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Fingerstyle Happy Birthday (Easy)

This is a song that does not need an introduction. I chose it specifically to teach fingerstyle guitar because it is a very recognizable tune and features a simple arrangement. Even though this is what I call a “skeleton arrangement” it also provides a very good foundation for more intricate arrangements. Let’s get started!

First Phrase-Getting Started With Fingerstyle

We’re going to start with a C chord formation on the left hand. We begin with what we call a pickup. For this pickup, we’re going to play the G open string twice, right before the very first downbeat. For beat 1 of the first bar, we’re going to move our middle finger to the third string second fret to play an A note. This note is played simultaneously with the bass of the C chord, with the ring finger on the third fret at the fifth string.   

Then remove the middle finger to play the open G string again. This is followed by the C note found on the second string (your index should be placed there from the beginning, as we’re holding a C chord). 

For the downbeat of the second bar, we’re going to place the ring finger on the sixth string third fret, lift our index finger to play the open B string simultaneously. We are now on a G chord formation.

Second Phrase- G Chord

The second phrase of this arrangement is on the G chord. It starts out with two sequential pinches of the open string. Then, hit the bass note of the chord together with your middle finger on the third string second fret (A note). This is followed by a pinch on the open G string and then on the open B string. We then place the pinky on the second string third fret and pinch (D note). 

This phrase ends with three notes played at the same time. To play them, go back to a C Major chord position, then hit the bass note (fifth string), along with the third and second string.

Third phrase-C Chord

For the third phrase of this arrangement we go back to a C chord formation. We then hit the open G string twice. This is followed by two notes at the same time. These are the bass note (fifth string) along with the pinky on the first string third fret (G note). 

This is followed by a pinch on the open first string (E note) and then the second string (where you should already have your index on the first fret, in that C chord position). 

We then move on to an F chord, but without actually doing a traditional F chord position. We just move our ring finger to the fourth string second fret and pich that along with the open B string. 

This is followed by an A note, which is done by placing your second finger on the third string second fret. 

Ending phrase of Happy Birthday Fingerstyle Solo

Just like all the other sections, the ending phrase starts with a pickup of two notes. However, here we do a pickup on the note F by placing the index finger on the first string first fret. 

We go back to that C chord formation again and pluck three notes at a time. Using your right hand, pluck the bass (fifth string) with your thumb, the second string with your index and the first string with your middle finger. Then we play the second string (where your index should be).

Finally, we move to a G formation to pluck three strings at once. Pinch the bass (sixth string), the third string open, and the second string with the pinky on the third fret (D note). We then end on the C chord by plucking the fifth string, third string and second string. We then repeat that end, starting with the pickup of the two F notes (index finger on the first string first fret).


Learning to play this arrangement of Happy Birthday easy fingerstyle solos for beginners will give you a good basis for playing other songs in chord solo format. The advantage here is that you know this melody and that the chords and overall arrangement is simple. 

Remember to take it slow and get each phrase right before moving along. Be sure to follow my Youtube channel for more guitar playing tips, easy songs to learn, and my live Q&A sessions each week! 

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