How To Play Happy Birthday On Guitar

The happy birthday song is inarguably the most popular song ever written. It is known globally and sung in different languages. As a guitarist, there will always be instances when you will be asked to play the happy birthday song on the guitar to serenade a loved one or even your family members. 

If you are a beginner, you can also incorporate the guitar chords of this popular song into your guitar lesson.

Just follow the step by step instructions in this article and you will be playing well in no time.

how to play happy birthday on guitar

Steps To Take

There are varying guitar interpretations of the happy birthday song. However, we’d highlight the basic chord progressions here.

Here are a few things to know before you proceed:

The first is to use any chord progression or strumming pattern that you can easily play.

The happy birthday song has 3 beats for each measure and a quarter note that gets one count. In simpler terms, it uses a 3/4 beat.

The chords do not kick in until the next word, “birthday” is uttered. This implies that the word “happy” is uttered before the first beat.

Now, to the playing aspect. You can play the happy birthday song on the guitar in different keys. But it is wise to play in the key that suits your voice if you are singing, or the singer’s voice. These keys include G, D, C, and E. There is no fixed key, you can start with any of these keys and work your way through the song. It is also important to point out that the happy birthday song is played using open chords. 

Let explain two simple ways of starting the song with the G and E chords.

Playing Happy Birthday Chords Using G

Here, the strumming pattern of the happy birthday song is in the form of G, D, D7, C.

To play the G major in the open position, position your first finger on the fifth string (A string), second fret. Your second finger should be on the third fret of the low E string (6th string). And your third finger should be placed on the 3rd fret of the first string, high E string. 

To switch to the next chord, D, position your first finger on the second fret of the 3rd string (G string) of your guitar. the second finger is placed on the second fret of the high E string. And lastly, your third finger should be positioned on the third fret of the B string.

For open D7 chord, position your 2nd finger on the G string, second fret. Then proceed to place your first finger on the B string (2nd string), first fret. Lastly, place your 3rd finger on the high E string, second fret.

To play the final chord, open C major, position your first finger on the B string, first fret. Follow this by placing your second finger on the second fret of the fourth string (D string) of your guitar. Finally, add your little finger (pinkie) to the D string on the third fret.

With a flawless switch among these chords, you will have an amazing rendition of the happy birthday song on your guitar.

Playing Happy Birthday Using E Chord

To play the happy birthday song with this, you have to be familiar with the E major, A major and B7 to play happy birthday on guitar. The major problem you would encounter as a beginner might be the B7 but it is quite simple.

To get the B7 chord, move your first finger down to the A string at the first fret from the D string. Your ring finger should leave the A string for the D string, second fret. Try to add your fourth finger to the first string, the high E, on the second fret. With this, you have a B7. Keep practicing until you can do it effortlessly. This way you will easily play the happy birthday song by doing a chord swap from E to B7 and back to E major.

Conclusion

Playing happy birthday songs is great for your guitar lesson as it helps you to learn more about chords progression in music. Also, it is a fun and simple way to bring smiles to the faces of people.

Below is a link to an instructional video on this topic: