Happy Birthday easy guitar chords

Happy Birthday easy guitar chords

After playing guitar for 20 years, I would say that if I had to name 1 song that I've played most often in front of kids, it would be Happy Birthday.

If you want to learn how to play Happy Birthday on the guitar, I have great news for you.

It involves playing just a few simple beginner chords on your guitar.

And singing of course. Can't help you there, I've been told on occasion that my singing voice stings ears like needles 🙂

Let's get to it.

Here are the chords, after which I'll also give you the strumming pattern I use, then a surprise at the end.

Guitar chords to Happy Birthday in G

You can play this song in many different keys. Most people will choose the key that fits their voice better.

I like playing it in the key of G, I think this is the classic version:

  • G
  • D
  • D7
  • C

You can transpose these chords to different keys if you wish, I'll give you the chords in other keys as well in a second.

You can also use a capo to create a higher voicing.

G major D major D7 C major
Gmaj-chord1 Dmaj-chord1 D7-chord1 Cmaj-chord1

Keep in mind that Happy Birthday is in 3/4 time, which means that there are 3 beats to a measure.

{ G } Happy birthday to { D } you
{ D7 } Happy birthday to { G } you
{ G } Happy birthday dear { C } YOUR_NAME
{ G } Happy birthday { D7 } to { G } you

There you have it, nice and easy.

Here are some more voicing if you don't like the key of G.

Happy Birthday guitar chords in key of D

This one is in the key of D, which is also nice. It is a higher sounding version because of the starting D chord.

D major A major A7 G major
Dmaj-chord1 Amaj-chord1 A7-chord1 Gmaj-chord1

{ D } Happy birthday to { A } you
{ A7 } Happy birthday to { D } you
{ D } Happy birthday dear { G } YOUR_NAME
{ D } Happy birthday { A7 } to { D } you

Happy Birthday chords in key of C

If you're looking for even more variety, here are the chords in the key of C. This one has a barre chord though, so it's not for guitar newbies.

C major G major G7 F major
Cmaj-chord1 Gmaj-chord1 G7-chord2 Fmaj-chord2

{ C } Happy birthday to { G } you
{ G7 } Happy birthday to { C } you
{ C } Happy birthday dear { F } YOUR_NAME
{ C } Happy birthday { G7 } to { C } you

Strumming pattern to Happy Birthday

It's fairly easy to come up with a simple strumming pattern for this song. You could actually just strum the chords down-up non stop, and it would still sound good because of the shuffle rhythm.

Oh yes, that is important: you will need to use a swing feel, not straight.

Here is the strumming pattern I tend to use, but feel free to make up your own. It seems a bit complicated at first, but you'll get it with a bit of practice. It moves nicely with the rhythm of the song.

↓↑ ↓ ↓↑ ↑↓ ↓ ↓↑ ↑

Happy Birthday guitar melody notes + chords

Here is a real treat for you if you want to learn a nice fingerpicking melody version to Happy Birthday.

This one is in the key of C, meaning you'll be playing the chords from the key of C, and add melody notes that mimic the lyrics you would sing.

I really think you'll love this, it is a wonderfully full-sounding version that is easy to learn. Learn it, play it to your little ones on their birthdays, and watch their faces light up.

Remember that the song is in 3/4 time, and notice that the initial 2 plucks at the open G string don't start on the 1st beat of the measure, rather on the 3rd beat. Also, be mindful of the chords you're playing over. Even though you don't play entire chords, you're outlining them. Being aware of this makes the song easier to learn.

Here is the tablature to Happy Birthday, enjoy!




Here is what it should sound like in the end. If you have GuitarPro 7, I tabbed it out for you, you can download it here.


And there you have it, you have just learned how to play one of the most popular songs in the world.

Regardless of where your travels may take you, take comfort in the fact that you'll be able to whip out your guitar and play an internationally renown song at any time.

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