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How to play the E minor over B chord on guitar

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The Em/B chord

The Em/B chord, pronounced "E minor over B," is a beautiful and melancholic chord that adds depth to many musical arrangements. This chord is commonly used in folk, rock, and indie genres, and can be heard in songs like "Blackbird" by The Beatles and "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver. Its unique voicing, with the B note in the bass, creates a haunting and introspective atmosphere.

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

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Finger placement for Em/B chord

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

Follow these finger positions to play a E minor over B chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings at the 7th fret.
  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.

To strum this chord, use a downward motion starting from the low E string (6th string) and strum all six strings. You can also alternate between downstrokes and upstrokes for a more dynamic sound.

How to play an easy Em/B chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the E minor over B chord, try playing an open E minor chord shape starting on the 7th fret of the A string. Place your middle finger on the 7th fret of the A string, and strum the A, D, G, and B strings together.

How to play a Em/B bar chord

The E minor chord played as a barre chord over the 7th fret is a handy way to play the chord in a higher octave up the neck, which can add variety to your chord progressions.

Here's how to play an E minor barre chord:

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

Common Em/B chord progressions

The E minor over B chord (Em/B) is a powerful and emotive chord that can add a haunting, melancholic, or wistful feel to a chord progression. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the Em/B chord:

  • i - VII - VI - VII (Em - D - C - D) - Used in "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin
  • i - VII - iv - VII (Em - D - Am - D)
  • i - VII - III - VII (Em - D - G - D)
  • i - III - VII - i (Em - G - D - Em) - Used in "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.
  • i - VII - iv - III (Em - D - Am - G)

Drills to master the Em/B chord

To master the E minor over B guitar chord, try this simple drill: play each note of the chord individually, starting with the lowest note (B) and ascending to the highest (G). Once you've played each note, strum the entire chord. Repeat this process, gradually increasing your speed until you can smoothly transition between the individual notes and the full chord.

Another effective drill is to practice switching between the E minor over B chord and other chords commonly used in the same key. For example, try transitioning between E minor over B and A major, or G major and E minor over B.

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Songs that feature the Em/B chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the E minor over B chord:

  1. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, C/G, D/F#, Fmaj7, G, Am)
  2. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (A, E, C#m, F#m, B7, A/E)
  3. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (Em, G, Em/B, A, Em, A, Em, G, Em/B, A)
  4. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac (C, G, Am, G/B, C, G, D7sus4)
  5. The Scientist by Coldplay (F, Fsus2, Dm7, Bb, F, Fsus2, Dm, Bb)
  6. Dust in the Wind by Kansas (Am, Dm, Am/C, Dm/B, Am, Am/C, Dm, E)
  7. Hotel California by Eagles (Bm, F#, A, E, G, D, Em, F#)
  8. Angie by The Rolling Stones (Am, E7, G, F, C, E/B, Am, Dm, E, Am)
  9. Nothing Else Matters by Metallica (Em, D, C, G, B, Em, C, B, Em)
  10. Blackbird by The Beatles (G, A, Bm, Bb, C, A7/C#, Dm, C/E, D, G/B, C, G)

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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