The Bm Chord is one of the most difficult minor chords in existence. Naturally, a beginner will struggle to master this, as even seasoned players may stumble from time to time.
While there may not be a single-step method to learning the Bm chord, there are steps that you can take to perfect this tricky chord. It will take time, but that is just the art of learning guitar.
This guide will run through the basics of the Bm chord and how you can go about learning to play it. By the end of the guide, we’re not promising that you’ll be an expert.
But you will have a better, more solid foundation from which you can build those skills and ultimately learn how to master the Bm chord.
There will always be practice to do on top of the theoretical side of guitar learning, too. That is just the nature of being a musician.
The Bm Chord: How To Play It
Let’s start at the very beginning.
The Bm chord is a minor chord. This is what the lowercase “m” stands for. There are many many chord qualities, but the most common chord qualities are major and minor.
A minor key tends to sound sadder, melodic and sometimes foreboding. Whereas, major keys are more upbeat and joyful.
Of course, this is just a black-and-white picture and there is definitely more color to add to this landscape. Generally speaking, major equals happy, and minor equals sad. This is the starting point that we will be working from.
To play this chord, you will have to learn the barre technique. Don’t panic. There are lots of different names of lots of different techniques across the whole of guitar playing.
You will come across a lot as you progress in your playing.
The Barre involves your index finger. Your index finger is going to cover multiple strings at the same time. Creating what looks like a bar across the fret.
You can practice this on any fret to try to familiarize yourself with the barre method. Pick a fret, it doesn’t matter which. Lay the index finger all the way across the fret completely, apply pressure with the thumb behind the fretboard and strum.
Now, depending on which frets and which strings you’ve picked, you may produce a rather lovely sound. It’s a lottery, really. But, give it a go and see what happens.
This may sound daunting, but breathe. Once you’ve got the hang of the technique, you will never look back.
For the Bm chord, your index finger is going to barre across the A, D, G, B and High E string on the second fret. The Low E string doesn’t come into play here.
The rest of your fingers will be doing something else. You can worry about them after you’ve got your head around a barre.
Next Steps For Bm Chord: The Rest Of Your Fingers
It’s established that your index finger will be busy. But, what about the rest of them?
Well, they will be busy too. In order to properly form the Bm chord, you are going to use all your fingers at the same time.
With your index finger in the place that we’ve just established (barring the A, D, G, B and High E strings), keep it firmly still.
The Middle Finger
This finger, the one next to your index finger, is headed for the B string. The note that you want out of your B string is on the third fret, D. Let’s get this finger into position.
The Ring Finger
The ring finger, otherwise known as your fourth finger, is going to be placed on the D string. Now, the note you want here is an F#.
So again, thinking about our musical alphabet and fret positions, you’re heading for the fourth fret. Get this finger into position.
The Little Finger
Your little finger, also known as the pinky, happens to be a key player when it comes to forming chords on the guitar. This finger is going to be placed on the G string.
The note that you’re aiming for is a B. So you are also going to be headed for the fourth fret.
You’re In Position: GO, GO, GO
This is a lot of information to digest, we appreciate that.
But, if you have followed all of these steps without fault, then your hand, technically, should be in the right place to produce a Bm chord sound. All that’s left to do now, is to try.
At first, you may notice the sound seems a bit off. This could be a case of adjusting your hand position.
Sometimes, when your fingers lay too flat on the fretboard, you end up muting yourself. If some notes are not able to resonate properly, you won’t hear them clearly in your chord structure.
The best advice that we can offer is to make sure your hand is arched properly. You don’t want your hand to be squashing any of the strings. Be sure the thumb is behind the fretboard and not peeking out over the top, this increases the distance from your palm to the bottom of the fretboard, letting you get a better arch for your fingers.
Make sure that you give yourself a nice, and clear gap that you could wave your other hand through.
This is the only way to ensure that your sound doesn’t become dampened or hindered by your own hand.
The other thing to think about is where you are placing your fingers in relation to the fretboard and its frets.
You mustn’t place your fingers directly on top of the fret metal, this will create an unwanted short muted sound.
The trick is to place your arched fingers lightly but firmly just behind the frets. This is the optimal position for the perfect note sound.
Nurture Your Fingers
As a beginner guitarist, your fingers may take a beating. It takes time to build up muscle strength in order to fully tap into your guitar-playing potential.
Go easy on yourself. This is a hard chord. Your fingers have a lot to get used to. The shape of the chord is demanding, and the way that you have to strum is also demanding.
It’s something to build up to slowly, rather than expecting perfection and no teething problems on your first few attempts.
A Bm Chord Practice Exercise
The best way to practice when you’re first starting out is to train your fingers.
If you are trying to master a chord, then allowing your fingers to sit in the right positions on the frets is a good way to let your brain know where they need to be.
This will also help you remember the position that they need to be in as well.
We are going to give you a really easy-going way that you can practice your Bm chord technique.
A great way that you can practice is to try to form the chord through building up your memory in those finger muscles.
For this practice method, get your timer on your phone. Give yourself six – ten seconds to start off with. This will decrease over time after you have practiced and practiced some more.
With your timer set, take a big deep breath and let the countdown commence.
As soon as that timer ticks over, you are going to move all of your fingers as quickly and accurately as you are able.
Do this until they are in the correct position on the frets. When the timer goes off, play the chord. Try to be sure that all the strings sound correctly and that no strings are muted.
This trains your brain and your fingers to play the chord correctly the first time, and it also gets you generally used to hand position in chord formation.
Bm Chord: An Alternate (Easier) Formation
If you are struggling with barring, there are thankfully other ways that you can form the Bm chord.
Though, we encourage using the barre technique as it is the best way to produce the Bm sound and build your general guitar skills too.
There are other methods that you can try as well. Let’s run through it finger by finger.
The Index Finger
For this method of playing the Bm chord, your index finger is going to sit on the High E string. Put it in position of the second fret. This will give you a G note.
The Middle Finger
The Middle finger is going to sit on the B string. Put it in position of the third fret. This will give you a D note.
The Ring Finger
Your ring finger is going to sit on the D string. Put it in position of the fourth fret.
The Little Finger
The little finger/pinky is going to sit on the G string. Put it in position of the fourth fret.
Now everything is in position, you can strum your chord. This is still technically a Bm chord, but an inversion of it as the root note is not on the bottom now.
In fact, it’s the perfect stepping stone into mastering the barring technique and perfecting that method of playing the B minor.
Bm Chord: Alternate, Even Easier Method
If you are struggling with the above two methods, you can try easing your fingers into the Bm chord by letting them explore the Bm7.
All the 7 means is that you have an extra note. You only have to use three fingers to play the Bm7, and these are as follows.
The Index Finger
The index finger is going to sit on the A string. Put this finger on the second fret.
The Middle Finger
The middle finger is going to sit on the G string. Put this finger on the second fret.
The Ring Finger
The ring finger is going to sit on the High E string. Put this finger on the second fret.
While the Bm7 is an easier alternative to the traditional B minor, it isn’t a long term substitute. So you can use it to build finger strength and form muscle memory.
You can use it to practice your finger arch. It can be a useful stepping stone into learning the more tricky Bm formations.
Practice Tips For The Bm Chord
As with any chord, you have to think about your finger arch and finger position.
You can practice until your heart’s content, but if your fingers aren’t in the right position, it won’t matter.
One way to learn the Bm chord is to build up your momentum over time. Dedicate a small piece of time every day, and you can start with the Bm7.
Use this as a stepping stone to building your stamina and your skills so that at the end of your practice period, you can establish the proper Bm chord.
There you have it. All the ways that you can create and play the B minor chord.
The main thing to accept is that it will take a long time to perfect. It is definitely one of the harder chords to get your fingers around, and only time can help you perform it properly.
If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘What Is The CAGED System? Full Explanation For Beginners‘
My name is Howard Matthews and I have been playing the guitar since I was knee-high. My parents like to joke that I was pulling the strings even before I was born. In fact, one of my earliest memories is sitting on the couch with my dad’s guitar, wreaking havoc on the chords.
Now, 40 years later, I can attest that I play them much better than I did back then. I have followed in the footsteps of both my parents – much to their delight – and have been the main guitarist in my band for the best part of three decades.
Music has always been my passion, and until recently my life has been so consumed with it that I haven’t had a moment to have a breath (and I wouldn’t have it any other way)!