What is Dm/B?
Dm/B is a Dm guitar chord with note B on the bass. That low B adds nice jazzy quality to the harmony. It is useful as substitution for Dm (aka Dm/D) chord in many kinds of Dm -> E or Dm->E7 progressions and allows to embellish your playing a bit.
This kind of chords is also called “Slash Chords” because of the slash symbol (“/”) in the middle of its name, which separates a chord itself and its bass note. If a chord name doesn’t have that slash, than the root note should be used as a bass (such as D for Dm).
This is the second post in the series of articles about using simple jazzy chords in your repertoire for improving guitar arrangements of the folk and pop songs. You can find the previous post about C9 chord there.
The simplest form of that chord derives from the plain simple Dm fingering in open position so-called ‘D-Shape’. Let’s play it. Start from Dm, then add F on the fourth string, then B on the fifths string as a bass, ignore strings 1 and 6, and play strings 2-5 only. The last chord in this sequence below is the main hero of today’s post.
When to use it?
Now let’s see when it makes sense to use it. The first obvious use case for Dm/B is to substitute Dm in the key of C or Am, in progressions like Dm->E->Am. Listen how it sounds:
Now, let’s add the second simplest case, when Dm/B is used to embellish a standard Dm in the long running Dm->Dm/B->Am sequence. In the example below, the first two bars show this case, and the next two bar include a slightly updated previous example (Dm/B->E->Am). This Dm/B embellishment and a progression is quite useful in many ballad-style songs.
In the next longer fragment, Dm/B can be used as an embellished replacement chord for Dm in key of Em resolving to E major or E7:
Another Dm/B guitar chord form
Here you can see another useful but a slightly different form of the same chord Dm/B. Now it looks like a traditional D-shaped Dm with added B bass note on the fifth string. You should mute or skip the 4th string. Let’s play some 2-chord tango intro. In this case, Dm/B leads the melody voicing from F to E on the first string:
Isn’t it nice?
A few more comments
A good feature of these two forms is that they are movable: they can be played anywhere on the fretboard. As soon as you play an A-shaped barre chord anywhere on the neck and want to play a D-shaped chord and then E-shaped one after it, you might want to replace Dm shaped one with one or another Dm/B form. It’s quite inconvenient to play D-shaped chord with barre, so this /B trick can save your fingers from some sore.