How to Play B7 Minor Chord on Guitar

In today's lesson, we'll go over 7 distinct ways to play the Bm7 guitar chord, also known as the B minor seventh chord.

This guitar chord is built from the B minor scale and is similar to the B minor chord but has a little extra spice that adds a little tension and makes it sound a bit sweet and romantic.

Throughout this lesson, we'll discover common positions, voicings, and recommend finger placements, each with its own chord diagram. We'll also discuss the chord theory, chord names, how the chord can be used, easy songs to practice using the Bm7, and some tips and tricks so that the notes ring out.

B minor 7 in Open position

bm7 open position

The Bm7 guitar chord has an open position, which is very similar to the B dominant 7th chord. To play, place your:

2nd finger on the 5th string, 2nd fret
3rd finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret
4th finger on the 1st string, 2nd fret

When you strum this version of the Bm7, make sure you avoid strumming the low E, and you play the D string and the B string open. As this variation is in the open position and uses open strings, it lowers on the guitar next, allowing more strings to vibrate and giving this position a nice big, full, and bright sound.

How To Play Bm7 With A Barre Chord

Every chord can be played using a barre (bar) position. Barring simply means that you will lay one or more of your fingers across multiple strings on the same fret. As barre chords are slightly more difficult, beginners commonly skip learning them and use a capo, greatly slowing their progress.

However, if you learn easy versions of barre chords first, you won't need to be that guy (or girl) who has to use a capo to cheat! Below I have a few of the most common ways to play the Bm7 chord that uses a barre.

bm7 with barre chord

Bm7 Chord Easy Bar Version - 1 finger!

The easiest way to play a Bm7 guitar chord is also the easiest way to play the Bm7 barre chord! Simply place your index finger on the fourth string, seventh fret, and then lay your finger down so that it is pressing against strings 1-4.

Technically, this would make the chord a slash chord written as Bm7/A because the root note is not in the bass. This simply means you play the Bm7 chord, but the A note is the bass note (the lowest-sounding note). See the chord diagram for reference.

Strum from the 4th string down.

bm7 in em7 shape

Bm7 in Em7 Shape

Playing the Bm7 in the Em7 shape will be similar to the easy Bm7 bar version you just learned. However, this time, we will play all the strings.

First, place your index finger on the 6th (low e string), 7th fret
Then place your ring finger on the 5th string, 9th fret
At last, press your index finger to the side, creating a barre across all the strings

This voicing will give you a nice, big, full sound where you play all the strings, and the root note is in the bass.

bm7 in am7 shape

Bm7 in Am7 Shape

To play the Bm7 as the Am7 shape, place your:

First finger on the fifth string, second fret
Third finger on the fourth string, fourth fret
Second finger on the second string, third fret

Be sure to press to the side of your index finger, or the 3rd string (G string) won't ring out.

To play a slightly different voicing to this position you can add your pinky to the first string, fifth fret. Hear how this gives a nice bit of top end to the chord!

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Bm7 Chord Difficult Version

bm7 difficult version 1

Difficult version #1

This voicing for the Bm7 chord isn't as common as the other chords in this list. Still, knowing an extra voicing or 2 just adds to your arsenal helping you become a better guitarist!

To play, place your:

2nd finger on the 2nd string, 8th fret
3rd finger on the 1st string, 8th fret
1st finger on the 4th string, 9th fret
4th finger on the 3rd string, 11th fret

bm7 difficult version 2

Difficult version #2

This voicing for the Bm7 chord will be a bit of a stretch for your 3rd and 4th fingers. Also, if you are playing on an acoustic guitar without a cutaway, you may need to skip this voicing!

To play the voicing, position your:

3rd finger on the 4th string, 12th fret
2nd finger on the 3rd string, 11th fret
1st finger on the 2nd string, 10th fret
Adding pinky on the 5th string, 14th fret

Bm7 Guitar Chord Tips

Tip #1

The #1 mistake players make in learning how to play chords is that they don't memorize it. If you have to constantly look at where to place your fingers, your mind/body won't develop proper coordination. Focus on learning just a few chords at a given time.

Tip #2

To learn the Am7 chord, play the chord very slowly so that all your fingers attack the strings simultaneously. Your chord changes will always be slow if you place your fingers on the fretboard one at a time.

Tip #3

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 be unable to stretch or work properly. This goes for all guitar chords. 

Easy Songs That Use Bm7 Chord

Fire house - Love Of A Lifetime
Warrant - Heaven

Why Is A Chord Called B Minor Seventh Chord? 

To understand how a chord gets its name, we need to understand a little music theory and what's going on inside the chord. So now, let's look at what notes make the minor seventh chord.

The notes of a chord are derived from its corresponding scale. In this case, The Bm7 chord or B minor 7 is a four-note chord derived from the B minor scale. B C# D E F# G A

When you number the notes of a scale, they are called SCALE DEGREES. So to make an Bm7 chord, we need the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th "degrees."

1      2     b3      4      5     b6     b7
B   C#      D       E     F#      G      A

All minor chords use the 1, b3, and 5 notes of their corresponding scale, and the minor 7th simply adds in one more note - the 7!

When these four notes are being played harmonically (played at the same time), you are playing a Bm7 chord.

You may be wondering why did you add a "b" (flat) to the 3, 6, and 7 degrees of the scale? This is beyond the scope of this lesson, but for simplicity's sake, all minor scales have the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes lowered down a half step compared to the major scale. We'll have other lessons to go in-depth on this, but let's just stick to learning the Bm7 chord for now. 

Also, notice from the guitar chord diagrams I provided ONLY the following notes: B, D, F#, and A are present. If you have another note, such as a C# or G note, it is no longer a B minor 7 chord!

That being said, you can have multiple B D F# A notes, as shown in the chord diagrams, and they can be in any order. Listen how the different voicings sound, they are the same but slightly different. Think of it as different shades of the same color.

Now, you know how to play the Bm7 guitar chord in many different positions, focus on memorizing a few voicings, and then put them to practice by playing songs that use the Bm7. I have listed a few songs below for you to check out.

How to use the Bm7 guitar chord

By now, you've learned there are different types of guitar chords, but there are also different types of seventh chords! There are minor seventh, dominant seventh (sometimes called a dominant chord), major seventh, & minor major seventh chords...

The Bm7 chord can be used as a chord substitution for the Bm chord. For example, In the key of D major, the basic chords are D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm, and C#dim.

If we take a chord progression like D G Bm A, we can create more interesting music by playing D, G, Bm7, and A. It adds a bit of variety to the chord progression, but it can also help lead into the next chord.

I don't want to go too in-depth with the theory, but as you can see from the chord diagrams, I provided the notes that make the Bm7 chord B D F# A. A major chords use notes A C# E. So by adding in the A note you turn the Bm chord into a Bm7 chord. When you play an A major chord after, it will flow nicely as the A note is now in both chords. - Genius!

If you need help learning other chords mentioned or want to learn the theory of these other guitar chords, click here to go to the chord library

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