Mastering the B Major Chord for Left-Hand Guitarists

In this article, we’ll teach three variations of the B major chord for left-handed guitarists, and explain the theory behind how the chord is constructed from both scale degrees and intervals. Lastly, we’ll finish up by providing some tips on how to play B major and make it sound great.

How to Play B Major for Left-Handers

B Major Chord – A Shape

B Major Chord - A Barre Shape
  1. Finger Placement:
    • Use your left index finger (1st finger) to bar the 2nd fret of the 1st (high E) string, which means pressing down on all the strings at the 2nd fret with your index finger.
    • Place your left middle finger (2nd finger) on the 3rd fret of the 2nd (B) string.
    • Position your left ring finger (3rd finger) on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
    • Lastly, place your left pinky finger (4th finger) on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  2. Strumming:
    • Strum the guitar strings from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.
    • Ensure that you avoid strumming the 6th (low E) string; you can either avoid it while strumming or lightly touch it with the palm of your hand to mute it.

B Major Chord – E Shape

B Major Chord - E Barre Shape (Left-Handed)
  1. Barre Formation:
    • Place your index finger (1st finger) flat across the strings at the 7th fret pressing down on all the strings.
  2. Chord Shape:
    • Now, use your middle finger (2nd finger) to press down on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
    • Your ring finger (3rd finger) goes on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
    • Your pinky finger (4th finger) is positioned on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Strumming:
    • Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

B Major Chord – A Shape Variation

B Major Chord - A Barre Shape Variation (Simpler) - Left-Handed
  1. Barre Formation:
    • Place your index finger (1st finger) on the 2nd fret of the 1st string (E).
  2. Chord Shape:
    • Place your middle finger (2nd finger) on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
    • Put your ring finger (3rd finger) on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
    • Your pinky finger (4th finger) should go on the 4th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  3. Strumming:
    • Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Chord Construction from the B Major Scale

The B major chord originates from the B major scale, serving as the fundamental basis for its formation. Below, we’ll dissect the B major scale, and how it shapes the chord.

B major chord construction – using scale degrees

Scale Degree1234567
B Major ScaleBC#D#EF#G#A#
B Major ChordBD#F#

To construct the B major chord from scale degrees, we turn to the B major scale. In the B major scale, the notes are B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, and A#. To form a B major chord, we take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of this scale. In this case, those degrees correspond to the notes B, D#, and E. When played together, these three notes create the distinct and harmonious sound of the B major chord.

B major chord construction – using intervals

IntervalRootM2M3P4P5M6M7
B Major ScaleBC#D#EF#G#A#
B Major ChordBD#F#

If you need a quick refresher on intervals in music click here.

The intervals within a B major chord consist of a major third (M3) and a perfect fifth (P5) above the root note (B). The major third, D#, is four half-steps (semitones) above A, and the perfect fifth, F#, is seven half-steps (semitones) above B.

Tips for Playing the B Major Chord: Final Thoughts

Mastering the B Major chord demands precision in finger placement. For the standard open B Major chord, employ your index finger to bar the 2nd fret across all strings except the low E string, which remains open, and ensure that your index finger creates a firm and buzz-free barre across the fret while maintaining an arch in your other fingers to prevent muting adjacent strings.

Develop finger strength to press down on the strings effectively but not excessively, and keep your thumb on the back of the neck for support. Practice slow, deliberate strumming and work on smooth chord transitions to become proficient in playing the B Major chord with clarity and confidence. You can read more tips on playing chords cleanly by clicking here.

About Marty

My name's Marty, I've been tinkering around on left-handed guitars for over 30 years.