Happy Birthday Guitar Chords: How To Play Happy Birthday

The tune of the “Happy Birthday” song is something a lot of us are familiar with. This song is very easy to play, even for beginners.

This guide to playing the ‘Happy Birthday’ chords on the guitar will have you playing in no time.

happy birthday chords

Strumming Pattern and Chords

Do you want to play the happy birthday song for a special someone for their special day? Whether it’s for your grandma, parents or significant other, this tutorial will provide you with chords, chord progression and lyrics, strumming pattern and general type to play this wonderful song on your guitar.

If you are a completely new to the guitar, you don’t have to worry. This in-depth step-by-step process will surely help you play the ‘Happy Birthday’ song.

Know the Chord Progression

Studying the chord progression before playing the song will help you tremendously. Of course, you don’t need to memorize it right away. Having a general overview of the chord progression is enough.

The chords are quite simple as well, you just need to learn four chords, G, D, D7, and C. Below is the arrangement of the song, as well as the lyrics.

“Happy Birthday”

                    G              D

Happy birthday to you,

            D7       G

Happy birthday to you,

            C              G

Happy birthday, dear ________,

           D7                     G

Happy birthday to you.

Know the Chords

This section is a very detailed tutorial on how to play each chord. You can simply read the instructions and play along the provided strumming pattern.

First Chord

g Guitar Chord
G Guitar Chord

For this song, you need to play one measure of the G chord. To play the G chord you should:

  • Press down your pointer finger on the 2nd fret at A string.
  • Press down on the low E chord with your middle finger on the 3rd fret.
  • Lastly, press down on the high E string with your ring finger also on the 3rd fret.

The remaining three strings are open and must be played with the other strings.

Low E string: (Middle Finger, 3rd Fret)

A string: (Pointer Finger, 2nd Fret)

B string : Open String

D string: Open String

G string : Open String

High E string: (Ring Finger, 3rd Fret)

Note that you will start playing at the ‘birthday’ part of the first line.

You can strum downwards three times before switching to the next chord.

Second Chord

d Guitar Chord
D Guitar Chord

After playing the G chord, the next one is the D. To play this chord you should:

  • Press down your pointer finger on the 2nd fret on the G string.
  • Press down your middle finger on the high E string, 2nd fret.
  • Press down on the B string, 3rd fret with your ring finger.

The low E string and A string are close. Play the chord from the D string to the high E string.

Low E string: Close String

A string: Close String

B string : (Ring Finger, 3rd Fret)

D string: Open String

G string : (Pointer Finger, 2nd Fret)

High E string: (Middle Finger, 2nd Fret)

Strum the D chord downwards three times. You just finished the first line, now for the second.

Third Chord

D7 Guitar Chord
D7 Guitar Chord.

For the next line, we will start with the D7 chord. To play this chord you should:

  • Press down the B string on the first fret with your pointer finger.
  • And then on the second fret, press on the G string with your middle finger and, on the high E string with your ring finger.

Low E string: Close String

A string: Close String

B string : (Pointer Finger, 1st Fret)

D string: Open String

G string : (Middle Finger, 2nd Fret)

High E string: (Ring Finger, 2nd Fret)

Like on the D chord, just play the D, G, B, and high E string. Also, strum this chord downwards for three times.

Along with the D7 chord, play the G chord and you now finish the second line.

Fourth Chord

c Guitar Chord
C Guitar Chord

The fourth chord to learn for the third line of the song is the C chord. To play this chord you need to:

  • Press down the B string on the first fret with your pointer finger.
  • Next put your middle finger on the 2nd fret D string.
  • Lastly, press down on the A string 3rd fret with your ring finger.

Low E string: Close String

A string: (Ring Finger, 3rd Fret)

B string : (Pointer Finger, 1st Fret)

D string: (Middle Finger, 2nd Fret)

G string : Close String

High E string: Close String

Play all the strings except for the lower E string.

Strumming

You must know that the ‘Happy Birthday’ song has a 3/4  beats, meaning that for one beat you must strum three times. This is no problem for this song, as ‘Happy Birthday’ has an exactly one beat for chord all throughout. This means that for every chord, you can just strum down three times for the I strumming pattern.

If this strumming pattern is still hard for you, you can just try to do down stroke per chord. For example:

           G                D

Happy birthday to you

For the birth -day, do two strums per syllable and then the same will apply to the D chord, to-you.

Another version of happy birthday song with a different chord progression

How do you play Happy birthday on the guitar for beginners?

If you are a complete beginner and this is perhaps your first song to play on the guitar, well here are general tips on how to play this song.

Be Patient

When playing a new instrument, patience is the key feature you must have. Of course, new things are going to be hard as there is a learning curve to overcome.

Expert Tip: If you ever find yourself being discouraged, especially with new songs and chords, be easy on yourself and take a breath. Always remember that with practice and a little bit of patience you will be playing the song in the future.

Set Time

Progress takes time. If you want to improve on your guitar skills, make sure to set at least a couple of minutes a day for practice. If you have another things to do, maybe with work or school, know that sometimes you can skip on the practice when life calls for it. Don’t beat yourself up but also be responsible for your progress.

In Conclusion– How to play the Happy Birthday on the Guitar

We hope this steps to play the ‘Happy Birthday’ song on the guitar. Whether you are a beginner or a pro that is learning basics, we hope you find this guide as useful.

If you have more questions about guitars or any feedbacks, be sure to comment them down below.

About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!