Learning to play the guitar requires constant dedication, a lot of patience, and a good helping of discipline.
It can be incredibly difficult to start off with, especially when it comes to learning the various strumming techniques or even learning some of the many chords and their variations.
Some chords are notorious for tripping up beginner guitarists and causing many potential guitar masters to drop the instrument altogether before they can ever get good.
These include chords such as the G chord, or the F chord, which require incredible dexterity and incredible flexibility in your hands.
Much like the F and G chords, the B chord has been known to be very daunting to many guitarists over the years, thanks to its unusual shapes which prove to be uncomfortable, especially to anyone who is new to holding chords in place.
If you are in an uncomfortable position where you want to learn the B chord but you just cannot get it to sound right, then don’t worry, because we are here to help you to achieve your dreams of guitar stardom.
Read on to find out some of the best methods for achieving the B chord on the guitar!
The Partial B Major Chord
If you find that the B chord proves to be too difficult, then don’t worry, as there are plenty of other methods that you can try out to achieve the same sound in a much easier form.
Many of these methods are referred to as “Partial” B Major chords. This is because they only use a few of the strings.
The act of neglecting a few strings leads to more simplified sounds, which makes it easier to create alternative versions of more difficult chords.
One partial B Major method involves placing the index finger onto the first string and pushing it into the second fret.
From there, take your ring finger, place it onto the third string, and press it into the fourth fret. Your pinky finger will then go directly below your ring finger to press the second string into the fourth fret.
Be careful not to accidentally touch the first string with your pinky finger, as this will cause the resulting sound when you strum to be muted and unsatisfying.
This might feel a bit unnatural at first, especially because you will have to stretch your hand quite significantly to reach across a fret.
As well as this, you may never have employed your pinky finger in guitar playing yet, so that can take some getting used to.
Make sure to be patient with yourself so that you can get it right, as it will take some time and dedication.
Once you have got the fingers into the right position, you will then want to ensure that you only strum the bottom three strings.
This is because adding the top three strings will cause the chord to sound unusual.
An Alternate Partial B Major Chord Method
This next method also applies the “partial” chord method to create a very satisfying B Major sound without needing to use all of the strings.
This slightly more difficult method employs the use of four fingers but eliminates the use of two of the strings.
In order to use this method, you will need to take the index finger and place it atop the first string, within the second fret.
From here, with your other fingers you should take up a similar position to that we mentioned in the other partial method.
Your ring finger should be placed atop the third string, within the fourth fret, and your pinky will be in the same fret, atop the second string.
However, what differentiates this method is its employment of the middle finger, which should be placed on the fourth string in the fourth fret.
This makes this method slightly more difficult to use than the previous method, as your hand will need to stretch significantly to reach the correct position.
You may benefit from giving your hands a good stretch before taking on this method.
Once you achieve the correct position, try holding it for a good few seconds before letting it go, so that your hand can slowly and naturally acclimate.
When strumming, be sure to avoid the fifth and sixth strings, to allow the chord to sound most satisfying.
The B7 Chord
This is one of the easiest methods for achieving the B chord, and thus it is perfect for any beginners out there who want to get started in playing this tricky chord.
Now, it is worth mentioning right out of the gate that, though this method is much easier, it still requires some physical dexterity from your hands, and thus you should make sure to be patient.
You won’t get it right away, but with time and practice, it will very easily become second nature.
In order to utilize this method, you will need to take the index finger and place it upon the fourth string up, within the first fret.
The middle finger should be placed on the fifth string up, within the second fret. The middle finger should be placed on string three, and pushed, again, into the second fret.
The pinky finger is then placed on the first string and pushed into the second fret.
This positioning will feel incredibly awkward at first, especially because you have to fit three of the fingers into the same fret.
However, you should make sure to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to get comfortable getting into the position.
When using this chord, you will need to ensure that you do not strum the sixth string.
This is because, including the sixth string, which is untouched using this method, you will create a very unsatisfying and unnatural sounding B chord.
B Major Partial Barre Method
This method is quite a bit more difficult than any method we have touched on yet, and this is because it makes use of the barre technique.
“Barre” refers to using the index finger to press down on multiple strings at the same time.
This can be incredibly difficult to pull off, especially in the middle of more complex musical pieces, but it is worth it for the rich sound it creates.
The most difficult part of the barre technique is that it requires some decent strength in your hands.
Beginner guitarists initially have trouble holding down on the strings because it actually requires a decent amount of strength and force.
Having to hold down multiple strings at the same time with one finger can thus prove to be immensely difficult.
In order to get started with the partial barre method for the B Major chord, you will want to take the index finger and place it atop the first and second strings, within the seventh fret.
You may find that it is more comfortable if you press down on the two strings with the side of the index finger, as this will allow you to easily apply pressure since the side of the index finger is much harder.
The middle finger should be placed on the third-string within the eighth fret, while your ring finger should be placed on the fourth string in the ninth fret.
You will find that this position is uncomfortable to hold at first, so make sure to spend some time just holding the position before you begin playing the chord.
When you first play the chord, you may notice that it sounds rather muted, but the more you strengthen the index finger, the better it will sound.
And make sure that you only strum the bottom four strings, to keep the chord sounding natural.
The B Major Barre Chord
This is easily one of the most difficult methods to use in achieving the B Major chord.
This is because it makes use of a much more difficult barre technique while also requiring that you bend your other fingers in a very unnatural and slightly uncomfortable manner.
This technique is not used too often, especially within larger pieces of music, so if you cannot pull it off, make sure not to worry.
In order to pull this technique off, you need to ensure that the index finger is in the right position. This is where much of the difficulty comes in.
The index finger must be in the barre position, pushing down three strings simultaneously, while also keeping the third, fourth, and fifth strings left completely untouched.
The index finger should only be pressing down on the first, second, and sixth strings within the seventh fret in order for the chord to work.
This is an incredibly awkward position that is very difficult to pull off in the heat of the moment.
While you are holding the barre position, the middle finger must be holding down on the third string and in the eighth fret.
Your ring finger and your pinky finger must be placed into the ninth fret with the ring finger on the fifth string, and the pinky finger on the fourth string.
No doubt, you will feel very unnatural when pulling this off the first time. Your hand has to create a truly wide shape, and the fingers need to stretch across a great distance.
If you are set on mastering this technique, make sure that you are patient, as you will not get it right on the first try, as your hand will not be used to it.
Luckily, if you are finding it difficult to hold the index finger in the barre position, the third, fourth, and fifth string will be being held down by the middle, ring, and pinky fingers, so if you cannot avoid those strings with the index finger, then there will not be too much of an impact on the sound.
How Can You Improve At Playing The B Chord On Guitar?
So, now that you know some of the most popular techniques for achieving the elusive B chord, you will need to practice them a bit to be able to achieve them reliably.
But what are some great tips that you should make sure to keep in mind to help you to improve quicker?
Don’t worry, we have three of the best tips you could ever hope for.
Tip 1 – Stretch Those Hands
For many beginner guitarists, the prospect of making some of those unusual hand movements at lightning speed to be able to shred can be incredibly daunting.
How are you possibly supposed to maintain a barre hold on the first fret while also holding down on the strings with four of your other fingers?
Whenever you are planning to put in some practice time on the guitar, make sure to give the fingers a good stretch beforehand.
This will help them to be more flexible and will keep your hand from cramping as you flex it around.
One of these exercises is very simple. Simply create a tight fist with each hand and then unfurl the fingers slowly out, and then back into a fist position.
Repeat this pattern a number of times, and this will loosen up the muscles in the fingers to allow them to achieve the impossible! Try holding the fingers in three positions as you go through the pattern.
Hold the fingers in a fist for a few seconds, then unfurl slightly to create a tiger’s paw, and then hold that position.
Finally, stretch the fingers out as far as they can naturally go, and hold them there for a few seconds.
You may also want to stretch the fingers a little bit past their usual limits. Lightly grab each finger and lightly pull it back until you reach its limit.
Hold each finger in that position for a few seconds. This will help to increase your flexibility and help you to play much more smoothly.
Just be careful not to pull the fingers too far back. Don’t exert yourself past the point of comfort.
The fingers will also naturally stretch as you play anyway. When you first begin learning the guitar, you will most likely start off with easier chords that have much easier finger positioning.
As you move further through your guitar career, you will naturally move on to tougher chords that require more and more dexterity.
If you cannot achieve a certain chord right away, then make sure to take a deep breath and be patient.
The more times you attempt a chord, the better you will be at it, and the more comfortably you will be able to achieve it every time.
This is why it is crucial to be patient whenever learning the guitar, no matter what stage you are at. You will improve with enough perseverance.
Tip 2 – Make Sure To Practice Regularly
The ever-popular adage that “Practice makes perfect” is very much applicable in the case of learning to play the guitar.
You cannot achieve greatness overnight, and while you may have plenty of potential that you cannot wait to show the world, you will not be able to achieve perfection right away.
Provided you put in regular practice every single day, you will see a marked improvement in your abilities from month to month and year to year.
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend practicing provided that you do it every single day.
If you are on a particularly busy schedule, then you could even fit in something as small as half an hour every single day, and you will still see improvement.
Perseverance is key when learning to play the guitar.
It may not seem, from one day to the next, that you are making improvement, but provided you dedicate yourself to it, then you will improve, whether you realize it or not!
Tip 3 – Implement Other Chords
When learning to play the B chord on a guitar, you can greatly improve your abilities by making sure to interchange it with some other chords in your practice.
After all, you are most likely looking to learn how to pull off the B chord so that you can use it to play some of your favorite songs or to write some new ones of your own.
Try holding your fingers in your favorite B chord position, and then quickly moving them into the position for another chord.
Start simple, and move from the B chord to a simple chord like the A chord. Go from the B chord position to the B chord position and vice versa as many times as you can.
Moving from one position to another will better enforce your muscle memory so that you can more easily achieve the right position every single time.
This will also help to prepare you for playing larger songs, which is, of course, important for any budding guitarist.
Learning to play the B chord on guitar is definitely easier said than done.
It takes some considerable skill, and a good amount of physical flexibility in order to achieve the correct positioning to pull it off every single time.
We hope that this guide has helped you to see that, though the chord may be difficult, it is also entirely possible to pull off, provided you dedicate yourself to the right techniques and persevere even when it seems like you are not improving.
And make sure to follow our helpful tips to make your practicing much easier, and much more enjoyable!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Ways Can You Play B Chord On Guitar?
There are numerous ways in which you can play the B chord on your guitar, each of which has a slightly different technique, which can make some much easier to pull off than others.
What Is The Hardest Chord To Play On guitar?
It is difficult to say with certainty exactly which chord is the hardest one to play on the guitar, but the six-string F chord is easily one of the most difficult ones to play.
This chord requires that you hold a barre position with the index finger while holding down strings with the middle, ring, and pinky fingers.
This requires some decent force, and thus it takes some considerable practice to learn reliably.
Is Fingerpicking Harder Than Strumming?
Yes. This is because fingerpicking requires you to pluck individual strings as you play, and thus you need to be sure exactly which string you are pulling at every turn.