Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (2024)

The D chord on ukulele can sometimes be a real pain for beginners, especially if you have large fingers. We’ll teach you some variations to give you some options for playing it.

Written by Jay Searle / Published July 5, 2022

Last updated: March 28, 2024

Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (1)

Chord diagrams for the D ukulele chord with suggested fingerings and variations are shown below:

Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (2)
Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (3)
Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (4)

The D chord on ukulele is absolutely critical to any developing player. Fortunately, the fingering isn’t too difficult, and it’s pretty beginner friendly.

So, let’s have a closer look at what makes up the D Major chord, where it comes from, and how to play it.

MORE CHORDS: Learn how to play more ukulele chords here.

Table of Contents

What Notes Are in the D Major Chord?

The D Major chord is made up of three notes, namely D, F#, and A. These notes are taken from the D Major scale. They are the first, third, and fifth notes of the scale and together they make up the major triad.

Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (5)

This set of notes can be combined in a number of ways on the ukulele, each of which has a slightly different sound and playability.

How Do You Play a D Chord on Ukulele?

There are several ways to play the D Major chord. Part of what makes the D uke chord so great for beginners is that it can be played in the open position. This means that you make use of open strings that are not necessarily pressed down (fretted) on the fretboard.

The D Ukulele Chord in Open Position

Let’s have a look at D Major in the open position. Ukuleles are typically tuned G (4th string), C (3rd string), E (2nd string) and A on the 1st string. It’s important to note though, that, unlike the guitar, the 4th string is not your lowest tone, that is the C or 3rd string on a ukulele. This is because most ukuleles use re-entrant tuning where the 4th string is tuned up an octave.

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You can also play the D Major chord using the exact same notes, but changing the position that your fingers are in. This might make it a little easier to get those three notes into one fret for some players, but does not change the sound of the chord. It is purely a matter of the player’s preference, so experiment a bit and find what is most comfortable for your hands.

D Chord on Ukulele Variation No.1

This variation of the D Major chord uses a barre chord technique. That means you use your index finger and press it across all of the strings on the 2nd fret. This can be a little tricky for new players as it requires finger strength to fret all the notes evenly and without ‘dead notes’ or buzzing. Using your pinky finger, play the note on the 1st string at the fifth fret, which just so happens to be a D.

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Since this position involves fretting a note on all of the strings – that is, there are no open strings – you can move this shape to any position of the fretboard to play a different major chord. The ‘root’ note, or the note the chord is named after, occurs on the 3rd string, which is being fretted by your index finger.

For example, if I want to play an A Major chord using this shape, then I can slide my hand so that my index finger is laying across the strings on the 9th fret with my pinky on the 12th fret. Feel free to move this position around to play some other major chords to help you get used to the shape and build finger strength.

D Chord on Ukulele Variation No.2

The third way to play the D Major chord on the ukulele uses the barre chord technique from above, only this time across two strings instead of all four.

To play it, simply use the tip of your index finger to play both the 1st and 2nd strings at the 5th fret. Then, place your middle finger onto the 3rd string at fret 6. Finally, use your ring finger on the 4th string to play the note on the 7th fret.

As you strum the chord in a downward motion (from top to bottom), the notes you’re playing are D, F#, A, D, in that order.

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I hope that makes the D Major chord easier to wrap your head and your fingers around, but if you would like a really great video demonstration of the D Major in all its glory, then check out this video from UkuleleGo.

How to Play the D Chord on a Baritone Ukulele

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. The baritone is tuned d-G-B-E. That means that in order to play the D major chord (D–F#–A) you will have to change the placement of your fingers. Guitar players will be familiar with this shape as a baritone ukulele is tuned to the same notes as the top four strings of a guitar.

Have a look at the diagram below to see how to play the D chord in the open position on a baritone ukulele.

Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (9)

To get a really great explanation of all things D Major on the baritone ukulele, have a look at Bernadette Teaches Music’s video “How to play D Chord on Baritone Uke” and you will be flying across the fretboard in no time.

What Songs Use the D Chord on Ukulele?

I understand. The most important part of making music is being able to play songs. It’s important to hear the chord played in context, around other chords.

So, if you want to have a really great understanding of the D Major chord and how it functions in the key of D, do yourself a favor and check out Uke Like The Pro’s video on the D Major scale right here. They give you a great idea of how the D Major chord is built from the scale, and how that fits in music.

Not only that, but you get a good idea of some tunes that use the D Major chord and chords that work well with D Major. Can’t make music on one chord alone, right?

If you’re feeling keen and would like to play the D chord along to a popular tune, then check out Ukulele Underground’s cover of “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran below. It contains chord diagrams for you to be able to play along with the video.

So there you have it! You now know how to play the D major chord on the ukulele. Once you have it down, try adding in a few more chords to come up with your own little chord progression. For more chords to learn, check out our article on simple chords we recommend for beginners.


The D chord can be a little bit tricky for beginners, but I would consider it to be an essential chord to have at your disposal. Plenty of songs use the D chord so you’re bound to come across it fairly early on in your ukulele playing journey.

If the open position fingering just isn’t working for you, try out some of the variations above. There’s no right or wrong way to play the D chord on ukulele, so just use whatever position is more comfortable for you.

Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (10)

Jay Searle

Website Founder & Writer

Jay is a self-professed music nerd and ukulele lover. When not working on the website you’ll find him strumming along to his favorite tunes, spending time with his family, or learning to play the piano.

Learn How to Play the D Chord on Ukulele - My First Ukulele (2024)
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