How to Play B Chord on Guitar

On this page I am going to show you 7 ways for how to play the B chord on guitar. 
I'll show you the easiest way to play the B chord a few common variations, and even how to play a B bar chord. We'll also get into popular chords that go with B, popular songs that use the B chord, and what notes make up the chord. 

Why is the B chord so hard?

You've heard about the dreaded B chord 😱 and just like any chord, theres easy and hard ways to play the chord. The tricky part about the B chord is that due to how the guitar is tuned, there is no open position for the B chord.

But the problem learners have is they jump to learning the B chord as a bar chords instead of working up to it with easier versions.  
 


How To Play B Chord On Guitar Easy

If you've been looking for the easiest B chord to play here it is!

Place your 2nd finger (middle) on 4th string 4th fret

Place your 3rd finger (ring) on 3rd string 4th fret

Place your 4th finger (pinky) on 2nd string 4th fret


What a minute! This is the exact fingering for the A chord in open position!

Yea, you just slide up to the 4th fret!

Not sure on how to read a chord diagram? Click here

How To Strum The B chord

To strum the B chord  above without strumming strings 1, 5 or 6 You can do the following
First, lightly rest your wrist of the picking hand on the bridge of your guitar just before you strum. This will help you feel where your picking hand is so you can skip strings 5 & 6. This will take some practice to do quickly without looking. 

For not strumming the first string, you can either touch the string with your picking hand or let your 1st finger drop down slightly so that it is lightly touches the 1st string. 

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B Chord Tips

The 1st tip to learning the B chord and making smooth transition is to learn easier versions first. I know this seems obvious but a lot of players try to learn the bar chord versions first. 
The 2nd tip is to to make sure your thumb is behind your first and second fingers. You don't want your thumb on the outside of your index finger as this will cause your hand to not be able to stretch or work properly.

 
The 3rd tip is for bar chords. When playing bar chords and your index finger (1st finger) needs to do execute the bar you want to apply pressure to the side of your finger. If you squeeze directly in your finger will bend and the strings on your knuckles wont ring out!

How To Play The B Chord Without The Bar

There's a few other ways to play the B chord without barring. In this variation you keep the fingers the same as above but now we are going to use your first finger (index) and play the B note on the 5th string which is 5th string 2nd fret. 
This will be quite a stretch so make sure your fret hand thumb is low and in the middle of your hand. 

This  variation of the B major chord will prepare you to play the last version of the B bar chord I have in this lesson. You'll place your 1st finger on the 6th string 7th fret, 3rd finger on 5th string 9th fret, 4th finger on 4th string 9th fret, and your 2nd finger on 3rd string 8th fret. 
Just be sure not to strum strings 1 & 2!
Well actually, the 2nd string open is a B note so you could play this with the B string open just don't play the 1st string!

How To Play The B Major Bar Chord 

Now we are going to move on to bar chords and you are going to learn how to play the B bar chord properly. I am going to guide you through different variations of the B major bar chord with easy variation getting progressively harder. 

Just so we are clear, when you use one finger to press multiple strings this is called a  bar chord or sometimes spelled barre chord. 

Lets get started!

This next example is sometimes called the "A shape" bar chord in reference to the A major chord in open position. I have two ways to play the B bar chord in this position. As you can see, one variation uses 2 bars while the other only uses one.  

he 2nd variation with 2 bars is pretty tricky in this position so be prepared to practice! 
But keep in mind both work just fine its just the 2nd variation gives you a little more top end from the 1st string ringing out. 

To play this variation of the B chord, use your 1st finger on the 5th string 2nd fret, and lay (bar) your 3rd finger across strings 2-4 on the 4th fret.  

* Remember to have your thumb splitting the difference with your index and ring finger and keep your 2nd joint on your ring finger high so it can SCOOP and lay flat. 
 

How To Play the B bar (E shape) 

Ok, so you're ready to tackle a harder version of the B chord. You were already prepared to play this variation because of the example above so this wont be very hard for you after all! 

To play the B major bar chord in this position, 
place your first finger (index) on 6th string 7th fret, then place your 3rd finger (ring) on 5th string 9rd fret, your 4th finger (pinky) on 4th string 9th fret and your 2nd finger (middle) on 3rd string 8th fret. 

Your thumb and 2nd finger should be directly behind each other and squeeze! Then you simple apply pressure to the SIDE of your 1st finger to do the bar across all 6 strings

** Even though I break the chord down finger by finger to play this chord properly and make smooth transitions you need to be able to do all of this with one motion. It takes practice but you'll get it! I believe in you!

This voicing for the B major chord is a bit less common but sounds great.

 

To play, place your pinky finger on the 5th string 14th fret, your ring finger on the 4th string 13th fret, your middle finger on the 2nd string 12th fret, then bar your index finger across strings 1, 2 and 3. 

Now you know how to play the B major chord! 👊
Scratch that, you are like an B chord pro as you know a lot of ways to play the B chord on guitar!

Easy Songs That Use B Major

Metallica  - Die Die My Darlin
(original by Misfits)
Skid Row - 18 & Life
Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters

B Major Chord Progression Guitar

Here's a few chord progressions that sound great that use the B chord. Feel free to change up the orders and experiment with the sounds!

B - E - F#
E -A - B - E
E - F# - E - B 

C#m - B - A - B
G#m - E - B - F#m
C#m - G#m - B - F#

If you need help learning these other chords, click here

What Keys Have A B Major Chord? 

Major keys that use a B major chord:
Key of B Major
Key of E Major
Key of F# Major

Minor keys that use a B major chord:
Key of G# Minor
Key of C# Minor
Key of D# Minor

What Are The Notes Of A B Major Chord?

A B chord or B major chord consists of 3 notes that are derived from the B major scale.
  B   C#   D#   E   F#   G#   A#

When you number the notes of a scale they are called SCALE DEGREES. So to make a B major chord we need the 1st, 3rd and 5th "degrees." 

1     2      3      4    5      6     7
B    C#   D#   E   F#   G#   A#

All major chords use the 1, 3, and 5 notes of a their corresponding scale. 

When these 3 notes are being played harmonically (played at the same time) you are playing a B major chord!

Notice from the chord diagrams above, ONLY the notes B, D# and F# are being used. If you have another note such as a G# note or a E note it is no longer B major chord!

That being said, you can have multiple B,  D#, or F#  notes as show in the chord diagrams. Try playing the B chord in one of the variations shown above but only strum a few of the notes. Notice the chord will sound "thin" if there is only one of each note. By adding in more of the same notes you make the chord have more depth. You may even think of it as a darker or lighter shade of the same color.

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