After standard major and minor chords, dominant 7th chords are arguably the most commonly used types of chords in Western popular music. They have a prominent role in a number of genres like jazz, spiritual, country, and blues, and they are often utilized for their highly distinctive sound.
Learning to play and work with 7th chords is an important part of learning to play the ukulele more broadly. If you’re new to the instrument and not sure where to start, then the F7 ukulele chord is a wise choice. You’ll hear it in a huge range of songs, and the chord is relatively easy to learn and master, too.
Our guide goes over the structure of the F7 chord, as well as discussing some of the different chord shapes that you can use to play the chord. Also, we provide a list of some famous pieces of music that use the F7 chord.
Looking for more chords? Check out our guide >>> Easy Ukulele Chords for Beginners to Learn First
Like all chords, the F7 chord is based on a triad. The type of triad that a given chord is based on determines what kind of chord we end up with once it has been constructed. Major triads consist of a root note, major third, and perfect fifth. These notes are intervals relative to the note that makes up the root or home note of the key.
7th chords are based on major triads with a dominant 7th added in. The dominant 7th is a flattened 7th, as opposed to the standard major scale, which features a major 7th. By flattening the 7th note in the scale by a semitone, we can totally change the way that the chord sounds. Pretty cool, right?
The F7 chord in particular consists of the notes F, A, C, and Eb. However, when playing the chord, we may not always be playing all of these notes. This is due to chords each having multiple different voicings that we can use for a particular chord. Playing with different voicings is a compelling way to find a set of notes that still represent a chord, but also best fit to a particular piece or style of music.
How to Play
As mentioned above, chords all have multiple voicings that give us considerable freedom in how we play a certain chord. This can be helpful for beginners to the ukulele, as some chord voicings are much more challenging to play than others. However, it’s important not to avoid learning more difficult chord shapes. All chord shapes recur on the instrument, and we need to be able to tackle them sooner or later!
This chord shape is the standard F7 ukulele chord. At first glance, it looks fairly complex. The shape is one of the more challenging for beginners to the instrument, largely due to it being so awkward. So, do be patient if you find that it takes some time to master this particular chord voicing.
To play this chord shape, fret the G string at the second fret with your second finger. Fret the C string at the third fret with your third finger, the E string at the first fret with your first finger, and the A string at the third fret with your fourth finger.
At first, you may seriously struggle to play this chord consistently, or to incorporate it successfully into chord changes played at tempo. This is normal, and the most important thing for you to do if you are struggling to play the chord in any setting is to practice it often. If you want to get better at playing the chord as part of a chord change, you may want to practice along to a metronome, too.
F7 Chord Variation #1
This unusual, open variation on the F7 chord has a nice ringing quality to it that we enjoy, thanks to the C string being left open. To play this chord, fret the G string at the 9th fret with your third finger. Then, fret the E string at the fifth fret with your first finger, and fret the A string at the 9th fret with your fourth finger.
F7 Chord Variation #2
This barred variation of the F7 chord may be easier for some to play than the standard voicing. To play it, bar the fretboard at the fifth fret with your first finger. Then, fret the A string at the sixth fret with your second finger. It’s that easy!
More F7 Chord Variation
Songs that Use the F7 Chord
- The Isley Brothers – It’s Your Thing: Replete with horns and a seriously driving rhythm section, this Isley Brothers classic utilizes the F7 chord in a way very typical of the genre when it was recorded.
- B.B. King – Lucille: Renowned for its iconic intro, this legendary blues track makes liberal use of the F7 chord to dramatic effect.
- Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Taking Care of Business: With its incredible chorus and ingenious use of the F7 chord, it’s no wonder that Taking Care of Business became the rock ‘n’ roll hit that it did.