How to Play the B Minor Chord on Guitar

B Minor Chord Confusion

What is the B Minor chord?

The B Minor chord, usually abbreviated as “Bm” or “Bmin”, is a three note chord (triad) containing the notes B, D, and F#.

It’s most commonly derived from and used with chords and notes from the E minor scale.

Why the B minor chord is hard

The B minor chord is hard because it’s played with a barre and 4 fingers. Keep in mind that this is only one way to play the chord, though!

You’ll learn the hard/common version of the chord, and you’ll learn some easier and different versions as well!

Songs that use B minor

Seeing that the B Minor chord is found in some very common keys, it tends to show up in a lot of popular songs. Let’s look at some of them.

Rock songs

B minor can be found in plenty of rock songs both old and new!

I first learned how to play the B Minor chord from the songs Kryptonite, by 3 Doors Down.

Reptilia by the strokes is another absolutely rocking song that uses B Minor !

Reptilia by the Strokes (uses the B minor chord)

Pop songs

D Major is a very popular key, and B Minor is the 6th chord in the D Major scale, which makes it common in pop songs in D Major.

The song that makes the best use of the B Minor chord in modern pop is Despacito. It’s actually a pretty fun song to play! Check out the tabs here.

How to play the B Minor barre shape (most common)

The most commonly used B Minor chord is it’s 2nd fret barre shape. You can think of it as being based off of the open A minor chord chape.

Let’s take a look.

B Minor Open Barre Chord
B Minor Barre Shape (2nd Position, Most Common)

You play this shape with all four fingers on your fretting hand.

You’ll use your index finger to barre the 2nd frets of the A and high E strings, and remember to focus your barre on those 2 strings alone!

You’ll use fingers 2, 3, and 4 to play the rest of the chord. Just think of it like an open A minor shape moved up two frets, and that will make it easier to remember.

Barre shape two

The second B Minor barre shape is based off of the Open E Minor shape.

Let’s take a look.

B Minor Barre Shape (7th position)
B Minor Barre Shape (7th Position)

This shape is based off of the open E minor chord.

It’s arguably the least used B minor shape. I rarely use it myself.

However, knowing and understanding this position of the chord will open up more possibilities for lead guitar and composition.

That applies to all other B Minor Chord shapes, and to chords in general. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to harmony!

How to play the B Minor chord without barring

There are so many different ways to play the B minor chord, and a good majority of them involve no barring at all.

At the end of the day, you can play a B minor chord anywhere by taking the notes B, D, and F# and placing them where you want.

Putting experimentation aside, you’re going to look at some of the more popular shapes without barring.

Best beginner bm shape

Remember the most common B minor shape? Well let’s remove two of the lower notes.

The result is this:

B Minor Easiest
B Minor 3 finger shape

Even though we removed the 2 original notes that were on strings A and D, the fundamental notes still remain!

Finger 3 plays B, finger 2 plays D, and finger 1 plays F#.

This chord doesn’t sound as “big” or “full” as the barre shape, but it gets the job done.

Easier B Minor Shape

This shape is just like the one above, except we add an extra F# note to the chord.

Luckily it’s not a barre, though!

B Minor Easier
B Minor 4 finger shape

This chord is easy to graduate to if you’ve already gotten down the 3 string shape from earlier.

What scales can I play over a B Minor backing track?

There are several scales that work over a B Minor backing track. These 5 are my personal favorites, though.

  1. B Natural Minor (Aeolian)
  2. B Dorian
  3. B Phrygian
  4. B Harmonic Minor
  5. B Minor Pentatonic

What is the difference between Bm and Bm7? (B Minor and B Minor 7)

The difference between B Minor and B Minor 7 is the addition of the “A” note in B Minor 7, which is the flattened 7th.

B Minor Chord Summary

Now that you have an understanding of the B minor chord, try it out!

Start with the 3 note shape if you’re a beginner.

Practice the barre shape if you’re working towards leveling up in your guitar playing.

Learn a couple of songs that use the B minor chord if you want to apply it!

Lastly, rock on, and remember to have fun!

Make sure to check out other posts and resources on the Blog. Thanks for reading!