Major and minor chords give music its shape and structure. If we think of chords as the building blocks that make up a given song, then minor chords are generally used to introduce shades of darkness or contrast into the music, especially when juxtaposed with major chords.
One of the more widely used minor chords is the chord of B minor. By learning to play the B minor chord on ukulele, you can enable yourself to play a far wider range of repertoire than you could before. Our guide goes over the notes that make up the chord, as well as a few different ways that you can play the B minor chord on the ukulele. We also cover some songs that incorporate the B minor chord.
Looking for more chords? Check out our guide >>> Easy Ukulele Chords for Beginners to Learn First
Learning to understand chords and harmony is a crucial part of music theory. Even if you aren’t planning on ever becoming a theory buff, having a functional knowledge of how chords operate is only going to help you be a better, more well-rounded musician!
Most types of chords are based on major or minor triads. Triads are chords themselves which are made up of three notes. Minor triads, like the B minor chord is based on, consist of a root note, minor third, and perfect fifth. The distance or interval between these notes is what gives the triad itself and any related chords their dark, minor sound.
The chord of B minor is made up of the notes B, D, and F#. On the ukulele, the standard voicing of the B minor chord consists of a second B which is doubled up the octave. However, there are many other ways to play a B minor chord, and the notes that these voicings contain can vary considerably.
How to Play the Bm Chord on Ukulele
As addressed above, there is a multitude of ways to play the Bm chord on the ukulele. In this section, we go over the standard Bm chord on the ukulele, as well as other variations on the chord. The standard Bm ukulele chord shape is a barre chord, which some newcomers to the instrument find challenging to play. So, if you’re struggling to play the standard Bm voicing at first, you may want to try one of the other voicings that we cover in this section.
Standard Bm Ukulele Chord
As previously mentioned, the above chord is the most common way to play the Bm chord on the ukulele. It’s also a barre chord, which many newer ukulele players and string instrumentalists in general struggle to play consistently and cleanly. Barre chords can be challenging to execute because they place more pressure on the muscles of the hand than if you were to play a more open shape.
To play this chord voicing, fret the G string at the fourth fret with your third finger. Use your first finger as a bar to fret all four strings of the ukulele at the second fret. Then, simply strum the chord like you would any other.
If you find yourself struggling to nail this chord voicing, then you’re not alone. One of the most important things to keep in mind when learning barre chords is to keep your fretting hand as relaxed and loose as possible. Tensing up your fretting hand is hard to avoid when playing barre chords, but this can make the muscles of your hand fatigue far more quickly.
The most important thing you can do to get your barre chords cleaner and more consistent it to practice. Doing so can help condition your muscles so that they can sustain barre chords more easily and for longer. Make sure to take frequent breaks while you build up your endurance for these chords.
Bm chord – Variation #1
If you’re struggling with playing barre chords, then this variation on the Bm chord maybe be somewhat easier for you to play. You’ll also find this chord shape applied to many different chords on the ukulele, so it’s very useful to have committed to memory.
You can play this shape by fretting the G and C strings at the 11th fret with your third and fourth fingers respectively. Then, fret the E string at the 10th fret with your second finger and the A string at the 9th fret with your first finger.
Bm chord – Variation #2
We like this variation on the Bm chord for its richness, as well as how natural the shape feels to play. Fret the G string at the 7th fret with your third finger, the C string at the 6th fret with your second finger, the E string at the 7th fret with your fourth finger, and the A string at the 5th fret with your first finger.
More Bm Chord Variations
Songs that Use the Bm Chord
- The Alan Parsons Project – Day After Day: This inspiring number by the Alan Parsons Project is based heavily on the Bm chord.
- Bruno Mars – Just the Way you are: Bruno Mars’ classic ballad utilizes the Bm chord to great effect when creating contrast between light and dark.
- The Smiths – Nowhere Fast: This rockabilly-inspired Smiths deep cut features heavy use of the Bm chord.