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B Chord, How to Play B Major Guitar Chord

Compared to most basic guitar chords, B major poses some difficulties. Many beginners avoid the chord, but countless songs use it. If you want to play songs like Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” or Coldplay’s “Yellow,” you will want to learn how to play B major on guitar.

How to Play B Major on Guitar the “Correct” Way

The most common ways to play B major require tricky finger maneuvering that is too challenging for most beginners. When you first learn to play the guitar, the basic chords use open strings. Major chords like A, C, D, E, and G remain open (with some exceptions to chord variants), but with B, you will need to pay attention to every string and often not strum a few.

2nd Position

b guitar chord chart in standard second position

The first way to play B major is the 2nd position. Below are the placements of each of your fingers on the guitar strings. You strum four strings down, starting at the fifth (A) string.

  • Index finger: place it on the 2nd fret, 5th (A) string
  • Middle finger: place it on the 4th fret, 4th (D) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 4th fret, 3rd (G) string
  • Pinky finger: place it on the 4th fret, 2nd (B) string

7th Position

barre version of b major guitar chord

A common barre chord method to play B major is the 7th position. It is the first barre chord we will cover. You strum all six strings starting at the sixth (low E) string.

  • Index finger: place it on the 7th fret, barre over 6th through 1st strings.
  • Middle finger: place it on the 8th fret, 3rd (G) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 9th fret, 5th (A) string
  • Pinky finger: place it on the 9th fret, 4th (D) string

This barre is very similar to F sharp major on guitar, so you should be able to learn both quickly!

Low Chord

b major chord low version

If B is the lowest chord you will play, you can complete this technique to make it sound more powerful. This version has some of the most complex fingering, but it does make the chord stand out. You strum all of the strings.

  • Index finger: place it on the 2nd fret, 5th (A) string
  • Middle finger: place it on the 4th fret, 4th (D) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 3rd fret, 3rd (G) string
  • Pinky finger: place it on the 4th fret, 2nd (B) string

Barre Chord

b chord chart with barre on second fret alternative chord variant

For a more involved barre chord, attempt this method below. The finger placements will take some getting used to, but once you have the barre technique down, you should be able to complete this B chord. You strum all of the strings.

  • Index finger: place it on the 2nd fret, 1st through 6th strings
  • Middle finger: place it on the 4th fret, 4th (D) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 4th fret, 3rd (G) string
  • Pinky finger: place it on the 4th fret, 2nd (B) string

Beginner Variations of the B Major Guitar Chord

If you are a beginner, you will probably want to avoid barre chords until you build finger calluses, strength, and dexterity. The second position requires excellent stamina and strength to fret every string close to the nut. Its difficulty compares to the F major guitar chord, and it proves especially tricky on acoustic guitars.

Second Position Alternative

One alternative involves removing your first finger from the fifth string and placing it on the second fret of the first (E) string. You strum all of the strings when playing this B major chord.

  • Index finger: place it on the 2nd fret, 1st (E) string
  • Middle finger: place it on the 4th fret, 4th (D) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 4th fret, 3rd (G) string
  • Pinky finger: place it on the 4th fret, 2nd (B) string

While you will not play the B note in the bass, this alternative still has a full sound. Since it does not differ from the second position too much, you may want an easier alternative.

Try another barre: The Fm (f minor) chord

Bsus4 Chord

bsus4 chart with just three fingers

The Bsus4 chord provides a simpler alternative to the regular B major. It has a more colorful and open sound than the standard B major, and it is easier to perform. You strum five strings starting from A. It only requires three fingers, making it an attractive choice for beginners.

  • Index finger: place it on the 2nd fret, 5th (A) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 4th fret, 4th (D) string
  • Pinky finger: place it on the 4th fret, 3rd (G) string

B7 Chord

illustrative guitar chord chart showing the b7 chord.

One of B major’s best alternatives is the B7 guitar chord because it requires only three fingers to produce a full sound. You start strumming from the A string.

  • Index finger: place it on the 1st fret, 4th (D) string
  • Middle finger: place it on the 2nd fret, 5th (A) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 2nd fret, 3rd (G) string

Other Three-Finger Versions

The first three-finger B major has you strum three strings starting from G. It is similar to the 2nd position, but the method requires less finger strength to play.

  • Index finger: place it on the 2nd fret, 1st (E) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 4th fret, 3rd (G) string
  • Pinky finger: place it on the 4th fret, 2nd (B) string

For this three-note B chord, focus on strumming just the first three strings. 

  • Index finger: place it on the 7th fret, 1st (E) string
  • Middle finger: place it on the 7th fret, 2nd (B) string
  • Ring finger: place it on the 8th fret, 3rd (G) string

Transitioning to the B Major Chord

Once you have mastered a few of the B chords and feel comfortable playing them, you should work on transitioning between chords. You will most likely find the B major chord in songs written in the E key. To practice, try to switch between an E chord and a B chord. Then, play the A and B chords. You can play each chord for four strums before transitioning into the next.

As you adjust to playing four strums of each chord, lessen the number of times you play them. Play three of each, then two, and then one until you can comfortably and quickly switch between the two. Practice transitioning between every chord you know until you have mastered the B major chord.

The B major is one of the most challenging chords for beginners to play because of the necessary finger strength, stamina, and dexterity. 

Don’t worry! With enough practice, you can master it. Begin with easier chords like C, E, and G, and start with the alternatives like the Bm11, Bsus7, B7, and the various three-finger versions. Once you master these techniques, you can practice the more complex ones involving barres and tricky positioning.

Try these chords next:

B minor (Bm) guitar chord

Eb minor (E Flat Minor) on guitar

Last Updated on January 21, 2021 by Liam F. Admin