Happy Birthday Guitar Chords (How To Play Happy Birthday)

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Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

Do you want to learn how to play the Happy Birthday song on the guitar?

You’ve come to the right place!

We’ll show you easy happy birthday guitar chords that are easy to memorize.

So the next time you’re at someone’s birthday party, make sure you have a guitar by your side. 

How To Play Happy Birthday On Guitar 

Playing happy birthday on guitar requires only four simple chords.

Therefore, you can learn the song rather quickly, even if you’re a beginner.

Additionally, guitar chords for Happy Birthday are quite common, so if you’re taking guitar lessons, you’ve probably encountered them already.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the four Happy Birthday chords:

G, D, D7, C.

As you can see, these guitar chords are popular and easy to play.

And for the Happy Birthday song, they are played in this order:

G     D    D7   G

C     G    D7   G

And that’s it! 

The only thing that is usually challenging for first-time beginners is that last chord switch (D7-G). But with enough practice, that shouldn’t be a problem, especially if you practice at reduced speed first.

Generally, the Happy Birthday song is in ¾ time. That means that each beat requires a downstroke, as there are three beats to each measure.

For starters, you can stick to the simplest strumming pattern, and as you progress, you can add more complexity and nuance to your playing.

But for now, you can do the easy strumming pattern: down, down-up, down-up.

Learning Happy Birthday Guitar Chords 

If you’re a guitar beginner, it’s good to take it step-by-step, even if you’re trying to learn a simple song like ‘Happy Birthday.’

The thing is, even simple songs require good playing technique. 

Maybe you don’t need to know all the guitar tricks to play it, but you can’t simply jump into it either.

Plus, with the right approach, even the Happy Birthday song can sound amazing.

That being said, let’s break down all the necessary chords.

The first chord you need to have in your repertoire is the G chord.

G chord for happy birthday.

Playing the G chord goes like this:

  • First finger on the 2nd fret, A string
  • Second finger on the 3rd fret, low-E string
  • Third finger on the 3rd fret, high-e string.

As you can see, you need to leave the second, third and fourth strings open.

It’s one of the most common ways to play the G chord.

Furthermore, you need to master the D chord.

D chord for happy birthday song.

Playing the D chord on guitar looks like this:

  • First finger on the 2nd fret, third string
  • Second finger on the 2nd fret, first string
  • Third finger on the 3rd fret, second string 

To do this, you need to leave the fourth string open.

And you need to strum the bottom four strings.

The next chord you need to know is D7.

D7 chord chart.

It goes like this:

  • First finger on the 1st fret, second string
  • Second finger on the 2nd fret, third string
  • Third finger on the 2nd fret, first string

Now, leave the fourth string open and play the bottom four strings. 

To play the D7 chord this way, fifth and sixth strings should be silent.

And the fourth chord of the Happy Birthday song is the C chord.

C chord chart.

To play it, you need to do this:

  • First finger on the 1st fret, second string
  • Second finger on the 2nd fret, fourth string
  • Third finger on the 3rd fret, fifth string

Now, leave the first and third strings open.

The C chord is usually a bit challenging for beginners, but with enough practice, it’s nothing you can’t master.

After all, practicing these chords will help you improve your guitar skills and allow you to play many other beginner-friendly songs.

And it shouldn’t take long before you can play these guitar chords effortlessly.

You just need to take it slowly and focus on the chords, strumming, and chord switches. 

Happy Birthday Guitar Chords – Final Thoughts 

To play the Happy Birthday song on guitar, you just need to know four simple chords: G, D, D7, and C.

Today we showed you one of the easiest and the most common ways to do it.

And once you feel comfortable with it, you can try out different patterns and add more style to your performance.

Remember – even the simplest Happy Birthday song can sound cool on guitar!

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Basic Guitar Chords