How to Play the B Chord on Guitar (Tips & Easy Way)

Photo of author
Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

Learning how to play the B chord on guitar is a challenge for most beginners.

The B Major chord is usually played as a barre chord, so it simply requires more effort.

But don’t worry – there are various ways to play the B chord, and we will show you the two most common ways to play it.

Let’s dive in!

Ways of Playing B Chord Guitar

The B Major chord is the first chord in the key of B. It contains the guitar notes B, D#, and F#. Essentially, it’s produced by playing the 1st (root), 3rd, and 5th notes of the B Major scale.

For guitar beginners, learning the B chord might be a challenge because it’s usually their first chord with no open strings.

Also, mastering the B chord on guitar takes extra finger strength and some tricky fingering. But don’t let that discourage you. With the right approach and practice, you’ll get there in no time!

First of all, if you want to play the B chord on acoustic guitar, you need to fret every note in the chord.

Let’s try that in the 2nd position first. This popular way of playing B guitar chord goes like this:

  • Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A (5th) string
  • Middle finger on the 4th fret of the D (4th) string
  • Ring finger on the 4th fret of the G (3rd) string
  • Pinky on the 4th fret of the B (2nd) string
B chord guitar.

Another common way of playing the B chord on guitar is played in the 7th position, and it requires strumming all six strings from the low E string. It looks like this:

  • Index finger on the 7th fret of the low E (6th) string
  • Index finger on the 7th fret of the E (2nd) string
  • Index finger on the 7th fret of the G (1st) string
  • Middle finger on the 8th fret of the G (3rd) string
  • Ring finger on the 9th fret of the A (5th) string
  • Pinky on the 9th fret of the D (4th) string
B chord barre variation.

These are the two most common ways of playing the guitar B chord. They are both challenging because they require a different way of playing and finger dexterity. But if you want to try alternate versions of playing the B chord on guitar, you can explore the following variations.

Alternate Versions for B Chord Guitar

One of the things you can try to make everything easier is to put your index finger off the 5th string and place it on the 1st string. That way, the chord looks like this:

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

Although it’s different, this version sounds full. If you’re playing easy songs for beginners, it would definitely sound good enough.

Another B acoustic guitar chord worth trying is this:

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

In this case, you need to strum five strings down from the A string.

This version is even simpler than the previous one. But there’s another super easy version that covers 3 notes and strumming down starting on the G string. It goes like this:

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

Another similar 3-note version looks like this:

  • Index finger on the 8th fret of the G (3rd) string
  • Index finger on the 7th fret of the B (2nd) string
  • Middle finger on the 7th fret of the E (1st) string

Practicing B Chord on Guitar

As you can see, there’s also an easy way to play the B chord on the guitar. You can start with simple versions and work your way up.

Either way, learning the B Major chord is important for every player. And by practicing it, you’ll also improve your finger strength and dexterity.

One of the ways to practice the B chord is by trying out transitions. Remember that the B chord can usually be found in songs in the key of E. Therefore, you can work on transitioning from an E chord to a B chord and back again. The other option is transitioning from an A chord to a B chord and back again.

Once you feel comfortable with the B chord, you can try playing guitar songs with the B chord. The B Major is a widely used chord, so you can find it in all kinds of songs. You can play ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin, and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd, just to name a few.

Final Thoughts

Tackling B Major chord on guitar isn’t a simple task for a beginner. But hopefully, playing it makes much more sense now.

It’s important to take it slowly. You should start with some easier guitar chords like E, C, or G. That way, the B chord will be easier to handle.

Nevertheless, this is an important step in every guitar player’s learning journey, and you shouldn’t let it affect your progress.

If you practice regularly, you’ll be the master of barre chords in no time!

Video guide on playing the B chord:

Try these guitar chords next: