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How to play the B major chord on guitar

Learn the B chord and play hit songs like "Hey Jude" and "Free Fallin'".

The B major chord

The B chord, pronounced "B major," is a vibrant guitar chord that adds brightness and lift to many songs. Notably, it requires a challenging barre finger position to play. The B major chord is commonly used in rock, folk, country and pop music to create upbeat, cheerful progressions. Its sound is heard in countless classic and modern hits across various genres.

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

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Finger placement for B major chord

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

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

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

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to strike all six strings in a downward motion. Make sure to apply even pressure with your index finger across the strings to ensure all notes ring out clearly.

How to play an easy B major chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the B major chord, try playing the three-string version. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th (A) string, your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string, and your ring finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

How to play a B major bar chord

The B major barre chord is a great alternative to the standard B major open chord, as it allows you to play the chord higher up the neck and creates a fuller, more robust sound.

Here's how to play a B major barre chord:

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

Common B major chord progressions

The B major chord is often used in progressions that evoke feelings of triumph, joy, and optimism. Here are some common B major chord progressions:

  • I - V - vi - IV (B - F# - G#m - E): Used in "Hey Jude" by The Beatles and "Someone Like You" by Adele
  • I - vi - IV - V (B - G#m - E - F#): Used in "Let It Be" by The Beatles and "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz
  • I - IV - vi - V (B - E - G#m - F#): Used in "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey and "Firework" by Katy Perry
  • I - iii - IV - V (B - D#m - E - F#): Used in "Wonderwall" by Oasis and "Riptide" by Vance Joy
  • I - V - vi - iii - IV - I - IV - V (B - F# - G#m - D#m - E - B - E - F#): Used in "Castle on the Hill" by Ed Sheeran and "The Scientist" by Coldplay

Drills to master the B major chord

To master the B major guitar chord, try playing each note individually, focusing on clarity and tone. Practice transitioning between the notes, ensuring each one rings out distinctly. Once comfortable, play the notes together as a chord, strumming or plucking.

Another effective drill is to practice switching between the B major chord and other common chords like A, E, and G. This helps build muscle memory and improves transitioning speed. Incorporate these changes into simple progressions or songs to make the practice more engaging and musical.

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Songs that feature the B major chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the B major chord:

  1. Let It Be by The Beatles (B, E, F#, C#m)
  2. I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys (B, G#m, E, F#)
  3. Ironic by Alanis Morissette (B, F#, G#m, E)
  4. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars (B, G#m, E, F#)
  5. With or Without You by U2 (B, A, E, F#m)
  6. Hey Jude by The Beatles (B, E, F#, C#m)
  7. Wonderwall by Oasis (B, F#, G#m, E)
  8. Complicated by Avril Lavigne (B, F#, G#m, E)
  9. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (B, F#, G#m, E)
  10. Zombie by The Cranberries (B, F#, G#m, E)

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.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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