Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Happy Birthday

As a banjo player, increase your odds of being invited to birthday parties by learning this song! It’s in a singable key, too!


Oh no not the dreaded Happy Birthday Song, the one tune that is sure to invoke a flood of tears and tantrums. :scream::sob::scream::sob:

Well I guess you’ve had lot’s of requests to record this one @BanjoBen I just want to put it on record so the folks out there will know my name wasn’t on that list. At least I hope it wasn’t. It’s a bit like Marmite you either love it or you hate it and Boy do I hate that tune. :roll_eyes::persevere:

Having said that, there are some interesting left hand fingerings in this lesson. :sunglasses:

I like the song and I love playing it for people who are celebrating someone’s birthday.


Love your arrangement. Simple but tasteful. The Happy Birthday song will always be with us and every musician must be ready to pull this out. I can’t imagine the shame of someone telling me: “What? You can play that complicated melodic banjo tune, but can’t play Happy Birthday?”… I’d be wounded for life. Thanks so much for this Tab. You may well have saved me from public humiliation! :slight_smile:

I kept waiting for the part where B. Ben was going to say “…And this Mastertone Banjo is coming up for sale now exclusively for Gold Pick members only…” BTW: My birthday is coming up July 4th. Haha! :star_struck:


I am not absolutely sure, but I have heard that “Happy B’day” is covered by some sort of
legal constraint and one must always get permission to play or sing it. Otherwise, it’s
apparently possible to be sued for copywrite infringement. Just a thought…
My lawyer likes the arrangement, too…Ha!

It was recently released from copyright:


Great lesson. Mark Levine in the Jazz Theory Book p. 40 says that wonderful weird chord is a Maj7#4 chord, which he calls a Lydian chord. He says, “Jazz musicians usually think of Lydian chords as being very modern, but George Gershwin used a Lydian chord as the first chord in the bridge of “Someone to Watch Over Me,” which was written in 1926. And the chord in the sixth bar of “Happy Birthday” (written in 1893) is a Lydian chord.”


Hey, welcome to the forum Robert :slight_smile:


Love ur song

Can we get the tab for ur longer Scruggs ending?


Hi Susan

A warm welcome to @BanjoBen 's Forum I have just checked both versions of the TAB and they both have the long version of Shave and a Haircut. measures 9 - 12 as played by Ben on the lesson.

Do you have another ending in mind ?

No. He sounds so good on the recording :sunglasses:



Soon you’ll sound cool too :star_struck:

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Thanks for the encouragement. I’m having problems getting good sustain on my banjo. Any suggestions?


It could very easily be due to set up. Make sure and watch the banjo set up course I have with Steve Huber.

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