Articles, Blog

Pharrell Williams – Happy – How to Play on guitar – Guitar Lesson – Tutorial

November 5, 2019

Hey, this is Tim Pierce You guys near the beginning I’m gonna show you a simple strum on this song, and then for you more for you more advanced players I’m sure the John Mayer style kind of R&B soul lick The kind of stuff I do in sessions all the time. If you click the link below there’s a more comprehensive beginner strum video, and some other private videos… Some videos on soloing. Thanks so much for your support, for
your comments. Let’s get started… Hey, the first part of this video is for
people near the beginning, and it’s just a simple strum of this song. We’re doing it in the key of F, and we’re playing it as if we’re in the
key of E – everything’s open, but we use a capo on the first fret, and
just make sure its firm enough to mash down the strings, and you get a nice open sound like that,
if you don’t own a capo you can actually do this song a
half step down everything applies just pretend that the
nut is your capo it just won’t be in the exact key of the song. The nice thing about the capo is you’re able to play along with the
actual song because it’s in the key of F. So we’re gonna strike… We’re gonna form an E chord, which is actually an F chord
because this is an F note when we have the capo on the first fret, and we form that as
you probably know index finger third-string, second fret
third finger fourth-string third fret and second
finger fifth string third fret… Finger that… form that
chord and strike it once. And then we do a
percussion thing with our right hand and it’s pretty interesting day. Once
again as with most strumming, the hand just keeps moving like this and
we make choices of when to grab air and went to grab the actual sound of the
strings and this is no exception. So instead
of going we’re gonna leave one stroke out. So I’m gonna go really slow. And the way that works is instead of going… We’re leaving one
down stroke out really slowly And then we do this other phrase were we grab the E chord again, and we hit it twice. and then we go to the A chord same position, and I think I’ll use my third finger to bar across to grab it because you see the third finger is
already sitting right there on that note and we can keep an anchor going… right there on the fourth-string third fret I would just lay down that third finger
in a bar might hurt a little bit if you’re …not too advanced. And you want to get all 3 of these strings to sound – straight across. so it’s the third fret and it’s a second,
third and fourth string. This high E string… if you can make it
ring – fine… if not just let it mute itself with the flesh of this finger. So, strike the E twice… Strike the F twice 🙂 Cause we’re… we’re kind of tricking ourselves – we’re
we’re pretending we’re – playing E and A but we’re really playing F and Bb. You don’t have to remember that right now. So two strikes on the F chord One strike on the Bb chord and then we move this same chord up two
frets and we grab with our index finger because we moved up two frets on the 2nd
3rd and 4th string up to the fifth fret we have to grab with our index finger, the low note and that’s now string 5 for three. We grab that chord hit it twice and walk back down and hit that chord again. So, this series… and I keep my hand moving like a clock
up and down see that time I got a couple funny
little overtones that weren’t so desirable Let’s try that again. So if you can work that up to speed you end up with… I’ll try it again in a kind of medium speed… and that’s the verse. Now, the key to getting the strum right in the verse is there’s a couple of crucial kinda
up strokes So what I’m doing is striking the guitar I’m grabbing air you know it’s… it’s a So I’m going… So this is a way to learn a nice strum pattern, so watch which strokes hit the guitar and which
strokes just fly through the air… So my hand is moving constantly, my hand doesn’t stop doing this but I’m choosing when to strike the
guitar down down down down up up up down down and there’s a space between a lot of these
down space down space down space down space up up… something like that so it’s kinda some down strokes with spaces in between… and then you switch to up strokes with spaces in between Let’s try it one more time… So good way to try and get it is to go to count ’em 1 2 3 4 up up up 5 6 It’s a good way Up to speed so just keep this going and make your choices 1 2 3 4 Gotta change chords 1 2 3 4 up up up 5 6 So now we learn the chorus and it has a
very similar strum to it. The chords are very, very simple. Take your third finger fourth fret, fifth string. Take your second
finger third fret fourth string play this nice beautiful open major seven
chord Then you’re gonna switch these fingers
around to get the next chord like this so it’s a bit of a
switch So you go from here and then you plant your second finger fifth string, third fret and your third
finger third string, third fret… so, both on the same fret You go from here and then you stay here again and then you play the E chord that we
just learned, which is actually an F chord! ’cause we’re in the key of F. But, it’s the E shape – the open E shape So, I’ll strum really slowly go real slow and just check out what I’m
striking and what I’m not striking and the cool thing about the left hand
is you can actually buy some time by cheating a little bit and leaving a
space in between we just strike the guitar open
like that. Check it out… I’m going… and that gives me time to switch chords The true and proper way to do it that the
great guitar players do and I’m… I’m still working on this You see there was no gap? But, you can leave a gap if you’re at the beginning and it’s easier for you It’s gives you a little bit of a chance to change chords Get up to speed One more time really slow So here’s this John Mayer style rhythm
part that I’m playing. To me it’s a Jimi Hendrix part ’cause that’s the era that I come from but a lot of you guys might recognize it as
more John Mayer I’m on the thirteenth fret, I’m sliding up
with my third finger on the top two strings. And then I slide down to the eleventh fret… we’re dancing above and below the 12th
fret as you can see and I strike it once Slide it down 2 frets and come back up And then I go to the next two strings, a little
different position. Index finger tenth fret third-string third finger, eleventh fret, second string. And, I slide that up… Two frets also… so the actual destination is here with
the index finger on the 12th fret and the third finger on the 13th fret, but we start two frets lower So slowly And you’re depending on your left hand to
sustain everything. So, you need to press down hard enough that all the notes ring but not so hard that you will cramp your
finger. And we’re kinda in the key of F minor right now And, in the second we’re gonna switch to F Major which is the cool thing about this chord change and this part And I’m gonna jump down the octave
with my index finger I’m gonna go from fret 8 to fret 10 and, repeat this first kinda thing an octave lower and what that is is Index finger mashed across strings 4 and 5 – the 8th fret, and then we drag it up 2 frets to the 10th fret So, here’s everything so far So, you’re mimicking the first
phrase down here on these strings and you wanna try and not make any… you
want to have none of the other strings ringing down here. It’s a little harder So, all that was kind of in the key of F minor were planted right here, and we’re gonna
go into the key of F Major because that’s where the chord lands. The great thing about this progression is that it’s in a minor key and then in a major key and that’s what makes it interesting So, that’s the next phrase we’re gonna do So, we’ve slid up here. Our index finger is in the exactly right place So, the start of this is fret 10 – strings 4 and 5 And, we just hammer on with our 3rd finger up 2 frets Same strings – strings 4 and 5 but up to the 12th fret And, then we do this whole thing just 2 strings over… so, that’s pretty easy… And, the hard thing is just to get 2
strings only because we’re mashing down we want to try to only get the two
strings we’re aiming for Which are strings 4 and 5… and then strings 3 and 4 Then we jump back start again there and finish out the phrase that way. so, the last piece of this phrase my hand is in the same position we use
the third finger on the 4th and 5th strings – 12th fret. Then we jump over were we already were 10th fret – strings 3 and 4 and then 3rd finger up two frets back over to here Kind of a seesaw thing So the whole phrase and the entire series So here I hit a string I didn’t want to hit it’s hard to do Then I end the phrase with this Which is kind of a Blues Pentatonic thing. It toughens up the… This is kinda a sweet thing so this adds some toughness to the end of it what this is is index finger on the 10th
fret fourth string. Hammer on four frets up then jump over to the next string – 10th fret, 3rd string And then toggle over to the 4th string again and then up here with the 3rd finger on the 13th fret, 3rd string strike it and pull down back to our kind of anchor note which is the F note – 10th fret, 3rd string. So that phrase is… And that adds a little bit of blues kind of toughness to the end of this very sweet series I’ll do the whole thing And you want to do it in tempo so I’m gonna do it kind of slow but in tempo – 3 4 And then I’m off to the races with
the solo but I think what I did which you can try
too is I was using these two fingers which gives it a kind of a warm sound So, try experimenting with that if you want.
I just picked everything but you can use these two fingers to pull it You probably heard the wife walked
in, I had to take a break, now let’s get back to it I was explaining how the the second and
third finger the right hand can be used to get kinda a mellow tone instead of the pick and what I do in a situation like this
is I kinda cup the pick in my index finger so I can kind of go back and forth from
the pick to the fingers players have lots of different ways of
doing it sometimes they put it between fingers you’ll see lots of
different ways of holding on the pick when you transfer
to the the fingers But, it’s nice. It’s kind of a jazzy tone So have fun with it


  • Reply Neil Gardiner September 28, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Excellent – and helpful!

  • Reply Richard Barrell September 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for that Tim. With the simple strum I'll be a hero with my kids, and the advanced lick is for me to play with… 😉

  • Reply Produce Like A Pro September 28, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Great lesson @Tim Pierce! Beautiful playing as ever!

  • Reply Eric Beil September 28, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Rhythm is so under taught/ underemphasized, this is the real deal delivered in straight forward manner. Thanks for bringing out the nuance, groovy!

  • Reply kev corr September 28, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Just great as always ,@shutup & play’s comment ,I had to have another look ,haha ,classic ,I'd be grinning if I could play that X6 slower !

  • Reply Edison Costa September 28, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Your classes are helping me a lot. Thanks very much!!!!

  • Reply David Pardon September 29, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Nice one as always Tim , crisp & bright solo

  • Reply Benawile September 29, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for sharing your talents Tim. Great to tune into you videos.

  • Reply The Retro Rock Club Band September 29, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Just! Fantastic!

  • Reply kim erswell September 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm


  • Reply Jose Sosa September 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Always love your videos, I hope to win the tim pierce overdrive cause I'm sure it has your mojo lol please pick me so I could play like you pretty please

  • Reply Daniel Coakley September 29, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    mine = BLOWN ! great job again tim!

  • Reply John Carey September 30, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Nice solo Tim.  I learn a lot analyzing your solos.

  • Reply Chris Colonna September 30, 2014 at 2:10 am


  • Reply NormanJohannesSeeger September 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Tim, fantastic video. I very much like the precision with which you play and I am looking forward to all the videos to come in the future. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

  • Reply tim taylor September 30, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Awesome, you should have millions of subscribers

  • Reply Chuck Cleaver October 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Your Hendrix stuff is awesome, I never believed in reincarnation but I don't know now.

  • Reply andretoyo October 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Thanx Tim for great lessons and always inspiring us to be better players. Cheers.

  • Reply David Case October 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Great lesson Tim, keep em coming!

  • Reply tenscjed326 October 2, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Awesome 6th's, double stops and runs, Tim!

  • Reply mickpanacea October 3, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Killer lead licks on this track Tim.  Keep up the great work.  How about some Rory Gallagher tracks for us lucky ones who know and the new happy ones who will.

  • Reply Timothy Ring October 3, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Sweet! So awesome the way you transcribed it. Love it.

  • Reply Winston Mcboogie October 4, 2014 at 3:51 am

    my new favorite guitarist and you generously share your technique and guitar philosophy.

  • Reply Rick Cahill October 5, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    another great lesson!

  • Reply Monte Sanborn October 5, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    very nice! I am a better player because of you. thx so much,

  • Reply StephOf62 October 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Cool song, and an awesome guitar player… Thanks for your cheerfulness, it's a pleasure to watch your videos…
    A great thanks from France..

  • Reply Lysdexia October 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Superb lesson – even I managed it. Thank you!

  • Reply moshipackfun October 7, 2014 at 2:10 am

    I can really follow along on your tutorials thank you so much

  • Reply Jump Forty Four October 7, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    tim   you  are  agreat  guitar  player  

  • Reply Mathias Porcherot October 8, 2014 at 9:57 am

    As usual : Almost perfect….

  • Reply 63himself October 8, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Wonderful teaching … fabulous clarity.  Thank you for sharing.  😀

  • Reply tWreCK51 October 10, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Awesome as always!

  • Reply papy bondage October 10, 2014 at 11:54 am

    nice play !

  • Reply Peter Kriger October 11, 2014 at 12:22 am

    What a great solo. I like the free flowing feel. It looks like you're really happy playing it too. I'm subscribing because I want to learn more from you. Please keep these top notch videos coming Tim!

  • Reply Jim Grewe October 11, 2014 at 12:44 am

    nice job!

  • Reply Tim Pierce Guitar October 11, 2014 at 5:06 am

    I am happy to announce the winner of my Tim Pierce Signature Overdrive – @Robbie Stewart! and as a surprise we also gave away a MXR Zakk Wylde Berserker Overdrive to another winner @blacksummerrain – congratulations!

    I am about to launch another video with another contest. Please make sure you are signed up to the newsletter so you get all the info –

    Thanks again to everyone who participated and good luck in the next one 🙂


  • Reply Craig M October 13, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Very Juicey 🙂

  • Reply Alex Padilla October 15, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Hey Tim, I'm loving your videos. If you could do a lesson on the awesome double stop rake style of John Mayer that would be amazing. Love your playing Tim!

  • Reply Thaddeus Bruno October 23, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Tim you are awesome! Rock on!

  • Reply Wes Normant October 29, 2014 at 1:37 am

    You are really a master at the craft! I had to learn a lot before I attempted the Hey Joe vid , but amazed myself at how good I sound  with all your tips. Thanks Tim and keep up the great work.Not many of us could learn from a pro as yourself in the past.Great!

  • Reply Bob McElroy October 29, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    As a guitarist and the father of two young girls, this is awesome on a few different levels. I will be trying the groove from your 'blues over changes' on them first, but this will be my encore.

  • Reply Franck so Franck October 30, 2014 at 3:33 am

    If you're not capable to moving three finger to pass from E to A, if you think we do A with a bare chord of the ring finger, and if when you take a solo you do not use your little finger, you need guitar lessons with a real professor ! I said !

  • Reply martin evans November 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm


  • Reply Lee December 5, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Top, Top Pro thanks!!

  • Reply Mike V December 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I believe the title of this video is wrong? 
    Pharrell Williams – Happy – How to Play on guitar – Guitar Lesson – Tutorial 

  • Reply xyz December 11, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    You're a blessing, sir !
    I've already seen most of your videos on youtube, always mind blowing, tasteful and so humble.
    I didn't know you before last month and now you are among my favorite guitar players.

    Waiting (impatiently) for more of your videos sir, many thanks to you !

  • Reply Hugh Rogers December 15, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Cool, thanks for doing any easy version of this, I'll have to try it out on my kids. Beautiful Larivee too.

  • Reply Jim McDougall December 15, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Why is your bridge separated, broken ? between the 2nd & 3rd strings ?
    for proper Tuning?
    Do I need to take a hacksaw to mine ?

  • Reply Jim McDougall December 17, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Hi Tim Love your playing & lessons Thanx
    You shared some Blues lessons your teacher taught you
    I believe there were 8 on a couple of videos
    I can't find them again
    Could you please post a link to there location or the videos name
    Thanx & God Bless  Jim

  • Reply Bansky 33 December 26, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Gracias …you are a genius!!!

  • Reply Nishant Kumar December 27, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Sir which guitar strings you use?….. Because it's sound great!!!!!

  • Reply Chris P January 9, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Now this is a version of happy I could listen to for hours

  • Reply Guitar God Secrets January 14, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Nice mix of classics and new stuff on your channel. I should try the same on my videos as well 😀

  • Reply Tom Loux March 9, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Some amazing soloing Tim !
    I would love to have you as my teacher…
    Got to love the john mayer style r&b ! 

    Greetings from belgium.

  • Reply Yazan Borhan April 7, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Amazing as usual! Shame that this solo isn't in the actual song!

  • Reply edward appeldoorn April 11, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Nice lesson, you can teach in a fast comprehensive way, thx

  • Reply steven ruby April 22, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    brilliant tut tom thanks for the lesson don't suppose you know the solo of top gun not found a good one yet ????

  • Reply Linus Kuehne April 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    This version is just crazy awesome!

  • Reply Linus Kuehne April 29, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    By far the best 'Happy' version I've ever heard! 🙂

  • Reply Derek Jennings May 24, 2015 at 5:42 am

    Great stuff Tim, thanks as always. Love how the wife walked in, lol. Please keep the lessons coming, you are a great teacher for all levels.

  • Reply Bansky 33 July 13, 2015 at 9:58 am

    thanks! you are the best teacher tha i ever had! thanks from Colombia!

  • Reply Street Music UK July 18, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    This guy can play. wow.

  • Reply Joshua Osborne July 23, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    its good

  • Reply Del Puckett - Guitar July 26, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Tim – you look like the Man in the UP cartoon !!  🙂

  • Reply Anomalia93PL August 13, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Tab the solo. This one kicks butt! 😀

  • Reply Ed Chambley August 18, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Fun Stuff

  • Reply Ole Maibach September 28, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Hey Tim, how about a single g# note between the F and the Bb chord in the verse of this song ?

  • Reply BloodJob October 8, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Great lesson. Your solo impro is awesome. Too bad there's nothing about it. I LOVED IT, greaaaaaaat

  • Reply Ken Neth January 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    I would love to get a full version of him playing this song!

  • Reply Christopher Humphrey January 14, 2016 at 12:53 am

    You the man…..

  • Reply Rub Ens March 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    That's me in 60 years 🙂

  • Reply Wayne Neylan May 15, 2016 at 8:01 am

    I've noticed you never ever wear cans Tim, why is this, please tell ???

  • Reply Sam Burnell July 16, 2016 at 8:14 am

    God, that is so cool! Thank you!

  • Reply Finn Bjerke July 24, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Very nice, Isnt there a switch from E to Eminor at the beginning of ther riff?

  • Reply Shamshad Ali September 9, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    you are good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply topper jack November 2, 2016 at 4:11 am

    My latest hero of Youtube and, more importantly, rock-n-roll session men!  God bless you!

  • Reply David Brinkhurst March 29, 2017 at 11:50 am

    amazing , thanks Tim 😉

  • Reply Tony Charmz April 6, 2017 at 12:20 am

    WOW Awesome dude thanks

  • Reply Tony Charmz April 6, 2017 at 12:23 am

    can you teach me how to play int that a kick in the head i would really like that

  • Reply Ben McBride April 25, 2017 at 4:47 am

    You might just be the best guitarist with most humble/like able character. Love all your videos and guitar tones!

  • Reply Den's 911 April 26, 2017 at 6:25 am

    perfect man ! thanks

  • Reply ksdtzfir July 15, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    You got it, dude.

  • Reply Mike Mendillo January 4, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Like a Boss Tim,,,,, 🙂

  • Reply TommyTwobats January 9, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    It sounds like a straight up Walking on Sunshine. You gotta find a way to get those flattened notes in there somehow so it gets those piano notes from the original

  • Reply Alan X January 29, 2018 at 4:01 am

    This guy is an amazing player, and a great person thanks Tim.

  • Reply Graham Stewart February 5, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Isn’t there meant to be a G between the E and A?

  • Reply Me February 27, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Analysing this little solo has helped me hugely in moving quickly down the neck – playing upwards is relatively easy, but getting backwards has always felt difficult to me. Tim's technique of sliding down to notes you might otherwise hammer-on higher up not only sounds good, but feels much more accurate than jumping around too fast.

  • Reply Brian Keady June 11, 2018 at 1:25 am

    I wish Tim was my cool neighbor who invited me over all the time.

  • Reply Valerio Rizzotti June 14, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Astonishing as usual! May I ask you what strings gauge do you use on acoustic guitar?

  • Reply Pekka Kämäri August 11, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Great playing for sure, but i think he seems little self satisfied.

  • Reply Alan X August 14, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Just love to watch Tim playing, he’s a master, and a nice guy. Thanks once again.

  • Reply Robert Brown August 29, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Just great. Thank you.

  • Reply Jonathan Evans September 24, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    Tastiest playing in the known universe, and the best grin to go along with it.

  • Reply Guy Douglas January 1, 2019 at 11:06 am

    I notice you incline the capo – is that to get correct string pitch at 1st fret? Love watching your playing and your gear collection. I always get something new from you. Keep up the good work bud. From DownUnder

  • Reply Jerry PEAL January 13, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Really enjoying these videos always seem to take away something useful so thanks much appreciate!

  • Reply pinpinipnip February 19, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    “it’s the kind of stuff I do in sessions all the time” is going to be my new catchphrase.

  • Reply freddybeer March 21, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    WOW! Just WOW! What a guitarist! Doesn't even look like he's trying!

  • Reply Brett Wood May 6, 2019 at 1:38 am

    Hi Tim, excellent work fella. Really enjoy your tones, delivery and content. Well done. Bit of an odd query from a fellow musician/teacher, (and also much less decorated session guy, but recording muso none the less)
    Q-how do you go about using copy written material in your lesson packages and online in general? Is there a blanket fee annually to ascap or is it much more complex?

  • Reply Mark Dacey May 26, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Hi Tim _ Any chance of the tab of the solo?

  • Reply Stingray Bdub October 16, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    For anyone that assumes Tim is just a kind YouTuber giving basic lessons, he's one of the most prolific, sought after and used sessionist playing with artist's such Michael Jackson, crowded house, The googoo dolls (the solo in Iris) and many more. So he is the cream of the crop as far as world class players go. Not to mention, super humble and such a great guy to watch and learn from.

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