How to play the Bm chord AKA B minor on guitar

Hello, my friendly friends! Tyler Preston here back with another lesson for you. In this video we’re going to talk about how to play the B minor (Bm) chord on your guitar.

Now when it comes to getting your barre chords under your fingers, once you’ve got the F major, the next chord you’ll typically encounter is the B minor chord. So what I’m going to do is quickly show you a couple ways that you can play this chord so you can start using it today, no matter what level you are.

So. Let’s go ahead and learn how to form the the B minor shape to start, and then we’ll talk about how it works. We’re going to do three different shapes today, from easy to hard, and we’re going to start with the B5 chord.

How to play the B5 chord

The B5 chord is also known as a B power chord.

While not technically a B minor chord, we can use B5 chord as a easy substitute for a proper B minor chord because power chords are not major or minor. Actually, they’re technically only an interval because they only have two notes.

Pro tip: A proper chord requires three different notes that work together to create harmony. Two different notes is an interval.

To play the B5 or the B power chord:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the low E string;
  2. Place your ring finger on the 4th fret of the D string; and finally
  3. Place your pinky finger on 4th fret of the G string.

Note that your middle finger shouldn’t be holding anything down; you’re only fretting three strings, and you’re only going to play those three strings.

So that’s the B5 chord, and in a pinch you can substitute B5 for a B minor chord. It probably won’t sound 100% harmonically correct for the song, but it won’t sound wrong either. Remember that’s because a five chord is neither major or minor, so it can be used in either instance.

How to play the easy Bm chord (four-string version)

Which brings us to our next shape: the easy four-string B minor chord.

For this chord, we’ll be maintaining the power chord shape we just learned, but we’ll be incporporating the minor third.

Remember how I just said that proper chords feature at least three different notes? Now we’re going to go ahead and incorporate a third tone into the B5 chord we just learned to make it into a proper B minor.

To form the easy B minor chord:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the low E string;
  2. Place your ring finger on the 4th fret of the D string;
  3. Place your pinky finger on 4th fret of the G string; and finally
  4. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the B string.

Go ahead and strum all four strings, and voila! Easy B minor.

Now, onto our third and final shape of this lesson: the full barre B minor chord.

How to play the full barre B minor chord

The full barre Bm chord is exactly the same as the four-string version we just learned, with one key difference: instead of fretting just the A string with your index finger, you’re now going to fret the A string, and the high E string with a barre.

Barring simply means we’re going to use our first finger to hold down multiple strings. Note: It doesn’t mean we’re going to hold down all of the strings. It means that we’re going to hold down the second fret on the A string and we’re going to hold down the second fret on the E string as well by lowering our first finger down onto the fretboard in the barre position (see video).

After that, it’s simply a process of finding the amount of pressure that works for you.

Final thoughts

Alright, so quick recap: start with B5 or the B power chord. Next, take that shape and incorporate the minor third by fretting the 3rd fret of the B string with your middle finger. And when you’re ready, go ahead and lower the first finger into the full barre position to play the full chord as intended. Got it? Good. Have fun with this one and I’ll see you again soon for another lesson.

As always, if you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend. And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @MrTylerPreston, or shoot me an email at tyler@tylerpreston.com .

And until next time, my friendly friends: good luck, have fun, and happy strumming!

Tyler Preston

Tyler Preston

National touring singer-songwriter & music teacher. I'm a country boy at heart, but I paid my dues singin' the blues. Find me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.