The Bb chord isn’t the most common guitar chord by any means, but you’re certain to stumble upon it sometime in your guitar journey.
After all, that’s probably why you’re here. So…
Dive into this Bb chord guitar lesson so you can get back to practicing!
What is a Bb Chord? (Theory)
“Bb” Chord is short for B flat major.
The chord is most commonly seen in songs using the key of F Major.
Bb major chord notes
The notes in a Bb Major Chord are Bb-D-F.
Which keys use the Bb major chord?
B flat major is a major triad found diatonically in the keys of Bb Major, F Major, and Eb Major.
It’s the 1 chord in Bb Major, the 4 Chord in F Major, and the 5 Chord in Eb Major.
What scale can I play over the Bb major chord?
Here are some of the most popular scales to play over the Bb major chord:
- Bb Major Pentatonic
- Bb Major (Ionian)
- Bb Lydian
- Bb Mixolydian
Learn more about pentatonic scales here.
Learn more about common guitar scales here.
Ways to play a Bb chord on guitar
Bb Chord Guitar Shape 1 (E Shape)
The first Bb shape, which is arguably the most common, is played at the 6th position of the fretboard.
You can think of this shape as being derived from your open E Major Chord.
It’s a barre chord, so it may be a little hard at first.
Bb Chord Guitar Shape 2 (A Shape)
This next shape is derived from the open A Major Chord. By moving the chord up a whole step, including the open strings, you get a Bb major chord.
In the chord diagram it shows the barre being played with your ring finger (finger 3), but alternatively you can play it with your pinky finger (finger 4).
You can also attempt to play the chord with all 4 fingers, using fingers 2,3, and 4 on the D, G, and B strings respectively.
How to play a Bb chord on guitar the easy way
The easiest way to play a Bb chord on guitar is with a 3-string barre chord on the 3rd frets of strings D, G, and B. Here’s how to do this step-by-step:
- Pinky finger on the 3rd fret B string
- Ring finger on the 3rd fret G string
- Middle finger on the 3rd fret D string
You can think of this like an open A Major Chord moved up a half step, with the open strings omitted.
This shape can also be viewed as a simplified version of the “A shape” you looked at earlier.
Another Easy Alternative
This is an alternative to the “E” Shape you looked at earlier.
It contains the same notes, but removes the low E and A strings.
If you know your F Major chord, you can think of it like that, except the root is on fret 6 of high E instead of fret 1.
Bb chord guitar lesson summary
Now you know the most common ways to play the Bb chord, what keys it comes from, what scales to play over it, and the notes that make up the chord!
Go and put the Bb Major chord to use by playing songs that use the chord or using it to write your own chord progression!
Leave a comment below if you have any questions!