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The B major guitar chord can be a little intimidating for beginning guitarists, largely due to its tricky finger positions. However, the B chord is a versatile chord that can set guitarists up for many other chords they will use in the future.
In this article, we will go over how to play the B chord on guitar, its variations, and everything else you know to add this to your repertoire.
What is the B Chord on guitar?
The B guitar chord also referred to as the B major chord, is an essential chord for all guitarists to learn. It is a mid-range chord, its pitch higher than the common G chord and lower than the D guitar chord. Unlike more common chords, the B major chord uses a barre chords structure instead of open strings to voice its notes.
You can hear the B guitar chord in songs like “Limelight” by Rush, “Dream Police” by Cheap Trick, and many standard blues progressions.
Today we will start by going over the two main ways to play the B chord on guitar, then dive into some variations you can use. We will also go over some basic progressions and practice tips you can use to become proficient with the B major chord.
How To Play the B Chord on Guitar
Since the B chord doesn’t use open strings for any of its notes, it can be a little tricky for beginners. Don’t let this intimidate you though, as we will also go over some tips that can make this guitar chord easier to master.
B Guitar Chord Finger Positions
Let’s take a look at how to fret the most common version of the B guitar chord:
- Place your index finger on the second fret of the A string and lay your finger across the D, G, B, and E strings, pressing them all down on the second fret. This is referred to as a barre chord
- Place your middle finger on the fourth fret of the D string.
- Place your ring finger on the fourth fret of the G string.
- Place your pinky on the fourth fret of the B string.
At first, this chord will feel very uncomfortable, but with some practice, you will be confidently playing the B guitar chord in no time.
When you’ve got your fingers in position, make sure you apply enough pressure that there are no dead notes or fret buzzes. To help with getting the B guitar chord down, practice transitioning back and forth between A major and B major. You can also practice moving from an E major chord to the B and back.
How to Strum The B Chord
Before you strum the B chord, be sure to check every string from the A to the high E to make sure every note is voicing properly. If you hear any dead notes or fret buzzes, adjust how your finger is positioned on the fret.
To ensure that the notes can play properly, make sure your fingertips are centered on the string. This will also prevent any of your fingers from touching any of the neighboring strings. On the index finger, make sure you are applying equal pressure on all five strings and keeping it flat.
Once you have made sure all the notes are fretted properly, move on to strumming the entire chord. In order to play the B chord on guitar, you will strum the bottom five strings. Be careful not to strum the low E string.
Congratulations! You’ve just played the B major guitar chord.
Simple Exercise: You may have realized that it uses the same finger pattern as the B major. To get the B major down, you can practice switching between these two chords since the chord patterns are similar.
Another way to play the B chord on guitar
Some songs require you to play higher up the neck, where moving to the second fret for the B chord may not be practical. In these cases, you can fret the B chord higher up the neck:
- Barre across all six strings on the seventh fret with your index finger.
- Place your ring finger on the ninth fret of the A string.
- Place your pinky on the ninth fret of the D string.
- Place your middle finger on the eighth fret of the G string.
Same as before, go through each string to make sure all the notes are coming through. For this chord, you will strum all six strings.
This is what is referred to as an E shape B Major bar chord, as the middle, ring, and pinky fingers are making the same shape as an E major chord.
B Guitar Chord Variations
Just like any other chord, the B chord is not without variations. Let’s dive into the most common example of this.
The most common B Major Chord Variation
The B chord can feel very uncomfortable, even to experienced players. That is why many people opt for the B sus2 in its place. Don’t let the sus2 intimidate you, as it makes things easier in this case. It goes as follows:
- Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string and bar it across the D, G, B, and high E strings.
- Place your ring finger on the 4th fret of the D string.
- Place your pinky on the 4th fret of the G string.
This pattern is nearly the same as the original chord, besides the B string being barred on the 2nd instead of fretted at the fourth. This variant offers a comfortable alternative without altering the sound drastically.
B Chord Progression
Now that we’ve covered some B chord variations, let’s take a look at some simple chord progressions you can use to get you started.
These progressions will help to build a strong foundation with the B chord and help you work it into your arsenal of guitar tools.
Now get out there and make some Guitar Moments!