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“A piece of garbage” – That was what John Lennon thought of the song during his interview with Playboy in 1980.

I love you John, but I may have to disagree with you there. Musically, its great! Happy, upbeat and danceable song.

Plus of course, it has a very distinct and memorable guitar and bass riffs! And that is what we are going to learn in this article. This is actually one of my favorite song in their White Album… album

Also quoting Paul McCartney about the song – We changed basically the same riff of Lucille and Pretty Woman into Birthday– do-do do-do do-do do-do…’You say it’s your birthday.'”

How to Play The Beatles’ Birthday

Birthday is a I-IV-V chord progression that uses the Pentatonic/Blues scale for the riff.

Here’s is the A major part of the Riff.

How to play “Birthday”

A major chord

This can be played in the positions as shown above or you can play it on the fifth position in the fret board. You may want to check out the video below for more details.


e major



d major chord



Strumming Pattern for Birthday

Since the notes for Birthday are mostly 8th notes, for each pair its a Down-Up.

You can watch the video to get a better idea of the proper strumming or rhythm pattern.

Acoustic Version of Birthday Tutorial

About Riff (165 Articles)
Riff Richard is an IT person, a husband, a dad, a couch potato and a passionate guitar player

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