Are you ready to learn how to play one of the most important chords for ukulele players? The G7 chord is a vital chord to know if you want to play songs, especially tunes played in C major. Terry Carter, from Uke Like The Pros even includes it in the 4 most important chords to know.
Once you learn four chords (C, Am, F, and G7), you can literally play hundreds of songs. This article will walk you through the process of playing the G7 chord as well as provide information about this fascinating chord!
Getting Comfortable with Your Ukulele
There are many foundational things that you need to know in order to feel comfortable with your ukulele. Understanding the strings is a basic piece of knowledge that you need to understand, and it is fairly simple. Each string relates to a note. Starting from the top to bottom, the notes are G-C-E-A. Pluck each string to test out how each note sounds when the strings are open (this means you are not pressing down on any of the strings). Now you know your strings!
Importance of the G7 Chord in the Ukulele World
As stated before, the G7 chord may be one of the most important chords you will learn especially at the beginning of your ukulele journey. In this video below, Terry Carter discusses the importance of the G7 chord. Although he does not break down how to play the chords in this resource, he does let viewers know that this is a chord you will want to memorize. This chord is useful for songs, jazz, and progressions:
One of my favorite practice songs, “Stand by Me,” requires the G7 chord. In fact, it just uses four chords. I strum this to warm up, and you will find that this seventh chord is in many songs. It is likely that you learned the G chord already and want to expand on your chords. You can reference How to Play the G Chord on the Ukulele if that will help you with your comfort level in trying something new. Remember that the G chord on the ukulele is the D chord on the guitar! It is also similar to the G7 chord.
Playing the G7 Chord on the Ukulele
The other two components of playing the G7 chord are understanding how to press down strings on the fretboard and how to strum basic notes. Here we learn about how much easier it is to play the G7 chord when moving from the universal F chord. This comes up in songs a lot, and knowing this chord will help make your chord knowledge universal.
On ULTP, you can also access a pocket chord chart that has the major chords on them. I received quite a few from purchasing instruments, and they travel with me in my ukulele case all the time! They are handy and include many of the most important chords.
Look at the diagram to reference which numbers refer to each finger that you will use to press down on the strings. The fretboard runs along the neck of your ukulele. You will need three fingers to press down on the strings – your forefinger (1), your middle finger (2), and your ring finger (3). On the fretboard, you will see lines that run perpendicular to the fretboard and neck of your instrument. The first fret is located at the top. You want to place your forefinger on the second string from the bottom on the first fret. Place your finger near the line, but not on it.
Then place your middle finger on the third string from the bottom of the second fret. Again, get near the line, but do not press on the line. Finally, place your ring finger on the first string from the bottom of the second fret. It may seem awkward at first, but you will definitely get used to it as you practice playing. The G string (the top string) will be open. Now pluck each string to see if it will ring clearly. If it is not, you are probably not pressing down hard enough on the string. I will include tips for you later on in this article to help you master this chord.
Strumming can be one of the most challenging things to master in the beginning. I know that I sat down strumming for what seemed forever until I felt comfortable strumming. Everybody is different and finds what works best for them based on so many factors. The only way you will know what works for you is by practicing your strumming over and over. Do not get frustrated because it is a learning process. I promise you that it will soon become automatic.
I use my forefinger on my right hand most of the time. My sister does, too, but she is double-jointed. She had to try many configurations until she got comfortable. The basics of strumming is covered in the ULTP courses for beginners, and I watched all the beginning video courses as a premium member. As a premium member, you have access to all of Terry Carter’s courses, and they were instrumental for me to conquer my challenges and frustrations. Courses include music reading, beginning courses, soloing, and many more topics. They are foundational and helpful in educating you on the ukulele. I encourage you to join the ULTP Nation, a community of ukulele players who help each other and play together!
5 Tips to Help You Play Ukulele Chords
The top 5 tips to help you play ukulele chords relate to any chords you wish to play. They are very important to follow, and here they are!
- Press down on the strings with your fingertips and not on the pads of your fingers. Trust me, you are going to want to press down with those pads, but that will keep you from achieving the second tip.
- Use rounded knuckles when making chord shapes. Your knuckles need to be rounded and not flat or straight. Follow these first tips, and you will be on your way!
- Relax your wrist. Do not bend your wrist. You can actually risk injury if you lock that wrist in a bad position, so think loose! I had to say that like a mantra for a while until I got comfortable. $3
- Memorize your major chords. This way you can pick up your instrument and play at any whim. Also, you will be able to change chords with more ease if you already know the chord shapes.
- As you switch chords, position your fingers over the next chord shape before pressing down. This will help you as you get better and especially when you move on to progressions.
Understanding the G7 Chord
The G7 chord is a 7th chord or dominant chord. 7ths are used in many styles of music. Understanding the fundamentals of how music works will help you build on your knowledge as well as take you to the next level in your ukulele playing. Since I already play other instruments, including the piano, I know how to read music well. My Brother-in-Law had to start from the beginning because he did not have any experience with music prior to starting the ukulele. Wherever you are on your journey, progressing is the key. My next step is understanding music theory, so I thought I would mention some of these important points.
Now you know how to play the G7 chord! This will help you tremendously and widen the number of songs that you can potentially play. I probably play this chord every time I pick up my ukulele, and you will, too. Start memorizing as many chords as you can. This way, you can pick up your ukulele and play freely without having to get out your music. I have a few songs I know from memory, and I play them as practice before starting new songs. Enjoy your ukulele journey, and embrace where you are. As long as you keep learning, you will become better and better. Do not give up! It is definitely worth it.