How to play the B chord


limadelta
Full Access
Joined: 09/13/22
Posts: 4

Hi all,


I'm just getting back into guitar after years.  I have small hands, and I've always struggled with the A barre chord, so doing that two frets further up to make a B when playing in the key of E is a struggle.  (I can make it work on an electric, but on my Taylor 818e, its a struggle.  And I find the work-arounds are either too thin [the variant with the first finger on 2nd fret of the high e string] or a hard stretch [the first finger on the 2nd fret of the A string]).  I have always been able to do the barre E up at the 8th fret to get a decent B, but when playing in E (E-A-B,...etc.), that can be a big jump just to get that B in there.  I wonder what folks think about using that 8th fret barre E for a B when playing in the key of E.  It's a chord I can actually play, while I struggle mightily with every form of B down closer to the nut.  But it means a large foray up the fretboard when playing the E and the A in open form.  Live with it?


Happy playing,


Dan


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 7,929

Sure, it's fine to use whatever voicing you can make work. 


But it's always a good idea to keep working on other voicings especially for more musical options.  


Depending on the context of the music or song you are playing these options might also work.


Open B7 chord:


|--2-------------|
|--0-------------|
|--2-------------|
|--1-------------|
|--2-------------|
|----------------|


I know you mentioned holding down the B on the 2nd fret A string, but have you tried the B5 power chord (with 2 or 3 notes):


|----------------|
|----------------|
|-------4--------|
|--4----4--------|
|--2----2--------|
|----------------|


This is often a good step toward the A-shaped barre chord, and you don't even need the high E string.  Fret the B with your index & use your ring or pinky to barre across the D, G & B strings.


|--------------|
|--4-----------|
|--4-----------|
|--4-----------|
|--2-----------|
|--------------|


 


So for now keep using that E-shaped B barre chord rooted at the 8th fret.  And keep working on other voicings!  Hope that helps! 


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 2
snojones
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Joined: 04/17/13
Posts: 679

Chris is right, keep working on developing you barr forms.  Know that everybody struggles with barr chords, no matter their hand size.  It is a difficult chord to get right, especialy the A form barr.  Keep at it and you will get there.  The more barr froms you can master, the easier it is to play, and the larger your pallette becomes.  Patient, persistant, practice are still the key to everything related to playing guitar. 


Playing many songs can be difficult or even impossible, without barr chords.  It is the biggest crux to becoming an intermediate player... but you will get there with time.


Captcha is a total pain in the........

# 3
limadelta
Full Access
Joined: 09/13/22
Posts: 4
#2 Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel

Sure, it's fine to use whatever voicing you can make work. 


But it's always a good idea to keep working on other voicings especially for more musical options.  


Depending on the context of the music or song you are playing these options might also work.


Open B7 chord:


|--2-------------|
|--0-------------|
|--2-------------|
|--1-------------|
|--2-------------|
|----------------|


I know you mentioned holding down the B on the 2nd fret A string, but have you tried the B5 power chord (with 2 or 3 notes):


|----------------|
|----------------|
|-------4--------|
|--4----4--------|
|--2----2--------|
|----------------|


This is often a good step toward the A-shaped barre chord, and you don't even need the high E string.  Fret the B with your index & use your ring or pinky to barre across the D, G & B strings.


|--------------|
|--4-----------|
|--4-----------|
|--4-----------|
|--2-----------|
|--------------|


 


So for now keep using that E-shaped B barre chord rooted at the 8th fret.  And keep working on other voicings!  Hope that helps! 

Thank you Chris!  I'm gonna work on these.


Love the key of E (e.g., "Peaceful Easy Feeling," many others, with that resonating, bassy E, Esus4, A), but hate that darn B.  I can either barre the B up high in the E form or use the standar B7, which works well on the cadences of that piece, but does not work as well for Bs that occur elsewhere.  Just wish I could play a useful B further down the neck.  Working on it.  My new guitar sounds toooooo good (soooo good compared to what I had) not to learn it.


Happy playing,


Dan


# 4
limadelta
Full Access
Joined: 09/13/22
Posts: 4
#3 Originally Posted by: snojones

Chris is right, keep working on developing you barr forms.  Know that everybody struggles with barr chords, no matter their hand size.  It is a difficult chord to get right, especialy the A form barr.  Keep at it and you will get there.  The more barr froms you can master, the easier it is to play, and the larger your pallette becomes.  Patient, persistant, practice are still the key to everything related to playing guitar. 


Playing many songs can be difficult or even impossible, without barr chords.  It is the biggest crux to becoming an intermediate player... but you will get there with time.

Thanks snojones.  I can play the barr E form, Em form, and Am form reasonably well (not perfect, but mostly serviceable), but pretty much nothing else.  The one I "need" most often that I struggle with is A form.  Its a real struggle.


 


 


# 5
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 7,929
#4 Originally Posted by: limadelta

Thank you Chris!  I'm gonna work on these.


Love the key of E (e.g., "Peaceful Easy Feeling," many others, with that resonating, bassy E, Esus4, A), but hate that darn B.  I can either barre the B up high in the E form or use the standar B7, which works well on the cadences of that piece, but does not work as well for Bs that occur elsewhere.  Just wish I could play a useful B further down the neck.  Working on it.  My new guitar sounds toooooo good (soooo good compared to what I had) not to learn it.


Happy playing,


Dan

You're welcome!  Keep working on it!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 6
snojones
Full Access
Joined: 04/17/13
Posts: 679

You are not alone...That A form took me years........


Captcha is a total pain in the........

# 7