Out of the huge library of songs that are simple enough for beginners to learn on guitar, the classic “Happy Birthday” tune may be one of the most useful as it’s welcome at nearly any birthday party! “Happy Birthday” uses solely open major chords and a simple melody. With a / beat and a melody that incorporates pickup notes, it may not be effortless to learn for every novice. However, since the song is so short and well-known, it’s usually simple to pick up with just a few sessions of practice.
Study the chord progression before you start playing. If you already know how to read chord progressions, simply read this step and skip the rest of this section as the chords to “Happy Birthday” are very simple. Below is the chord progression to “Happy Birthday”. Hap-py |(C) birth – day to |(G) you. Hap-py | birth – day to |(C) you. Hap-py | birth-day dear |(F) (na-ame). Hap-py |(C) birth – day (G) to |(C) you. A few important things to note about “Happy Birthday”: The song uses a / (waltz) beat.
This means that there are three beats per measure and that the quarter note gets one count. This is easy to observe in the first measure: if you follow the lyrics, “birth – day – to”, each syllable gets one beat. happy birthday starts with two pickup eighth notes. In other words, the “Hap-py” at the start of the song occurs before the first beat as the chords don’t kick in until “Birth-day”. You can use any strumming pattern that’s comfortable for you. A simple one that works well is to simply use a down strum for each quarter note (three per measure.)
Play one measure of C. “Happy Birthday” starts on a C major open chord. This chord is played for the whole first measure, starting on the “birth” syllable of “birthday”. You don’t have to play any chords on “Happy”, since these are pickup notes to the first measure. An open C major chord is played like this:Play two measures of C. Next, on the syllable “you”, play an open C chord. Keep playing this chord through the fourth and fifth measures and the syllables “Hap – py birth – day dear…”