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How to play the Bdim chord on guitar

Unlock the haunting sound heard in "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Creep" by Radiohead.

The Bdim chord

The Bdim chord, pronounced "B diminished," is a unique and enigmatic chord that adds a sense of tension and instability to a musical composition. Characterized by its distinct sound, the Bdim chord is often used in jazz, classical, and rock music to create a feeling of unresolved dissonance. Its use can be heard in songs like "Because" by The Beatles and "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Bdim chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Bdim chord

The standard way to play the B diminished (Bdim) chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 7th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Bdim chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 7th fret, barring all six strings.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to strike all six strings in a downward motion. Alternatively, you can pluck the individual strings one at a time for a more delicate sound.

How to play an easy Bdim chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Bdim chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 1st (high E) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  4. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a Bdim bar chord

Playing a Bdim barre chord can be a great way to add variety to your guitar playing and expand your chord vocabulary. It's also a movable shape that you can use to play diminished chords in different keys.

Here's how to play a Bdim barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 7th fret to form a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the low E string to the high E string.

Common Bdim chord progressions

The Bdim chord is often used as a passing chord to create a sense of tension and resolution, adding a dark and mysterious atmosphere to the progression. Some common Bdim chord progressions include:

  • i - idim - V7 - i (Bm - Bdim - F#7 - Bm)
  • i - idim - iv - V7 (Bm - Bdim - Em - F#7) Used in "Misty" and "I'll Remember April"
  • i - idim - iiø7 - V7 (Bm - Bdim - C#ø7 - F#7)
  • i - IV - idim - V7 (Bm - E - Bdim - F#7)
  • iidim - V7 - i (C#dim - F#7 - Bm)

Drills to master the Bdim chord

Mastering the Bdim guitar chord can be achieved through focused drills. One effective exercise is to strum the chord repeatedly, ensuring each note rings out clearly. Concentrate on maintaining consistent pressure and accuracy.

Another drill involves transitioning smoothly between Bdim and other chords commonly used in progressions, such as G, D, and A. Practice switching chords in a steady rhythm, gradually increasing your speed. With dedicated practice, you'll soon find yourself playing the Bdim chord with confidence and precision.

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Songs that feature the Bdim chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Bdim chord.

  1. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls (D, A, Bm, G, Bdim)
  2. Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers (Am7, Em7, Dm7, Am7, Bdim, Esus4, E)
  3. Creep by Radiohead (G, B, C, Cm, Bdim)
  4. Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake (Bdim, Dm7, Bb, A7)
  5. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston (A, E, F#m, Bdim, D, A/C#)
  6. Space Oddity by David Bowie (Fmaj7, Em7, Fm7, Bdim, C)
  7. Burning Down the House by Talking Heads (Bdim, G, Bdim, G, Bdim, G, A, G)
  8. Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen (D, Bdim, A, E7)
  9. Stray Cat Strut by Stray Cats (Am, G, F, E7, Am, Bdim, Am, F, E7)
  10. Back at One by Brian McKnight (Bdim, E7, Am7, Dm7, Fm7)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

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