Blues Rhythm Riff (part 3)
♦ Learn the B5 in the first position
♦ Learn the B5 in the second position
♦ Play the riff alternating between first and second position
In this lesson we will learn the third and final part of the Blues Rhythm Riff, the B5 chord.
This one is a little different than the E5 and A5 in that there are no open strings played in the formation of the B5 chord so, as a result, the B5 requires the left hand to do some stretching.
This can be a bit of a challenge for a new guitarist and may require some patience and practice.
Take a look at the diagram below.
The B5 is formed by placing the 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string, and the 3rd finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd string.
Notice that the pattern of the B5 chord is the same as the pattern for the E5 and A5 chords, it just looks different because it is up higher on the neck beyond the open strings.
Now let's look at the second position of the B5 chord below.
This is where the challenge comes in. In order to play this second position you have to keep your 1st finger in place and stretch your 4th finger (pinky) up to the 6th fret of the 4th string.
Give it a try. It will probably feel a little awkward to begin with. Believe it or not though, with practice your hand can be trained to make the stretch even though you may not be able to reach it at this time.
In the TAB below we can practice alternating between the two positions of the B5 chord just like we did with the E5 and A5 chords.
There are number of factors that may be making it difficult for you to play this chord in the second position. One consideration is the size of your hand (everyone is different). Another is the size of your guitar. Yet another is the fact that the frets in the lower part of the neck are wider, and can make a stretch like this more difficult.
If you are finding the second position impossible to reach at this stage here are a couple things you can do.
1. You can just play the chord in the first position until your hand becomes conditioned to make the stretch.
2. You can use an alternate way of playing the B5 chord.
The B5 can also be played using the 5th and 5th strings starting up at the 7th fret. Below is a diagram of how you would form the alternate B5 in the first and second positions.
The reason this may be easier on you is because the frets are smaller higher up on the neck so the stretch won't be as severe.
If you do decide to play it this way you will probably want to play the A5 in an alternate fashion as well. This will make a smoother transition between the chords because all you have to do is slide the B5 formation down 2 frets and you will be in position to play the alternate A5 chord.
Below is a diagram to illustrate.