B7 Ukulele Chord

Have you ever wondered how to play the B7 chord on the ukulele? 7th chords aren’t generally as widely used as major or minor chords in Western popular music, but they really pack a punch. They’re a great way to add tension and release to your music, and you’ll often hear them in gospel and spiritual music, as well as in other genres like blues and jazz. 

Learning to play some of the more common 7th chords on the ukulele is a great next step after picking up major and minor chords. This article focuses on the B7 chord in particular and discusses how the chord is constructed. It also outlines some of the ways that you can play the B7 chord and a few different songs that the B7 chord appears in. 

Looking for more chords? Check out our guide >>> Easy Ukulele Chords for Beginners to Learn First

The Basics

Most of the chords that we work with in music are either major or minor chords. These chords are based on major and minor triads, which are groups of three notes played simultaneously. Another major group of chords is the 7th or dominant 7th chords. 7th chords are essentially major chords with an additional, flattened 7th added into the mix. 

To construct a 7th chord, all you need to do is add a flattened or dominant 7th to a major triad. The major scale usually consists of a major 7th, but by flattening this note by a semitone, you get a dominant 7th, and this is the note that gives 7th chords their distinctive sound. 

The B7 chord is one of the more widely used 7th chords in Western music, and it consists of the notes of B, D#, F#, and A. Various voicings of the B7 chord will also include other notes, or potentially exclude one of the notes listed above. In the next section, we will cover a few different voicings of the B7 chord. 

How to Play the B7 Chord

The most common voicing of the B7 chord on the ukulele is a barre chord. Barre chords are somewhat renowned amongst beginners to the instrument for being difficult to play. While this is generally true, the B7 barre chord is arguably one of the easiest to perform on the instrument, and even new ukulele players shouldn’t have too much trouble playing it consistently. 

To play the standard B7 ukulele chord, you simply need to fret all four of the strings at the second fret with your first finger. Use your first finger like a bar to span the width of the fretboard. Then, fret the C string at the third fret with your second finger. 

One aspect of barre chords that can be challenging is fatigue in the fretting hand. You may find that your hand starts cramping up from holding the chord shape for a prolonged period. Also, you might find it tricky to maintain enough tension in your second finger while barring the fretboard. 

In either case, the best way to improve is simply to practice as much as you can. Try to keep your fretting hand as relaxed as possible, too. Staying relaxed while practicing helps to limit tension, which allows you to play for longer, as well as potentially limiting any risk of injury that you might experience while practicing. 

B7 ukulele chord

B7 Chord – Open Shape 

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This variation on the B7 chord may be easier to tackle for those who struggle with barre chords. The way the fingers are positioned in this chord shape may feel more natural to some and leaving one of the strings open means that you will likely experience less tension in your fretting hand. 

To play this chord shape, fret the G string at the fourth fret with your fourth finger, the C string at the third fret with your third finger, the E string at the second fret with your second finger, all while leaving the A string open. Make sure to keep your second finger well clear of the A string, so that it doesn’t brush against the A string at all while you strum. 

B7 Chord – Another Variation 

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This is a variant on the ukulele B7 chord with a nice, bold sound. To play it, fret the G string at the fourth fret with your first finger, the C string at the sixth fret with your third finger, the E string at the fifth fret with your second finger, and the A string at the sixth fret with your fourth finger. 

More B7 Chord Variations

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Songs that Use the B7 Chord 

  • The Beatles – I Want to Hold your Hand: This bittersweet love song with a hint of melancholy uses the B7 chord to invoke a sense of tension and release as it moves along. 
  • The Blues Brothers – Sweet Home Chicago: The Blues Brothers’ charming ode to Chicago is a great showcase of the B7 chord. 
  • Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues: Summertime Blues is a rock ‘n’ roll classic, which utilizes the B7 chord in a way typical of the era.