B minor chord -Bm- on guitar: easy way, with and without barre
The B minor or Bm chord on the guitar is one of the first great difficulties that every beginner guitarist faces, we will teach you an easy way to play it and an intermediate one so that later you can master the barre.
Difficulty in the chord of B minor or Bm
Undoubtedly, the barre of the Bm or B minor chord, along with the F chord, is one of the greatest challenges that a beginner guitarist encounters at the beginning of his studies. The main reason for this difficulty is that he tries to learn in a very direct way, without first training his hand correctly beforehand. It’s like pretending to run before walking. Thus, in this tutorial we teach you in 3 steps to master the chord of B minor or Bm of complete barre.
Also, we recommend our tutorial on how to learn to play the F major chord easily.
Steps to Master the Full Barre B Chord:
- Learn the B minor or open Bm chord, which we call here the easy B chord.
- Master the B minor or intermediate Bm chord, which is the intermediate point between the easy chord and the full B minor chord.
- Finally, learn the Bm or B minor chord with a complete barre.
We recommend that you already have a good command of the C chord when you start with step 1.
You will find other methodologies to learn the Bm chord, which focus on more barless alternative chords. However, some of those methods don’t focus on the ultimate goal of mastering the full barre B minor chord. Instead, our methodology from the outset places all fingers in a similar arrangement to the Bm barre chord. While others, they change their fingers throughout their learning, which we do not recommend. At first glance it may seem easier, but it will go a long way in mastering the full B minor chord.
Here, the first step is based on mastering the position of fingers 2, 3 and 4. The second, mastering the position of the hand and the thumb to be able to make the complete barre. Finally, in the third step, the two previous steps are combined to master the complete B minor or Bm chord.
Until you master the barre chords, we leave you our selection of the best easy guitar songs.
Learn different ways to play the B minor chord on the guitar
Many of the popular songs to play on the guitar are in the D, G and C major scale which almost always uses the B minor or Bm chord. But don’t worry, as we already said, there are several ways to play the Bm chord, and they are very easy. Here we will teach you an easy way to play the B minor chord on your guitar without a barre. In addition, we will also teach you an intermediate form that will be the perfect transition step to later master the Bm barre chord on guitar. Best of all, all the versions of the B minor chords that we will teach you sound great on the guitar.
A path to complete mastery of the B minor or Bm chord with barre
There is a simple version of this important chord. The first B chord that we will see does not require a barre, that is, it is an open chord, and it also sounds excellent. Thus, we will call the easy B chord for guitar. If you’ve already mastered the C major chord, you already have much of the guitar proficiency and hand you need to play the simple B chord. Best of all, this chord will be the first step towards mastering the full B minor barre chord, so don’t think you’re doing it wrong. On the contrary, you are doing a step by step towards learning the B chord with barre.
The easy B chord begins with your index finger on the second fret of the first string. Then use your middle finger on the third fret of the second string. Lastly, your ring finger will touch the fourth fret on the third string.
You will notice that the fourth string does not have the circle or cross that indicates if you should play it or not. This is because it is up to you. You can play it with or without the fourth string, in case you play it in the open, it will be a B minor with a bass in D, that is, a Bm/D.
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Does the easy B minor chord sound good on guitar?
Surely the first thing you will think is that this is not the complete Bm barre chord, so it will not sound so good. But you will be surprised how good it sounds, that is because in the simple B minor chord there are three notes that make up the chord: B, D and F#. Also, the positions of the 3 notes you play are also part of the full barred Bm chord. Sure, it will sound a little different, since you don’t play the bottom two notes, but it will sound great. In fact, when you’re strumming the chords, you probably won’t even notice the difference to the full Bm chord.
The single Bm chord is easier to play compared to a full barre chord, but it is also a different voice from the B minor chord. It is quite common for songwriters to use different chord voicings in songs. This chord sounds higher than the full B minor, it is ideal to combine with D and G chords and highlight the guitar.
Some previous concepts that are important to remember
The “Bm” symbol is a shorthand way of writing the B minor chord. So while we sometimes call it B minor.
The Bm is a simple minor chord, also known as a minor triad, the B minor chord consists of three notes: the note B (grade I), the note D (grade III), and the note F# (grade V). If we were to add the VII degree which would be the A (minor 7th) or A# (Major 7th), it would become a seventh chord: B7 or Bmaj7, but that would be another lesson.
You may also be interested in this review of the best cheap acoustic guitars -excellent value for money-.
Easy B chord on guitar
To build the easy, open B major chord on the guitar, we’ll play the first, second, and third strings. In this way we will only use fingers 1, 2 and 3, as shown in the following graphic:
If you play the fourth string open it will be the Bm/D chord. If you don’t play the fourth string open it will be a Bm triad, ideal to highlight the guitar or make funky rhythms.
How to play the Bm or B minor chord on the guitar in an easy way?
For this version of the B minor chord, you will not play strings 6 -E low- and 5 -A-. Some big-handed guitarists use the thumb of their left hand to mute low strings that they don’t want to sound. Personally, I usually handle that with strumming and at most I use the ring finger in this case, to silence the left string by rubbing it.
Now, you know how to play the B minor or Bm chord on your guitar in an easy way. So, let’s work on the chord changes. Knowing the chord doesn’t help unless you can play it smoothly and make changes between chords quickly and on tempo. Therefore, here we show you a great way to practice it:
- Use a chord that is used very often with Bm, for example D or G. This will practice a very common movement.
- It also uses the Common Chord Fingers method or just Similar Chords.
Steps to master the easy B minor or Bm chord on guitar:
- First, make the standard D major open chord. Then, although there are two notes in common -or three if you do Bm/D-, you need to change the position of all the fingers to get to the easy B chord: Normally on the D you use finger 1 on string 3, finger 2 on string 1 and finger 3 on string 2. But as we saw, for easy Bm you need to use finger 1 on string 1, finger 2 on string 2 and finger 3 on string 3. Be patient and make sure the build of the easy B minor open chord is clean and sounds good.
- Switch between both chords several times, first without strumming to feel the movement. This helps with the muscle memory of your hand. Then, strum to make sure your fingers are pressing down on each string correctly.
Note: To help you stay in tempo with your Bm chord practice, use a slow-speed metronome. We recommend our free Online Metronome. Practice until you can shift on time without stopping or slowing down. As you start to get the hang of the open B minor chord and its changes with the D, increase the speed of the metronome slightly, 5 bpm, to increase the speed.
- Then, practice it by combining it with other chords, such as G, A, E, C, etc.
By practicing this for a few minutes every day, you’ll quickly master this easy B minor chord.
Advantages of learning the open B minor chord
Once you master the open or easy Bm chord, you’ll be able to play loads of songs on guitar. In addition, you will already know how to place fingers 1, 2 and 3 in a position very similar to the one they go in the complete chord of B minor or Bm with barre. Then we suggest you continue with what we call the “intermediate” chord of B minor. We call it that, because it’s the middle ground between the easy, open B minor chord, and the full barred Bm chord. This chord is the preparation to be able to master the barre on the guitar.
Intermediate chord of B minor or Bm
The intermediate chord of Bm or B minor, is the previous step to dominate the full barre B minor chord. If you already master the open B minor chord, which we call here the easy Bm chord, it is very easy to move on to the intermediate chord. With a minimal change in the position of the ring finger -3- and little finger -4-, you go from the simple chord of B minor to the intermediate of Bm.
The intermediate B minor chord consists of replacing the barre at fret two by pressing only string 1 with the index finger. Thus, with a small change in the position of the hand, you already master the chord of B minor or intermediate Bm with short barre. The B minor chord is nothing more than the Bm/F# chord, since its bass is F#.
In addition to being easy to play the intermediate B minor chord, once you master the open chord, it already predisposes the position of the hand to be able to make the complete Bm chord with barre. Thus, the intermediate chord already teaches you how to orient your hand and wrist to be able to move on to the B minor chord with a complete barre.
The Key to Mastering the Intermediate Bm Chord
An important point here is the correct placement of the thumb when making the B minor chord. Normally, when we play open chords like G, A, C and even open B minor, we usually place our thumb above the neck of the guitar so that we rest the palm of our hand on the back of the neck. On the other hand, if instead of normally resting the index finger on string 1, what we do is make a mini barre on string 1 and 2, even though it is not necessary to press string two at fret 2, this will It will help to improve the support of the thumb, so that it is pressed in the center of the back of the neck, perpendicular to the direction of the strings.
Below you can see the sequence of how the intermediate chord will make you improve your hand position. The first image shows how most guitarists set up the hand with open chords. Although technically it is said to be an incorrect position, one of the best guitarists in history, Jimi Hendrix used this hand position. The second image is an intermediate position using the mini barre before reaching the correct position to play the B minor chord with barre, which is the third and last image.
The intermediate B minor chord is nothing more than the B minor chord with bass in F#. That means the lowest note in the chord is F#. The way to write this is Bm/F#.
To master the intermediate chord of B minor, do the same exercises that we explain in the easy chord. Slow speed chord changes with metronome.
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How to Play the Full Barre B Minor or Bm Chord
Once you’ve mastered the intermediate B chord, moving on to the full bar chord is one more small step. Simply by stretching your index finger across the entire length of fret 1, making sure that strings 1, 2 and 6 sound good with the full bar.
It is important that when playing the Bm chord the hand is firm but relaxed, the hand should not be tense. If you have a tense hand, that will cause your fingers to press too hard and put the strings out of tune due to excess tension, they can also cause your fingers to touch the neighboring strings causing them not to sound correctly. Additionally, too much tension will make your hand tire faster, and may even hurt you in the long run. Thus, it is advisable to find the point of minimum pressure that the string requires to sound good.
Complementary exercise: If you feel it necessary, you can practice the barre alone. To do this, you must arm the barre with your index finger and pressing with your thumb on the back of the neck –as we teach you in the section of the intermediate chord of B minor-. You must make all the strings sound correctly, and move through different frets. This will help you strengthen your index finger while also training your hand to position your wrist and thumb correctly for barre assembly.
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Difficulties in the process of learning the B minor chord on guitar
The most common problems learning the different Bm or B minor chords are:
1) Some string, usually the first one, buzzes and doesn’t sound properly. This is normal until you have well exercised the barre and can press evenly on all the strings.
2) When you add the barre on the Bm, the middle, ring and little fingers will move, which can cause you to not press the strings well or with one of the fingers rubbing the string below or above, causing them not to sound correctly.
So, keep in mind that these are very common and normal mistakes in the process of learning barre chords. So it is important to be consistent in practice. Go slowly, moving on to the next step once you have mastered the previous step. Strengthen your fingers through practice and consistency, especially the index and thumb.
You may also be interested in the CAGED system for playing chords across the entire fretboard.
The importance of the structure of the chord of B minor with full barre
The full barre B minor or Bm chord structure is a super common structure on the guitar. Thus, the shape of the complete barre chord does not belong to a certain note, as in this case B minor. Thus, the first “hidden” example is the A minor chord, if you look at it carefully, you will see that it has the same structure as the B minor chord, only when moving down two frets, the barre is made by the same chord. guitar nut
In this way, by moving this chord structure along the guitar fretboard, you will be able to play the minor chords of the different notes. Thus, if you play the chord resting the barre on Fret III, you will be playing a G major; by placing the barre on fret V, you build the A major chord, and so on. But keep in mind that if you go all the way up one string, that is, the bass from the 5th to the 6th string, the structure will be that of major chords like the F major chord.
Thus, the B minor barre chord is the first big step into the world of barre chords. In order to master these barre chords you must learn the names of the musical notes along the guitar fretboard.