Chords are the building blocks that make up just about all music. While the most commonly used chords are standard major and minor chords, there is a whole world beyond that with many other types of chords to discover. One such type of chord is known as the 7th or dominant 7th chord.
7th chords are noteworthy for their crucial role in spiritual and gospel music, but they have also been used widely in other genres too, like classical and popular Western music. Of all the 7th chords, the A7 chord is arguably used the most out of any of them. What’s more, it translates very well to the ukulele, too.
Our guide to the A7 ukulele chord discusses the chord’s structure, as well as some different ways you might like to go about tackling the chord. Finally, for the sake of context, we provide a list of some songs that feature the chord of A7.
Looking for more chords? Check out our guide >>> Easy Ukulele Chords for Beginners to Learn First
In their most basic form, chords are made up of triads. Triads are collections of three tones (notes), and they inform the overall structure and sound of the chord. For example, a major triad consists of a root note, major third, and perfect fifth. It is the major third in the major triad that gives the chord its major sound.
7th chords are also based on the major triad. However, in addition to the three standard notes of the major triad, they utilize a flattened 7th note played on top of the triad. This is the note that gives 7th chords their strong, distinctive sound (and, naturally, where the name comes from).
As such, the A7 chord consists of the notes A, C#, E, and G. There are different ways to voice the chord, but it will generally need to consist of these four notes at the very least in order to have the correct sound.
How to Play
The standard voicing for the A7 ukulele chord is one of the simplest to play on the instrument. Simply fret the first fret of the C string with your first finger. Then, play the rest of the strings open. Make sure your non-fretting strings are completely clear of the fretboard when playing this chord.
This is another, more complex way to play the A7 chord. Fret the fourth fret of the C string with your first finger, the fifth fret of the E string with your third finger, and the fourth fret of the A string with your second finger. Play the G string open.
Being higher up on the neck and using less open strings, this particular voicing has a bold, warm sound. When you play open strings, you aren’t able to use your fretting hand to control or affect the sound of the given chord or note at all. So, even though it can be more difficult to play chords that require a more active role from the fretting hand, some musicians prefer these voicings anyway due to the greater sensitivity they can offer.
Here is another variation on the A7 chord, this time with more open strings. Fret the 6th fret of the G string with your first finger and the 7th fret of the C string with your second finger. Then, play the other two strings open.
Playing a chord with multiple open strings does have its benefits, too. One major advantage of choosing chord shapes such as these is that they tend to have a clearer, more piercing quality compared to chords with less open strings. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing chord voicings, in any case. It’s generally down to personal preferences or, in some cases, what a particular style of music dictates is best.
More A7 Chord Variations
Songs that Feature the A7 Chord
As mentioned earlier, 7th chords are perhaps recognized mostly for their role in shaping the sound of gospel and American spiritual music. These chords are a massive part of the overall tonality of these types of music, and are often associated with music that sounds more ‘spiritual’ overall.
However, 7th chords are found widely in all different kinds of music. We’ve compiled a list of just a few possible ukulele songs with the A7 chord. Once you get used to playing the A7 chord, you may begin to recognize it more and more in other songs, too.
- Traditional – Happy Birthday: Who knew that the birthday song actually features a 7th chord? 7th chords are often used in Western music to resolve to the root note, and the A7 chord is used similarly in Happy Birthday.
- Rolling Stones – Satisfaction: This rock ‘n’ roll classic features heavy use of the A7 chord, which the band utilizes to give some great performances.
- The Beatles – Twist and Shout: One of the Beatles’ early classics, Twist and Shout shows off their deft songwriting. Here, the A7 chord in particular is on show.