Essential Chord Diagrams for ‘Shiny Happy People’ Guitar Tutorial


“Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M. is an iconic song that has captivated audiences for decades with its upbeat and infectious melody. The track is a perfect example of the alternative rock sound that dominated the 1990s, and it’s still a favorite among guitarists and music enthusiasts today. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play this classic tune on the guitar, you’re in the right place! In this guitar lesson tutorial, we’ll break down the chords and strumming patterns that make “Shiny Happy People” such a joy to play.

Getting Started

Before we dive into the chords and strumming, make sure your guitar is in tune. You can use a tuner or an app to help you get your strings in perfect pitch. Once your guitar is ready, let’s go over the basic chords you’ll need to play the song:

  1. G Major (G)
  2. C Major (C)
  3. D Major (D)
  4. E Minor (Em)

These chords are relatively common and should be familiar to most guitarists. If you’re not already comfortable with them, spend some time practicing the finger positions and transitions between these chords.

Chord Progression

The chord progression for “Shiny Happy People” is quite straightforward and repeats throughout most of the song. Here’s the main progression you’ll need to know:

[Verse and Chorus] G – C – G – C G – C – G – C

That’s it! The entire song follows this pattern for both the verses and the choruses. It’s simple but effective, allowing the lyrics and melody to shine.

Strumming Pattern

To capture the essence of the song, let’s use a strumming pattern that’s both rhythmic and uplifting. Here’s a strumming pattern you can try:

Down, Down, Up, Up, Down, Up

Repeat this strumming pattern for each chord in the progression. Make sure to keep it light and bouncy to match the song’s cheerful vibe. Listen to the original track to get a sense of the rhythm and feel of the strumming.

Putting It All Together

Now that you know the chords and strumming pattern, it’s time to put everything together. Start by playing the G chord and strumming along with the pattern. Then, transition to the C chord and continue the strumming. Repeat this for the entire progression, both in the verses and the choruses.

As you become more comfortable with the chord changes and strumming, try to sing along with the lyrics. “Shiny happy people holding hands” – the words and the music blend beautifully to create a sense of joy and togetherness.

Bridge Section

There is a bridge section in the song that introduces a slight variation in the chord progression. Here’s how it goes:

D – Em – D – Em D – Em – C – C

The strumming pattern remains the same. After the bridge, you’ll return to the familiar G – C progression for the remaining choruses and end the song on a G chord.

Practice Tips

  1. Take it slow: Start at a comfortable tempo and gradually increase your speed as you get more proficient at switching between chords and strumming.
  2. Listen to the original: Pay close attention to the song’s dynamics and how the chords fit with the lyrics. It will help you capture the song’s spirit.
  3. Sing along: Singing while playing will help you internalize the rhythm and structure of the song.

Shiny Happy People Guitar Chord Chart

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Essential Chord Diagrams for 'Shiny Happy People' Guitar Tutorial


shiny happy people guitar chord


“Shiny Happy People” is a timeless classic that’s perfect for guitarists of all levels. With its simple chord progression and catchy strumming pattern, it’s an excellent song to add to your repertoire. So grab your guitar, spread some positivity, and start strumming those shiny happy chords. Happy playing!

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