D power chord is one of the most commonly used chords in rock guitar. It’s simple to play and sounds great, which is probably why it’s so popular. A power chord is simply a two-note chord, and the D power chord is made up of the notes D and A.

In this guide, I’m going to show you exactly how to play the D power chord on guitar so that you can get rocking in no time.

I’ll also go through 4 variations you can play if you want to change the sound of the chord.

Lastly, I’ll highlight a few songs that prominently feature the use of a D power chord so that you can listen to them and practice them on your own time.

How to Play a D Power Chord

Power chords are never super hard to get the hang of. Typically, most people play them using only 2 notes however there are exceptions to that rule (more on this in the chord variations section).

Some people also prefer to use their pinky finger instead of their ring finger to play these types of chords. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose as long as you feel comfortable playing it.

With that being said, here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to play the D power chord:

  1. Locate your A string (second string from the top) and press your index finger on the 5th fret. This is your root note (D)
  2. Now place your ring finger on the D string (third string from the top) at the 7th fret. This is your fifth note (A).
  3. Strum these two strings at once (avoiding or palm muting all other strings).
  4. Congratulations, you’re now playing a D power chord!

To ensure you’re playing it properly, listen to the sound file below which provides an example of a D power chord played on an electric guitar.

D Power Chord Variations

Like basically any other chord, the D power chord has a few notable variations. Below, I’ve listed what I believe to be the most commonly used variations of the D power chord.

Play around with them and get a feel for each.

Variation #1

The first variation is pretty similar to our original D power chord. The only difference is that this variation adds your pinky finger to the 7th fret of the G string (the third string from the bottom).

All this does is adds an extra D note to the power chord. Therefore, the power chord is still made up of only 2 notes because two of them are the same.

I personally like playing this version of mostly all power chords since I feel like it adds a bit more depth to the chord.

Variation #2

This second variation start on the low E string.

To play this voicing you’ll need to press your index finger down on the 10th fret of the first string from the top. This is your root note (D).

Then, you’ll use your ring finger and place it on the 12th fret of the A string.

This voicing is a bit more grungy as it makes use of the thickest string of the guitar (the low E).

Variation #3

The third variation is actually very similar to what you probably recognize as a D chord.

The only thing missing is your middle finger on the high E string.

For this voicing, you’ll want to keep the D string open, place your index finger on the second fret of the G string, your ring finger on the third fret of the B string and mute the high E string.

As I previously mentioned, this voicing is quite similar to a D major and isn’t typically what someone is referring to when they mention power chords.

Nevertheless this variation still, technically, is a power chord as it is made up of only 2 notes.

Variation #4

Variation #4 is a bit more out of the box than the others and isn’t something you see being played that often.

To play this variation, place your index finger on the third fret of the B string and your ring finger on the fifth fret of the high E string.

Simply mute or avoid playing the other 4 strings and that’s it!

How to Practice the D Power Chord

If you’re just starting out on the guitar, even the most basic guitar chords can seem like a daunting concept to wrap your head around. There are so many of them, and they can be so tricky to get right.

But don’t worry – with a little practice, you’ll be playing chords like a pro in no time. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Start slow. When you’re first learning a new chord, like the D power chord, it’s important to go slowly and make sure that you’re getting all the notes in the correct order. Once you’ve got it down, trying speeding up and playing along to a song you know contains the D power chord (as I’ve listed below).
  2. Use a metronome. This will help you keep a steady rhythm as you play, which is essential for sounding good when playing chords.
  3. Listen to recordings of the chord being played. This will give you an idea of how the chord should sound, and will help you to make any necessary adjustments to your own playing. Feel free to check out the sound file above or listen to the songs I mention below.
  4. Listen back to a recording of yourself playing the chord. This will help you to identify any mistakes you might be making, and will give you a chance to correct them. Use a simple DAW to help you with this.
  5. Don’t be afraid to practice. It might not be the most fun thing in the world, but practicing is essential if you want to get better at playing the D power chord. Set aside some time each day to work on it, and soon enough you’ll see progress.

Songs That Use the D Power Chord

1. “Blitzkrieg Bop” By Ramones

Full tabs

2. “Jessie’s Girl” By Rick Springfield

Full tabs

3. “Give It All” By Rise Against

Full tabs

Final Thoughts

Wrapping up, learning how to play a D power chord is not difficult. You can use different techniques and variations to make the sound more interesting.

Although power chords seem simple in nature they’re also quite versatile. Try playing around with your guitar’s tone, amount of distortion, and the D power chord’s voicing/variations to see what sort of unique sounds you can create with this power chord.

With a little practice, you’ll be rocking out to the classics in no time.

If need a little more visual direction for how to play the D power chord on guitar check out this video:

About Cody
Cody is the founder of Musician Tuts, a free tutorial hub for musicians. He has over 15 years of experience playing a variety of instruments and dabbling in audio engineering. He spends his days blogging, listening to Spotify, and playing music.

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