How to play

How to play the Bdim7 chord on guitar

Learn to play the haunting Bdim7 chord, as heard in "Michelle" by The Beatles.

The Bdim7 chord

The Bdim7 chord, pronounced B diminished seventh, is a unique and versatile chord that adds a sense of tension and dissonance to musical compositions. Often used in jazz, classical, and rock music, the Bdim7 chord is known for its distinct sound and ability to create smooth transitions between chords. Notable songs featuring the Bdim7 chord include "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix and "Michelle" by The Beatles.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Bdim7 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Bdim7 chord

The most common way to play the Bdim7 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 7th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Bdim7 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, place your pick or thumb over the strings near the sound hole and strum downward, hitting all six strings. Make sure to apply even pressure with your fretting hand to ensure all notes ring out clearly.

How to play an easy Bdim7 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Bdim7 chord, try playing a three-note version. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the B string, your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the D string, and your ring finger on the 1st fret of the high E string. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a Bdim7 bar chord

Playing the Bdim7 chord as a barre chord allows you to easily transition between other barre chords and play the chord at any fret position on the fretboard.

Here's how to play a Bdim7 barre chord:

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

Common Bdim7 chord progressions

The Bdim7 chord adds a sense of tension and unease to chord progressions, often serving as a passing chord between more stable harmony. These progressions can evoke feelings of mystery, suspense, or melancholy. Some common chord progressions featuring Bdim7 include:

  • i - idim7 - V7 - i (Bm - Bdim7 - F#7 - Bm)
  • I - #idim7 - ii - V (B - C#dim7 - C#m - F#) Used in "Misty" and "The Shadow of Your Smile"
  • vi - viidim7 - I (G#m - Bdim7 - B)
  • ii - iidim7 - V - I (C#m - C#dim7 - F# - B)
  • iii - iiidim7 - vi - ii - V - I (D#m - D#dim7 - G#m - C#m - F# - B)

Drills to master the Bdim7 chord

To master the Bdim7 chord, try this simple drill: play each note of the chord (B, D, F, Ab) individually, starting slowly and gradually increasing your speed. Focus on cleanly fretting each note and transitioning smoothly between them. Once comfortable, play the notes together as a chord.

Another helpful drill is to practice moving between Bdim7 and other common chords like Em7 or Dm7. This builds muscle memory for seamlessly transitioning to and from Bdim7 while playing songs. Start slow, ensuring each chord rings clearly, then speed up as you become more proficient.

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Songs that feature the Bdim7 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Bdim7 chord.

  1. All the Things You Are by Jerome Kern (Fm7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7, Dbmaj7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, Bdim7, E7, Amaj7)
  2. I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin (Bbmaj7, G7, Cm7, F7, Dm7, G7, Cm7, F7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Ab7, Dm7, G7, Cm7, Bdim7, F7, Bbmaj7)
  3. A Night in Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie (Ebm6, Fm7, Bb7, Ebm6, Cm7, F7, Bbmaj7, Bdim7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7, Dm7, G7, Cm7, F7)
  4. Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael (Gmaj7, Bm7, E7, Am7, D7, Gmaj7, Em7, A7, Dmaj7, F#m7, B7, Em7, Bdim7, Em7, A7, Dmaj7, G7, Cmaj7)
  5. Body and Soul by Johnny Green (Dm7, Fm7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7, Dbmaj7, Cm7, Bdim7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7)
  6. Misty by Erroll Garner (Ebmaj7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Abmaj7, Dm7, G7, Cm7, Bdim7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7)
  7. 'Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk (Ebm6, Fm7, Bb7, Ebm6, Cm7, F7, Bbmaj7, Bdim7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7, Dm7, G7, Cm7, F7)
  8. The Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Carlos Jobim (Fmaj7, G7, Gm7, Gb7, Fmaj7, Bdim7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7)
  9. In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington (Dm7, G7, Dm7, G7, Dm7, Bdim7, Em7, A7, Dm7, G7, C6, Bdim7, C6)
  10. Stella by Starlight by Victor Young (Bbmaj7, Cm7, F7, Bbmaj7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Abmaj7, Dm7, G7, Cm7, Bdim7, F7, Bbmaj7)

How a guitar teacher can help

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