Open D Neck Diagram
If you are reading this, chances are you play guitar. As a guitar player I certainly hope you understand the bare-bones basics of music. Music consists of the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, and G with some sharps and flats sprinkled in between. Between each note is an interval called a “step”. There is one whole step between the notes above. Example: A -whole step to- B -whole step to- C, etc.
There are also half steps. These are the sharps and flats. Sharp is identified by the # symbol while flat is identified by the ♭ symbol. The term sharp and flat can pretty much be used interchangeably for the same note, but the preceding note needs to be correctly identified. This means that an A# is the same as B♭ because it is the note immediately after A and immediately preceding B.
Example: A (half) A#/B♭ (half) B (whole) C (half) C#/D♭ (half) D, and so on.
Notice that two half steps create one whole step. The half step from A to A#/B♭ plus the half step from A#/B♭ to B is really just a whole step from A to B.
Below is a diagram of the neck of a guitar tuned to open d (D-A-D-F#-A-D). By realizing that D is an open chord starting at the “nut” of the guitar’s neck, you can easily figure out your guitar’s neck and learn basic barre chords.
Open D Neck Diagram:
After you have learned this you can quickly begin to pick up the fundamentals of slide guitar. Playing your slide parallel with the frets above will result in a “ready made” chord. Just remember not to push down on the strings. Playing with a slide is not like playing with your fingers. You want your slide to rest gently on top of the strings. There should be enough pressure and contact to make a sort of “hum” tone, but not enough that the strings actually touch the neck of the guitar.
If you are just starting out playing slide, try to just play through the whole notes from D (open) to D (12th fret). As the diagram above displays, the whole notes are found on frets: 0, 2, 3, 5, and 7. The diagram doesn’t show the rest of the neck… now is your turn to see if you can find the rest on your own.
You can also play barre chords if you don’t have/don’t want to use a slide. Simply use your index finger to press down on all the strings across the fret and strum!