The B Major chord is one guitar players tend to avoid for a long time. Even people who have been playing for a couple years struggle to play it. While there are a few ways to play it, all of them involve complicated fretting. There’s no “good” way to play it.
But what if we thought about playing the B chord as we did about playing guitar in general? Taking thoughtful steps and practicing to build skill over time. In this case, using a few exercises to build dexterity to conquer the B chord.
Don’t Let The B Chord Win!
If you were going to run a marathon, you wouldn’t start your training by running the full distance. You’d start much smaller. You may run 1 mile every day for a week, then work your way up to 5. Then eventually 10. And so on.
It’s helpful to think about learning guitar like that. And for this lesson, we’re going to conquer the B chord in the same way. The great thing about this method is you can achieve real growth without getting discouraged!
These three exercises are designed to work on the most difficult parts of playing the B chord in manageable steps.
You’ve got this!
1. The Triple Finger Workout [1:16]
This exercise is about getting familiar with the shape. You won’t need to worry about barring with your index finger.
Get your fretting fingers as close to the fret as you can. They won’t be perfectly lined up, and that’s OK as long as they don’t buzz. Play the notes up the fretboard to the 7th fret, then work your way down.
Not only will you be building dexterity, but you’ll also be building muscle memory.
2) Moving Up To B [2:44]
This exercise outlines another version of the B chord and adds a little melody. It also introduces your index finger. You’ll use the same “B shape” as the first exercise, but your index finger stretches to reach the second fret of the first string.
To end the exercise, your index finger ends up on the second fret of the fifth string. This is the root B note and it gets your mind ready for the full B chord.
Taking thoughtful steps and practicing can build skill over time.
3) Easy Does It [4:37]
The final exercise builds on elements of the first two. We’ll use the higher version of the chord shape using the first four strings.
The key is in the name. Try to relax as you play this and avoid tensing up. The more relaxed you are, the more natural it will sound.
The Finish Line
For best results make this a daily part of your practice routine. Spend about 5 minutes going through all three steps when you pick up your guitar. Or more if you want to get there quicker.
These small steps will help you in big ways to play and master the B chord.