Learning to play all of the most popular chords on the guitar can be quite a difficult endeavor. While many guitar chords are simple, such as the A chord, or the D chord, there are also many that prove to be very troublesome, even to professionals, such as the F chord.
One of the most difficult chords in the world is the B chord because it requires some incredible flexibility from your hands, as well as some considerable strength to be able to hold the chord in place.
However, not only is the B chord alone very difficult, but a very popular variation on it, the B7 chord, is equally as difficult, if not slightly more challenging!
In order to play this more bassy-sounding version of the B chord, it can take some considerable work and plenty of practice and dedication.
If you feel like you are ready for the challenge, then you have come to the right place. We are here to explore five of the best methods for achieving the B7 chord that you can try out now.
What Is The B7 Chord?
Before we take a look at some of the best techniques for achieving the B7 chord, it is important to take a quick look at exactly what the B7 chord is.
The B7 chord is a variation on the standard B chord which is instead played from the 7th fret on the guitar’s neck. This helps to give the chord a much bassier sound which is richer in texture and is commonly used in more bluesy music.
Thus it is a very useful chord to learn, as it can help you to create some really interesting soundscapes and create some great music.
The Open B7
Now that we are clear on what the B7 chord actually is, let’s take a look at how we can actually achieve the amazing but elusive chord.
One very popular method for achieving the B7 chord is the Open method.
Unlike most B7 methods, this one does not require the use of a barre, which is an incredibly difficult technique to pull off.
This is the perfect technique to use if you would rather avoid using any of those tricky fingerings. It is also perfect if you are taking your first steps into playing the B7 chord, or if you have had frequent trouble with some of the techniques that do require a barre.
In order to pull this technique off, you will want to start by taking the index finger and placing it onto the fourth string, within the seventh fret. The middle finger will then be placed on the fifth string, within the eighth fret. Your ring finger will sit on the third string also within the eighth fret.
The tricky part here is including your pinky finger within the shape. Your pinky finger will also sit in the eighth fret, atop the first string. Holding this position will initially feel rather unwieldy, and your hand may feel rather uncomfortable to start with.
You may notice when you strum that the chord sounds off. This is likely due to the discomfort your hand may be feeling. When first trying out a chord, the discomfort in your hand will prevent you from applying the correct amount of force, which can lead to a chord sounding very muted.
Don’t worry. As you practice the chord and practice getting your fingers into just the right position, you will begin to apply the correct amount of strength, as your hands will have stretched to accommodate.
When playing this version of the B7, make sure to avoid strumming the sixth string. Strumming the sixth string will cause the chord to sound very abnormal and unsatisfying, which can ruin what is otherwise a perfectly good chord.
The Open B7 Without The Pinky
We know how hard it can be to implement all four of your fingers into playing the guitar.
Trying to stack the middle, ring, and pinky fingers all into the eighth fret can be difficult enough as it is, but taking up the correct position while in the middle of a difficult piece of music and moving from one chord to the B7 chord can be very difficult.
Luckily, there is another alternate technique that you can try out that actually omits the use of the pinky finger entirely, which can save your hands some significant strain or can be used as a backup option when included in a wider piece of music.
To play this version of the B7 chord, take the index finger and place it onto the fourth string, within the seventh fret. The middle and ring fingers will both be situated in the eighth fret. The middle finger will be on string five, while your ring finger will be on string three.
Because of the omission of the pinky finger from this technique, you will need to ensure that you do not strum the first and sixth strings, and only focus on the central four strings.
This helps to prevent the chord from becoming complicated. Of course, because of the fact that this version of the chord has to omit strings, it does lead to a slightly less rich-sounding chord, though you and other listeners may not notice it if this version is played as part of a bigger piece of music.
The A-Shape Barre Chord
Now, it’s time to move on to a slightly more challenging variation of the B7 chord. This version tends to be seen as slightly more challenging, even by those who are proficient at guitar. However, it is still significantly easier than some of the classic techniques for B7, and still produces a rich and full-bodied sound.
The main cause of difficulty in this version of the chord is the addition of the barre technique. This technique requires the use of the index finger to push down on five strings simultaneously while also still holding down on other strings with other fingers at the same time.
However, with enough dedication and discipline, it is still possible to pull it off and make it become second nature.
To start off with this technique you will want to place the index finger over the top of the five bottom strings, omitting the sixth string. You will need to push all five strings down into the seventh fret to be able to pull this off, so try angling the index finger slightly to the side to allow you to apply more pressure.
Now that the index finger is in place, take your ring finger and reach it over to the fourth string on the ninth fret. This might take some time for you to pull off, as it is quite a significant reach.
Once you have got your ring finger in place, then place your pinky finger onto the second string, also within the ninth fret.
When you first take up the position for this chord, it will probably feel very unnatural. Your fingers will likely begin to ache, or may even cramp. Make sure not to assume that the technique is impossible, and instead apply some patience.
As you take up the position more and more times, your fingers will naturally adjust, and your hand will begin to allow itself to stretch. This is why it is important to not give up!
If you’re finding it difficult to hold the position, try alternating between the B7 position and any other chord position with your hand. This will help to allow your hand to stretch, and will also help to improve your muscle memory so that you’ll be able to pull off the B7 in some of your music in the future.
The 2-Finger B7
Once again, let’s take another look at a technique that removes the need for extra fingers. The previous technique we explored utilized three fingers to pull off, and while it is definitely still one of the easier positions to pull off, it still proves immensely uncomfortable for many.
This technique uses just two fingers to pull off a wonderful sounding B7 chord alternative that will sound amazing no matter when you choose to use it.
This technique makes use of the barre, but the index finger only needs to press down on three of the strings! Take the index finger and place it atop the fourth, third, and second strings, and push them down into the fourth fret of the guitar. (Though this technique produces a B7 sound, it does not actually use the seventh fret!)
Once the index finger is in position, you will then need to place the ring finger onto the first string, within the fifth fret. Allow your hand to get used to the position, and then try strumming. Make sure to avoid the fifth and sixth strings, as they are not part of the larger chord.
You may find that it sounds slightly off at first, but as your hand gets more comfortable and used to the position, it will soon begin to feel natural.
If you are having trouble holding the index finger in position, you can relax the bottom part of the finger, and allow it to touch the first string if need be. This is because it will not affect the sound of the first string because that string is being held by the ring finger further down the neck.
This is a great technique if you want to play a beautiful sounding B7 chord without using an additional finger. If you do decide to use this technique, make sure to practice it until it feels completely natural to you. This can take some time, so make sure to be patient!
The Alternative B7 Chord Method
This is definitely an easier technique than a more traditional B7 technique, but it is still quite challenging. This technique employs the use of four fingers and also requires that you avoid strings towards the center!
However, though this string is quite difficult to start, it can be very easily learned and will create a very rich and fantastic sound.
Place the index finger onto the sixth string within the seventh fret. This may take a bit of practice, as stretching the index finger across that distance can be quite difficult. Place the middle finger onto the fourth string, also within the seventh fret, and then your ring finger under that, on the second string and within the same fret.
Some more stretching for your hand is required for the next step, but be patient and you will manage it. Take your pinky finger, and place it onto the third string in the eighth fret.
This will probably feel a bit uncomfortable to start with, so make sure to allow yourself time to adjust. Try practicing achieving the position and then letting it go, and alternating between those two states a few times until it becomes second nature to get your fingers into the right place.
The strumming technique for this method requires that you do not strum the first and fifth strings, but how is it possible to avoid the fifth string while strumming?
In order to do this, use the index finger to lightly ‘mute’ the fifth string. This involves curving the index finger just slightly until it is lightly touching the fifth string while still holding onto the sixth string.
This will cause the fifth string to lose its power and produce less noise when strummed. Of course, it goes without saying that achieving this position with the index finger can be hard at first, so make sure to practice it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is B Chord so Hard?
The b chord tends to be very challenging to most guitar players thanks to its use of the barre technique. This technique requires you to push down on multiple strings at the same time, all with one finger.
This can cause quite a bit of strain, and getting the right amount of power is very difficult to start with.
What is the 3 Chord Trick?
This 3 chord trick refers to the fact that a combination of three chords played in a succeeding pattern can easily accompany many melodies or lyrics.
What are the 3 Most Used Guitar Chords?
The three most used guitar chords in the world are G, C, and D. This may be due to the fact that they are easy to achieve, and still produce a pleasant sound, which makes them easy to include in countless pieces of music.
So, hopefully, now you feel a little more confident to take on the B7 chord with your guitar, and you feel ready to try out one of the many techniques we explored above.
Learning the B7 chord will take lots of practice and difficulty to start with, but the end result sounds so wonderful that every second of practice and perseverance will be fully worth it.
Just make sure to be patient, to practice regularly, and to stick to it, because you will definitely get there in the end.