The B chord on the guitar, or the B major chord to be more specific seems to be a big mystery to a lot of guitar players. And with good reason. B chords are often left out of many basic guitar chord references.
The reason is there are really no comfortable open position B chords like there are for the A, C, D, E, F and G major chords. The notes of a B major chord are B D# and F#. And while the 2nd string open is a B, that doesn’t help to create and easy B chord form to play on the neck.
So in this video guitar lesson I’m going to show you some of the most common ways you might play this dreaded B chord. First we will look at the barre chord forms, and then some “easy B chords”, or at least easier B chord forms than you might use if barre chords are beyond your current ability on the guitar. Then you can choose from these B chord charts the best one to fit your situation.
B Barre Chords
(Video Guitar Lesson 1 of 2)
Just mention the words “barre chords” to many guitar players, and they hide underneath a chair. And while these can be difficult for some beginning guitarist, you should confront your fear and attack them head on. They are never going to get easier if you don’t practice them. If you play an acoustic guitar these are going to take a lot of pressure, and you are going to have to build some hand strength for them to even start to sound OK.
B Barre Chord – Root on the 6th String
Getting to know the notes on the guitar neck is going to be essential when trying to find where you should play any moveable chord form like barre chords. Any guitar chord form that doesn’t have any open strings can be moved around to any fret on the guitar. The B note on the 6th string of the guitar is at the 7th fret. Take your first finger and barre across all 6 strings at that fret and then place your other 3 fingers as indicated in the guitar chord chart below.
B Barre Chord – Root on the 5th String
The B note on the 5th string is at the 2nd fret. If you are playing a song that uses mostly basic open position guitar chords, this is going to be the best sounding, and closest B chord option to play. There are really 2 different fingerings you might try. Either barring your 3rd finger across the 4th, 3rd and 2nd strings, or using your 4th finger to do the barre.
You need to try and bend the last segment of your 3rd finger back slightly in order to get a good solid barre. For me the last segment of my 4th finger cooperates a little better than my 3nd finger, so that is my preferred fingering when play this B chord.
Be sure and go through the barre chord guitar lesson for some extra help with getting a handle on these chord forms.
Easy B Chords on Guitar
(Video Guitar Lesson 2 of 2)
The B barre chord forms are the best sounding options, but now I’m going to show you a couple of easier alternatives. For some of you these B chords may not be easy, but they are certainly easier B chord options on the neck of the guitar if you struggled with the B barre chords.
The first option is very close the root on the 5th string barre chord…just missing the note that was on the 3rd string. Because of this, there is no barre. You do need to make sure you mute the 3rd and 1st strings by touching them very lightly with your 1st finger.
Next up is a B chord form that involves all 4 of your fingers.Your 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers all need to fit into the 4th fret. This will not sound as good as the barre chord version, or the last one that you learned, because there is not the lower B note sound in the bass.
You could also add in the note on the 5th string 2nd string to get another barre chord B option. This is not really and easy chord, but I am just showing it to you here as a reference to go along with the previous chord form.
If using all 4 fingers is a little much, you can try just barring your 3rd finger across the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings at the 4th fret. This is like the B barre chord with the root on the 5th string, just minus the 5th string. You could also try barring with your 1st finger as well.
You could play the same 3 notes you just played only using your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers. Cramming all 3 fingers in at the 4th fret could be difficult, but this may be easier than the other options for some people. You could even try playing these 3 notes with your 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers.
The last one I’m going to show you is not a B chord…but a Bsus4. This can be used as a substitution for a B, and may be an easier option to try out.
There really are just some of the options to play a B chord. I could create a whole chord book with nothing but B chords. Any place on the neck that you can play the notes B D# and F#, you have a B chord. But this lesson at least gives you a starting point for B chord options on the guitar.