E7 Ukulele Chord

No matter what stage you’re at in your musical journey, you can’t get away from learning about chords. Chords give the music we love its foundation and harmonic structure, and developing a better understanding of them is vital if you want the greatest possible freedom in writing and playing music.

Different types of chords have their own unique characteristics and qualities, which is part of what makes them so powerful and memorable. Dominant 7th chords, for example, have a jarring sound that lends them well to use in moments of tension and release. They are also widely used in gospel and spiritual music. 

The E7 chord is one of the more widely used 7th chords in Western music. Learning to play this chord on the uke is important if you’re looking to expand your repertoire of chords or simply broaden your knowledge of the instrument. Our guide discusses the chord in some depth, as well as highlighting some of our favourite voicings of the chord. We also mention some songs that feature the E7 chord. 

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

The Basics

Essentially all chords are based on triads. Triads are groups of 3 notes played in unison, and can broadly be separated into two categories; major and minor triads. Major triads are made up of a root note, major third, and perfect fifth. Minor triads are made up of a root note, minor third, and perfect fifth. 

Other, more complex types of chords are also based on major and minor triads, but with additional notes on top of said triads. Dominant 7th chords, for example, like the E7 chord, are based on the major triad. In addition to the standard notes that make up the major triad, 7th chords also feature a dominant or flattened 7th, as opposed to the major 7th that you would generally expect to hear in a standard major scale. 

The notes that make up the E7 chord are E, G#, B, and D. D represents the flattened 7th in the chord, and it is the flattened 7th that gives the chord its distinctive, brassy sound. If we were to raise the diminished 7th by just one semitone, then we would have a Maj 7 chord instead, a type of chord which has a completely different sound to dominant 7th chords!

How to Play 

One of the beautiful things about learning to play the ukulele is that different chords each have multiple voicings. In short, there’s no one right way to play a given chord. We can discover our favourite way to play each chord and different chord voicings and shapes actually have their own unique characteristics. So, learning to master these is important if you want to imbue your music with the greatest possible variety and nuance. 

E7 ukulele chord

This is the standard E7 chord voicing for the ukulele. It can seem a bit awkward to play for beginners to the instrument, but in our opinion isn’t overly challenging once you have practiced it consistently. To play this chord shape, fret the G string at the first fret with your first finger. Fret the C string at the second fret with your second finger and fret the A string at the second fret with your third finger.

One of the most challenging aspects of playing this chord consistently is keeping the E string open. If your fingers on the surrounding strings brush the open E string at all, then this will choke the note and essentially mute it. So, proper technique is important here in order to prevent this from happening. 

Try to keep your fretting hand relaxed while playing this chord. Excess tension in your hand will likely make it harder for you to keep your fingers clear of the E string. 

E7 Ukulele Chord Variation #1

E7 ukulele chord ver2

This is a barre chord variation on the E7 chord. Barre chords do have something of a reputation for being difficult to play, but this is one of the easier ones to tackle. To play this chord, bar the fretboard at the fourth fret with your first finger. Then, fret the A string at the fifth fret with your second finger. 

E7 Ukulele Chord Variation #2

E7 ukulele chord ver4

This chord shape is actually the same as the standard E7 chord, but simply played higher up the neck. To play this shape, fret the G string at the 13th fret with your first finger, the C string at the 14th fret with your second finger, and the A string at the 14th fret with your third finger. 

More E7 Chord Variation

E7 ukulele chord ver3

Songs that Feature the E7 Ukulele Chord 

  • Ben E. King – Stand By Me: This classic love song employs the E7 chord for the sake of building tension and does so to great effect. 
  • Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out: Twenty One Pilots’ breakthrough song revolves around feelings of anxiety and angst in the modern age. 
  • Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze: This Hendrix classic is completely anchored around his signature dominant 7th chord.