C7 Ukulele Chord

If you’re a beginner to the ukulele, you might be struggling to get your head around chords at the moment. What are they, and what importance do they have? Chords are essentially the foundation of the music that we play; you’ll sometimes hear them referred to as the harmony of a song, and they essentially tell us which notes we can use within a given piece of music. 

7th chords are just one type of chord, and they’re easy to recognize thanks to their distinctive sound. Just like the C Major chord, the C7 chord is probably one of the most widely-heard chords in all of Western popular music. Learning it is basically a must for anyone new to the ukulele. Fortunately, our guide is here to help!  

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

The Basics 

Before we get into how to play the C7 ukulele chord, it would be wise to talk about how the chord is constructed. 7th chords are made up of a major triad with a dominant 7th added. A major triad is the foundation for any major chord, and it consists of a root note, major third, and perfect fifth.

The dominant or flattened 7th in a 7th chord in combination with the other notes in the chord is what gives 7th chords their striking, somewhat discordant sound. This is due to the intervals between the notes. In the context of music theory, an interval refers to the number of semitones between two notes. 

Essentially, the intervals present in a 7th chord are what create the disharmony and tension that these chords are so renowned for. This may not necessarily sound so positive at first blush, but deliberately including moments of tension or dissonance in your music is a great way to make the sweet moments sound even sweeter by contrast. 

The chord of C7 contains the notes C, E, G, and Bb. 

How to Play the Ukulele C7 Chord 

C7 ukulele chord

As previously mentioned, the ubiquity of the C7 chord makes learning it sooner or later basically unavoidable to anyone keen to learn the ukulele. Fortunately, it might also be the easiest chord to play on the instrument. To play the standard voicing of the C7 chord, all you need to do is fret the A string at the first fret with your first finger. Leave all the other strings open and strum away!

C7 Chord Barred Version

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Once you’ve mastered that first voicing of the C7 chord, you may want to try something a little more challenging. It’s also important to note that, when you play chords with open strings, you have less control over the overall sound than if you were to fret all of the notes. Fretting the notes gives you more of a direct role in the timbre of the chord, and you can play with other devices like vibrato while fretting. 

This is voicing is a barre chord, which some newcomers to the ukulele find tricky to master thanks to the pressure they tend to put on the fretting hand. However, this particular shape doesn’t require too much stretching and should also be fairly quick for most new uke players to master.

To play this voicing, simply fret all four of the strings at the third fret with your first finger. Then, fret the C string at the fourth fret with your second finger. If you find your fretting hand getting tired while trying to play this shape, make sure you’re keeping tension to a minimum. Make a conscious effort to keep your hand as relaxed as possible while fretting and take frequent breaks, too. 

C7 Chord – Open Variation 

C7 ukulele chord ver5

We’ve included this voicing of the C7 chord due to it having an interesting, open quality. This one is also fairly easy to play. Leaving the G and C strings open, fret the E string at the 6th fret with your first finger and the A string at the seventh fret with your second finger. 

Make sure that you keep your first finger completely clear of the C string while playing this chord. If the side of your fretting finger brushes the open string, it will essentially choke the note and prevent it from coming through.   

More C7 Chord Variations

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Songs that Use the C7 Chord 

  • The Supremes – Baby Love: The clever use of the C7 chord in Baby Love helps give the harmony a sense of momentum and variety without being over the top or overpowering. 
  • Eric Carmen – All by Myself: This rousing number by Eric Carmen uses the C7 chord for tension to incredible effect. 
  • Hank Williams – Hey Good Lookin’: This charming country classic by Hank Williams makes great use of the C7 chord in a way that is very typical of country from this era. A good example of conventional country songwriting devices from the period more generally, too.