John Lennon – How to Play Happy Xmas on Guitar

richardsguitarstudio on November 11, 2015


The Holidays are approaching! Here’s how to play Happy Xmas on guitar by John Lennon! Easy guitar chords!

I really like this song because it hits a few great guitar topics, while at the same is a holiday song that is relevant to the season. John Lennon makes great use of suspensions (sus2 and sus4 chords), which gets more mileage out of a chord progression with minimal chords. For example, he can make an A chord interesting for a long period of time by not just strumming the A chord over and over – he varies the sound by using suspensions in an interesting way.

What is a suspension? All chords are make up of 3 notes – 1-3-5 (Root-3rd-5th). A suspension is when the 3rd of the chord is replaced by the 2nd (sus2) or the 4th (sus4), so the chord tones would be 1-2-5 or 1-4-5 respectively. So, a suspended chord is neither Major nor minor, since it doesn’t have a 3rd to qualify it as Major or minor.

In contrast, an add2 or add4 chord is when all 3 notes are represented in the chord (1-3-5) and a 2nd or 4th is added within or on top of the chord. So, an add2 chord would be 1-2-3-5, and an add4 chord would be 1-3-4-5. Each of those offer some colorful dissonance to the sound to spice things up a bit.

Here are some tips:

  1. Count out the rhythm to learn the strumming pattern.Use rhythm counting to help you internalize the strumming pattern. Once you have the groove down, you won’t need to count it out anymore – just think of it like a learning device.
  2. Try the additional, stretched-out chords in the extra staffs provided on the tabs. It’s good to challenge yourself – take the extra time to learn the chords that stretch. You’ll add a few new ones to your chord library!
  3. Have fun. Use your guitar skills to entertain your family and friends at parties this year. Who knows, maybe everyone will start singing along with you!

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