How to play

How to play the Bb6 chord on guitar

Learn the Bb6 chord, featured in hits like "Hey Joe" and "Layla."

The Bb6 chord

The Bb6 chord, pronounced B-flat sixth, is a rich and versatile chord used in various musical genres. It's built on the root note of Bb and includes the notes Bb, D, F, and G. The Bb6 chord adds a touch of melancholy and sophistication to progressions, making it a favorite among jazz, R&B, and soul musicians. Its unique voicing opens up creative possibilities for songwriters and guitarists alike.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Bb6 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Bb6 chord

The most popular way to play a Bb6 chord on guitar is using a barre chord on the 6th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Bb6 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings on the 6th fret, forming a barre.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 4th (D) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the Bb6 chord. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to properly fret all the strings in the barre.

How to play an easy Bb6 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Bb6 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the D string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the A string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the G string.
  4. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a Bb6 bar chord

Playing the Bb6 chord as a barre chord can be a great way to add variety to your playing and make chord transitions smoother.

Here's how to play a Bb6 bar chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 6th fret, forming a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 7th 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 Bb6 chord progressions

The Bb6 chord often serves as a transitional or passing chord in progressions, adding a touch of harmonic complexity and a dreamy, slightly melancholic feel to the music.

  • I - vi - Bb6 - V (Bb - Gm - Bb6 - F) Used in "The Long and Winding Road" by The Beatles
  • I - Bb6 - ii - V (Bb - Bb6 - Cm - F)
  • I - IV - Bb6 - V (Bb - Eb - Bb6 - F)
  • vi - Bb6 - I - V (Gm - Bb6 - Bb - F)
  • ii - V - Bb6 - I (Cm - F - Bb6 - Bb)

Drills to master the Bb6 chord

To master the Bb6 guitar chord, try practicing the following drill. Play each note of the chord (Bb, D, F, G) individually, focusing on clean execution and tone. Once comfortable, play the notes together as a chord, strumming or plucking all strings simultaneously. Repeat this process slowly, gradually increasing speed as your comfort level grows.

Another effective drill is to practice transitioning to and from the Bb6 chord. Choose a simple chord progression that includes Bb6, and practice smoothly changing between chords. Start slowly and prioritize precision, then work on increasing your speed while maintaining accuracy.

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Songs that feature the Bb6 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Bb6 chord:

  1. Let It Be by The Beatles (C, G, Am, F, C/E, Dm, Bb6)
  2. Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel (D, G, Gm7, D/F#, Bb6, C, Bb, Am7)
  3. Tired of Being Alone by Al Green (Bb6, Eb, Cm7, Ab/C)
  4. Cryin' by Aerosmith (G, Bb6, C, Eb, D)
  5. This Love by Maroon 5 (C, G, Am, F, Bb6)
  6. Kiss from a Rose by Seal (Cm, Bb, Ab, Eb, Fm7, Bb6)
  7. I'll Be There by The Jackson 5 (C, F, Bb6, G)
  8. September by Earth, Wind & Fire (Dm7, G, Bb6, C)
  9. Valerie by Amy Winehouse (C, Dm, Bb6, F)
  10. Easy by Commodores (C, G, F, Bb6, Am)

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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