Learn 6 Ways to Play B Minor | Chord by Chord


Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. In the last lesson, I taught you the C#m chord, and this time I’ll show you another new minor type, Bm.  

The Work

As I’ve explained in previous lessons, a minor triad has three notes—the root, the minor third, and the fifth. The notes in a B minor chord are B, D, and F#, as shown in Example 1. like C#m and F#m, Bm is typically played as a barre chord. Example 2a shows the lowest one on the fretboard, in second position, and Example 2b is a three-note voicing derived from it. These chords are moveable—shift any of them up two frets, for instance, to get a C#m chord.

Example 3a shows a B minor barre chord in seventh position. Remember that if you want, you can play this voicing using just the top or bottom four strings. As shown in Example 3b, you can also use a different fingering, with your thumb fretting the lowest note and the fifth string eliminated. Example 4 shows a four-note voicing higher up the neck, with the minor third (D) as the lowest note. Given that it’s impractical to play barre chords around the 14th fret on most acoustic guitars, Example 5 depicts a three-note voicing in that position.

The Result

Now you should know a variety of ways to play Bm on the fretboard. One song that uses this chord is “Collapse the Light Into Earth” by Porcupine Tree. Practice these and the previous few minor chords until next lesson, when the focus shifts back to chord progressions.

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