View Full Version : B7 - confused

06-24-2013, 12:51 AM
Have been trying a couple of fingerings for B7, 2322 and 4320:

2322 will have me reaching for the ibuprofen before too much longer, sounds like mud no matter how I try it. I don't thing barring 2nd fret and trying to cover the C at the third fret will ever work with my stubby fingers. I can sort of manage it with a contortion of index, middle and ring at 2nd and covering the C at third with my pinky -individual strings ring sort of OK this way but the chord still sounds a little murky.

4320 is way easier, sounds clearer/ringier but otherwise not a whole lot different to me.

I have no theory yet so please bear with me - what's the difference between the two (apart from ibuprofen)? Is there value in persisting with 2322?

06-24-2013, 12:56 AM
Barre chords are always hard, but you gotta learn them. They get easier with time. Not sure if they hurt less though. :)

Oh, and I have no idea what the difference is. Somebody else will wade in with the answer to that, I'm sure.

06-24-2013, 01:00 AM
The notes of the 4320 version are exactly the same as the 2322 version. If 4320 works better for you, then you can play it just as well.
The 2322 version has the advantage, that it's easier to move up the fretboard. 3433 makes a C7 and so on.

On account of the chord sounding wrong: If you have the uke in tune and the notes don't go sharp or flat as you go up the fretboard, the chord sounds exactly as it should.

Ambient Doughnut
06-24-2013, 01:00 AM
Well both fingerings give you the necessary notes for a B7 (root note, 3rd, 5th and flat 7th) - just in a different order.

have a play with this and all should become clear!


06-24-2013, 01:13 AM
Well both fingerings give you the necessary notes for a B7 (root note, 3rd, 5th and flat 7th) - just in a different order.

have a play with this and all should become clear!


Thanks all for those quick replies. Doughnut* thanks for that link - very cool, have bookmarked it.

(*correct spelling noted ;) )

06-24-2013, 02:51 AM
One's a "happy" B7 and the other is a "mellow" B7.

06-24-2013, 03:00 AM
As consitter said, barred chords are a necessary evil. They are difficult for some amount of time (a few months, a year, or so) Then you'll wonder what in the world was the problem. But if you plan to play a fretted instrument, you must get through this learning process. We all go through it, and the B7 is a good place to start. Along the way, always play some things with no barred chords, to keep it fun.

06-24-2013, 03:14 AM
I'll echo the others - keep working on the barre chords even if for the time being you use the 4320 version of the B7 chord. Once you've learned barre chords, there is no key that you cannot play in with relative ease. Until you learn them you are going to be pretty much restricted to the easy keys of C, D and G. Even the key of F is much easier if you learn it using a full barre chord for the Bb and then you have two options for playing the C or C7 - if you're "bouncing" between the F and C7 you can do it with the traditional 0001 fingering for the C7 and if you're "bouncing" between the Bb and C or C7 you can do it by moving the barre back and forth by two frets.

However, you do want to make sure the uke is set up well. Try this experiment - try fretting the "B7" shape at the fifth fret instead of the 2nd (this is an alternative way of making the D7 chord). You may not get it perfect at first, but if it is significantly easier (less force required) than the same shape at the 1st or 2nd fret then the nut is probably too high and you need to have the ukulele set up.


Ambient Doughnut
06-24-2013, 03:27 AM
Of course another way to look at your two chords is that the middle strings are the same but the notes one the outer strings have simply swapped places...

Johnny GDS
06-24-2013, 03:37 AM
This B7 voicing (4656) is worth exploring as well while you are getting used to the barre chords. It is also a "moveable" shape meaning that you can shift it up and down the fretboard and get different 7th chords.

The barre chord learning curve is definitely a rung in the ladder that you must conquer at some point, but it will be well worth it in the long run.

I worry a little bit about your Ibuprofen references, pain really shouldn't be an issue. Always remember that if it is physically painful to play in a certain way, its probably somehow incorrect. With the barre chord situation pressure is not the key to making a good connection that will allow all the notes to ring clearly. Experiment with changing the angle of your fingers to achieve the chord with the least possible pressure. Often there will be one note that's not really happening, and our tendency is to try to fix it by squeezing even harder with every finger. This will almost never create a desirable result. Try shifting your fingers around and adjusting the angle of your hand until you can get everything clean.

I have seen other people attempt to side step the barre chord issue by re-fingering the B7 shape as you described ("I can sort of manage it with a contortion of index, middle and ring at 2nd and covering the C at third with my pinky") but this will only work within the 1st few frets. Since this shape is moveable and that is the real value of it, by fingering it that way you will lose this value. As you move up the fretboard the frets just get too close together for this to work. Also once you get comfortable with the B7 barre shape, it will become very easy, in fact much easier than the alternate fingering you have come up with.

Stick it out, and if you can, get with a friend or someone who can look at what you are doing and give a little advice regarding your hand and finger positions. Its all about finding the balance between angle and pressure (the lightest possible pressure that is!).

Good luck with it, and remember "no pain no gain" DOES NOT apply here! I guess "no pain.......ever" would be the right inspirational slogan.

Also in regards to the differences between the chords, the barre chord B7 is voiced b7, 3rd, 5th, root, and the non-bar B7 is voiced root, 3rd, 5th, b7, so the notes are the same (B-D#-F#-A) just in different orders or "voicings".

The voicing I presented at the beginning of this post is voiced Root, 5th, b7, 3rd. All these shapes have the same notes, just re-arranged in different orders. Hope this helps some!

mm stan
06-24-2013, 04:04 AM
Barring takes time to get used to....You are probally still working of first position chords...keep at them, and when you are ready and your fingers have built strength and dexterity to do so
you can try it...concentrate on learning your first position chords and the strumming and transition between chords... barring as others have said is when you get better and it will be easier
for you in transition of chords on the neck.. good luck....

06-24-2013, 04:16 AM
Thanks again all, gotta love this place.

I'm actually pretty happy with how my barre chords have been coming along to this point, just this accursed B7 has been doing my head in. And I'm afraid I was being semi-flippant with the reference to ibuprofen, I'm not pushing into pain. That said I have a tendency meet frustration with force of will (certain sports have conditioned me that way...I suspect Uke is going to be teaching me a different kind of discipline :D ) so thanks for the reminders about that.

mm stan
06-24-2013, 04:28 AM
Enjoy the journey....when rushing learning....you miss or skip some of the main and enjoyable things....:)

06-25-2013, 04:36 PM
I agree with John (Oldephart) - if the barre chords are easy up the neck but hard in the Bb7 and B7 position I would suspect the nut is too high. But then it took me a year or maybe a little more to do a Bb7 anyway.

But now if I get a new uke one of the first things I chheck is a Bb (barred) or a Bb7 - if they are hard I lower the strings at the nut (carefully).

Ambient Doughnut
06-25-2013, 10:55 PM
A good point but as you're new I'd strongly recommend letting an experienced played have a go on your uke before you start adjusting anything. If they think the nut is high then take it to a shop or have a go yourself. It is pretty easy as long as you take your time and don't get carried away! :)

06-26-2013, 12:15 AM
Thanks Guys,
Pretty sure the nut height is fine, the 2322 shape is no more or less comfortable/playable for me at the first fret or all the way up the neck. It's more a matter of how my fingers work together (or not), my index and middle fingers are fairly close in length and the tips are a bit spatulate. I'm quite OK with barring a whole fret cleanly up and down the neck with my index (or middle or ring) finger on its own, it's bringing the middle finger onto the C when barring with the index that seems to be the issue. I have the same problem on my skinny soprano neck as on my wider/thicker tenor. .

While I was in between typing this and playing with that chord I just had a bit of an aha! moment...I think I've been dropping my wrist a shade too much, lifting the index just a hair off the A and E in the barre when the middle finger is in the mix, so those two strings aren't fretted cleanly. Rolling the wrist up just a little bit gets me closer to a clean chord using the weight of my hand and with a lot less thumb pressure required...not quite there yet but a good bit better than it was.

Small steps, small wins. :cool:

Edit 2:
This was my 50th post on UU :cool::cool: