Updated August 2017
What is the Meaning of the Symbol "Bm" in guitar?
The symbol “Bm”, or Bm guitar chord is an abbreviated way to write the B minor chord. This is a simple minor chord, also known as a minor triad, the B minor chord notes consist of three notes… the B note, the D note and the F# note.
Why is the Bm Chord So Hard to Play?
It’s often considered hard to play on the guitar because the most common form involves using a bar with your first finger across all the strings of the guitar. However, it is possible to play the Bm chord without a bar.
What Chord Can Be Played Instead of Bm?
This would depend on the situation. In most cases, it would be best to play a simpler version of the Bm (either the 3 finger or 4 finger form) if difficulty were the issue. It is possible in some cases to substitute a D major chord in place of the B minor chord.
Is There an Easier Way to Play the Bm Chord?
Yes… I often teach students what I call the 3 finger version. It’s not only easier that but is useful in some cases even if they can play the more difficult forms.
What Is the Best B Minor Chord For Beginners to Use?
For most beginners playing on an acoustic guitar I recommend the 4 finger form (see below). It is much easier than the bar chord version, yet still sounds quite good.
Sometimes I find it best to start with the 3 finger version (see below) if the student is having a particularly difficult time with fingering chords. Occasionally I’ll have a student jump in and start with the bar chord version if they are already able to play bar chords. For those who are comfortable with bar chords it’s actually easier to play the Bm that way.
How Do You Play a B Major Chord on Guitar?
B Major is a simple major chord, also known as a major triad, composed of three notes… the B note, the D# note and the F# note. You can learn more about how to play the B Major chord at B Major Chord: 3 Easy Ways To Play
Are There Other Versions of the Bm Chord?
Yes, there are many versions of the Bm chord. There are versions for the B minor chord guitar finger position all the way up the guitar neck. The three versions I teach in this lesson are the most useful and most commonly used.
How Do You Play a Bm Chord on Guitar?
The B minor guitar chord is a very useful chord but often difficult for beginning guitar players. It really doesn't need to be so difficult. My approach is to teach students the easier chord first and then build up to the more difficult forms.
The good part is that even the easiest form sounds good and will always be useful. Even after you've mastered the more difficult forms of the minor you'll find times when a simple form is just what's needed for the particular situation. There's no lost effort here.
Form #1: Easy Bm Guitar Chord... 3 Finger Version
The first and easiest form uses three fingers on the first three strings of the guitar. You can also play the open for certain. The fourth string, or D note, is a part of the B minor chord.
Take a look at the simplest Bm chord diagram here:
When strumming aim for the first four strings of the guitar. While the fifth string is not a part of the chord it won't sound too bad if you accidentally hit it from time to time.
B Minor Form #2...4 Fingers
The next form I like to teach is very similar to the first one. I add one note to the court and use the pinky. Most people find this form pretty easy once they are able to play the first one. This form can be moved around the neck more easily to play other chords because of the finger on the fourth string.
Use the chord diagram for the second form of Bm:
B Minor Form #3 - Bar Chord
Finally, we get to the third form of the Bm guitar chord. The bar chord has the advantage of being able to move all around the neck to create many other minor chords. The key is to learn to make the bar accurately.
The easiest way to do this is to prepare ahead of time. I teach students an exercise called the Bar Chord Exercise which strengthens their first finger and makes playing any bar chord easier.
The idea is to start with the easier forms and at the same time practice the bar chord exercise. Then you simply make a bar across the neck with the first finger and play the second form of the chord with the other three fingers. This progression makes it much easier to learn the B minor bar chord then just trying to tackle it the first time around. It also usually sounds better.
Here’s the “Easy Order” approach of learning:
1. Start with the Easy Bm Guitar Chord - 3 finger form
2. Practice using a chord exercise and possibly use in a song
3. Add the Bar Chord Exercise to your daily practice
4. Add the 2nd form of Bm with the “pinky”
5. Practice the 2nd form (4 fingers) using chord exercises
6. Add the Bm Bar Chord (combine the bar with the 2nd form)
7. Practice using chord exercises
One of the important points to keep in mind is that to really learn a chord it's not enough to just be able to finger the chord. You must be able to move from one chord to another. For this reason you'll want to practice chord exercises. In other words exercises that have you using the B minor in a chord progression.
A good one to start off with is a basic turnaround in the key of D. Here the chords:
Here's the diagram for the B Minor Bar Chord:
Once you feel confident with the B minor chord it will open the door to playing many more songs and help you to feel more confident about your guitar playing in general.
Remember – with patience, persistence and good instruction you'll be able to play awesome guitar. Even more importantly you develop the self-confidence to be able to take on new and exciting challenges. That's what makes life and enjoyable adventure.
Frustrated by a lack of progress? If you're a RGS Academy member, check out the course Beginner's Journey where you'll go step-by-step through a guitar learning adventure that's guaranteed to give you real results.
Not a member yet? No problem. Sign up here FREE for 14 days. I’m hoping you stick around… but if not, the 2 weeks should be enough time to get the benefit from this lesson.
Nice Bm lesson. Full lesson on one cord variation, now that’s focus. Thanks Tomas Bm isn’t so hard after all. Have a great week. Mike
Yes Mike, you’re perfectly right – Bm isn’t so hard after all. Enjoy your guitar playing. Thanks to you! 🙂
Brilliant – you must have know I was struggling with the bar chord version!
Putting the bar across last really seems to help as well
Hi Bryan, are you still struggling now with barre chords? I hope at this point in time, not that hard anymore. Frequent practice is very essential because with that – you will never go wrong. Keep practicing and give me some feedback. Good luck.
Tomas, thanks for the “Easy Bm”. I can finally play Bm with my arthritic baby finger! And a useful turnaround too! What a deal.
Wow! You are such an inspiration, Joe – just be positive that even if you have that arthritic baby finger, you can still bring out the best in you in playing guitar. Enjoy my lessons. 🙂
Good stuff! I am looking forward to your Spanish class. Understand if it creeps into the next year, but I will be ready.
You are welcome Richard. Looks like it will “creep” into next year. It’s looking good. I keep thinking of things to add 🙂
thanks a lot tomas sir for providing your most valuable tips for guitar learning 🙂 sir i m from INDIA , n have started learning guitar a week ago by your videos.they are like boon for me .we need need your blessings sir 🙂
What a great video bm/A never knew it!
3 lessons in one little video
Glad you liked it Jack. -Tomas
Isn’t that barre chord an F#m chord as the root is on the 6th string? Shouldn’t the root be on the A string? Confused here 🙂
Yes, the root is the B note on the 5th string (A string).
Thank you Mike it has helped me a lot you are a great teacher
You’re welcome Jack.
THANK YOU SO MUCH ! <3
Great help with the Bm chord. Thank you so much. You have made my life (and my guitar playing) so much easier.So easy to understand and carry out. Many thanks.
You’re very welcome Pauline. Glad I could help. -Tomas
I’ve been playing for about a year. I can comfortably play and sing about 20 songs with open chords, but barre chords have been a big challenge. I can play them very slow one at a time, but when I try to move between barre chords or open and a barre chord in a song, I get mostly dead strings. Great tutorial on building the dexterity needed to barre; thank you. I will be using it. I am determined to get there.
You’ve come to the right place. Keep going one step at a time. You’re headed in the right direction!
great video lesson, very user friendly
Thanks Lolo. I’m glad you found this helpful. – Tomas
Your article is really appreciated. You have explained all the aspects of the B minor chord very well. Thank you very much for this article
Thanks to you Tomas I can now play an easier Bm chord to a beautiful old folk song which I sing too. Black is the colour. I have another song in my party piece list. I find getting going really hard but singing to this makes it a real joy.
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Bm bar is the easiest chord for Bm category. Its easy to remember finger steps on Bm bar.