How to Play Happy Birthday On Guitar


“Happy Birthday” is both a song and not really a song. It’s achieved such an absurd level of ubiquity and search hits on Google by you guys that it’s probably graduated to something much higher. A planet-spanning musical clothesline from which we all dangle. A melody that has been sung in every occupied house in the English speaking world for over a century. Guitar interpretations of ‘Happy Birthday’ are varied, ranging from the brisk and punky version from The Ramones to complex solo instrumentals on the classical guitar. We’re going to tackle the basic chord progression that you can then twist in any which way you like.


Important but by no means essential is the strumming pattern, you can read our informative post on basic strumming patterns and also watch the video instructional below, but before that, master these four simple chord changes. You can practice these chords on your mobile, download the free Uberchord App 

For a tune so widely reproduced as Happy Birthday, it follows that there is no one set key. Considering we’re playing this on a guitar, let us for sake of ease, pick the key of G. Here are the 4 chords:

Happy Birthday to You

G                                D

Happy Birthday to You

D                                G

Happy Birthday, dear [Name]

G7                                       C

Happy Birthday to You

G                                D  G

Check out the instructional video:

If you fancy some Guitar Tabs, here they are:

Check out the video instructional, if all this is too confusing for you.

That’s it for this week folks. Exciting, wasn’t it? Equipped with this mighty chord progression, you’ll be able to provide slightly underwhelming accompaniment to the most unavoidable song ever. Congratulations. Try to save some girls for the rest of your friends.