Happy Birthday Ukulele Chords (+ Tab)

One of the most widely known songs in the Western world, every player worth his or her salt should probably know how to play Happy Birthday on ukulele.

Included below are two keys so you can strum the one that fits your voice the best. There’s also an ukulele tab that shows how to pick the melody of Happy Birthday. Both are pretty simple, but the picking in the key of F is probably easier.

4.1
(44)

Key of C:

      C           G7
Happy Birthday to you!
                  C
Happy Birthday to you!
                     F
Happy Birthday dear [PERSON]!
      C        G7 C
Happy Birthday to you!

Picking:
A |--------|--------3--|--2--------------------|
E |--3--3--|--5--3-----|-----------------3--3--|
C |--------|-----------|-----------------------|
G |--------|-----------|-----------------------|

A |--------5--|--3-------------------|--10--7-----|
E |--5--3-----|----------------3--3--|---------8--|
C |-----------|----------------------|------------|
G |-----------|----------------------|------------|

A |-----------------8--8--|--7--3--5--|--3-------||
E |--7--5-----------------|-----------|----------||
C |-----------------------|-----------|----------||
G |-----------------------|-----------|----------||

Key of F:

      F           C7
Happy Birthday to you!
                  F
Happy Birthday to you!
                     Bb
Happy Birthday dear [PERSON]!
      F        C7 F
Happy Birthday to you!

Picking:
A |--------|-----------|-----------------------|
E |--------|--------1--|--0--------------------|
C |--0--0--|--2--0-----|-----------------0--0--|
G |--------|-----------|-----------------------|

A |-----------|----------------------|--3--0-----|
E |--------3--|--1-------------------|--------1--|
C |--2--0-----|----------------0--0--|-----------|
G |-----------|----------------------|-----------|

A |-----------------1--1--|--0--------|----------||
E |--0--------------------|-----1--3--|--1-------||
C |-----2-----------------|-----------|----------||
G |-----------------------|-----------|----------||

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Free PDF Download

The weirdest thing about this song is that it’s actually in 3/4 time so be sure to count one beat short of the normal four! 1…2…3…1…2…3…

To keep the beat going steady in this odd time signature, it can be helpful to substitute a strum for a pick on the first beat. So instead of strumming your ukulele on every beat, you would play “pluck, strum, strum.” This really brings across that traditional waltz feel.

It might sound a little goofy on a such a rambunctious, plodding tune like Happy Birthday, but it will force you to get used to dropping one beat from the standard 4/4.

If you’re holding the right chord it doesn’t matter which note you pluck! Because each string is harmonized by the chord, any note you strike will work. I like a lower note to emphasize the “low, high, high” pick, strum, strum pattern.

Click the “PDF Download” link for a PDF version of the melody in the key of F. This is also the best bet for people more comfortable with standard notation “sheet music.”

Brad Bordessa
brad bordessa holding ukulele white aloha shirt

I’m an ukulele artist from Honokaʻa, Hawaiʻi, where I run this site from an off-grid cabin in the jungle. I’ve taught workshops internationally, made Herb Ohta Jr. laugh until he cried, and once jammed with HAPA onstage in my boardshorts. More about me