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Learning Guitar - Lesson Five
Part 4: The B Minor Chord
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: overview
• Part 2: sharps and flats
• Part 3: 12 bar blues
• Part 5: scale review
• Part 6: learning songs
• Part 7: practice schedule
 Related Content
• Index of Guitar Lessons
• Buying Your First Guitar
• How to Read Guitar Tab
• Easy to Play Songs
• Guitar Chord Library
Here's where we take the next big step in our progress as a guitarist... learning about a shape of chord referred to as a "barre chord". The technique of playing barre chords is one which we have utilized when playing the F major chord - using one finger to hold down more than one note.

The B minor shape

We're going to put your first finger to work on this chord. Your first finger has the job of covering the second fret, from the fifth to first strings (we don't play the sixth string). Next, put your third finger on the fourth fret of the fourth string. Then, add your fourth pinky finger to the fourth fret of the third string. Lastly, place your second finger on the third fret of the second string. Got it? Now, strum the chord, and try not to get upset when most of the notes don't ring clearly.
This is a tough chord at first, no doubt about it! You're going to have to have patience, it WILL sound good soon, but it's going to take some work. Here are some tips that will help you:
  • Very slightly bend your first finger. A straight and rigid finger is not what we're looking for.
  • Roll the finger back slightly, so that more of the side of the index finger closest to the thumb is in contact with the strings.
  • Try slightly pulling the body of the guitar towards your body, using the arm of your picking hand. Also gently pull the neck towards you with your fretting hand. This makes fretting barre chords somewhat easier.
Movable chord

One of the greatest things about the B minor chord shape is that it is a "movable chord". This means that, unlike the chords we've learned so far, we can slide the same shape around to different frets to create different minor chords. The note we're interested in is the note on the fifth string. Whatever note your finger is playing on the fifth string is the type of minor chord it is. If you were to slide the chord up the neck, so that your first finger was at the fifth fret, you'd be playing a D minor chord, since the note on the fifth fret of the fifth string is D. THIS is why learning the note names on the sixth and fifth strings are so important. We'll be getting into different movable chords in the next lesson.

  • Hold the shape of the B minor chord, and play strings one at a time. Correct any notes that aren't ringing clearly.
  • Try moving from other chords to a B minor chord, then back to other chords. This will be a slow and difficult process at first. Keep trying!
  • Try playing different minor chords by moving the B minor shape around to different frets (eg. try playing C# minor, F minor, G minor, Bb minor, etc.)
  • Do NOT play the sixth string when playing a B minor chord. Pay careful attention to this.

Next page > Scale Review > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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