Baa Baa Black Sheep – Chords, Tabs and Sheet Music

baa baa black sheep kids song guitar

Baa Baa Black Sheep is an old traditional nursery rhyme but still very popular today. Especially the melody is very well-known because it’s also used for the songs Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the Alphabet Song. This is one of the reasons why Baa Baa Black Sheep is a very good song to learn and play on the guitar. If you know how to play one of these songs you can nearly play the other ones as well! Let’s learn in this free guitar lesson at first all about the origin and history of the song and then how to play it on guitar. There are a few different ways to play this song but we will start with a very easy version that requires only one string of your guitar! But don’t worry, we will also show you how to play the song with some basic guitar chords and offer you some free PDF workhseets that you can use for your practicing or lessons!

History and Origin of Baa Baa Black Sheep

The earliest version of the song dates back to 1732. The current version with the melody has been published in 1744. Unfortunately, the songwriter is unknown. Several attempts have been made to find out more about the history and the meaning of this rhyme. The song may refer to the slave trade in the southern United States in order to underline that the wool of black sheep could be easily used for black cloth without dyeing. However, there is no historical evidence for this version.

The nursery rhyme is sung with the French melody Ah! vous dirai-je, maman. Some other songs for kids use the same melody as well, such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or the Alphabet Song.

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easy guitar songs for kids
Make Playing Guitar more Fun!
Easy Song Sheets designed for Kids
easy guitar songs for kids

Tabs for Baa Baa Black Sheep

There are very easy versions of the song as well as pretty advanced fingerstyle arrangements. But we want to keep our focus on simple arrangements. But we will explore fingerpicking the strings and strumming with chords. All versions are worth learning and playing and guitar teachers may like it to start with the easiest version with the students and progress to more advanced renditions later on.

1. Level: Playing only on One Guitar String

guitar playing on 1 string

Many songs can be played on just one string! The song will sound pretty basic but you will recognize the melody immediately. For the first fingerpicking of Baa Baa Black Sheep we will use just one string of the guitar! This is actually a nice exercise for beginners since they only have to to focus on picking one string and moving only one finger of the left hand up and down on this string. At the same time beginners get a good idea of the different notes of the string. So, let’s push down the string with the index or middle finger of our left hand. Then, pluck the string with the thumb of your right hand.

Here are the tabs for Baa Baa Black Sheep on one string:

Baa Baa Black Sheep - Guitar Tabs One String

Below is a recording of how it should sound. You can play along and if it’s too fast, just slow it down.

You can actually play the same pattern on any other guitar string as well. Try for example the 6th string (low E string) to have a pretty low version of Baa Baa Black Sheep.

2. Level: Playing on several Guitar Strings

guitar 3 strings

The next level is to play the nursery rhyme on more than just one string. It’s actually much more common and efficient to play a melody on several string. The big advantage is that you don’t need to move your left hand too much along the neck of the guitar. Sure, you now have to use several fingers and pluck different strings, which might be a bit challenging for beginners but it’s worth practicing it!

Here are the tabs for playing the nursery rhyme on the first three strings:

Baa Baa Black Sheep - Guitar Tabs

Again, you can listen to the recording to check your playing and see how it should sound.

Chords for Baa Baa Black Sheep

Fingerpicking is a good exercise on the guitar and it’s beginner-friendly way to get familiar with the melody of a song. But if you want to sing and play at the same time then you should explore the song with guitar chords. You can find different ways to play this song by chords but we want to start with an easy version. This means we are using some basic guitar chords and the key of G, which is also easy to sing for most of the people.

The chords that you need for Baa Baa Black Sheep are the chords G, C and D.

G Chord Guitar
C Chord Guitar
D Chord Guitar

If you already master the G, C and D chord and know how to change between them it will be no big deal for to play the song! If not, practice first these three guitar chords individually and try to play the sequence G-C-D with simple down strums.

As a beginner we should always start playing a new song slowly. So, for each chord change we make just a simple down strum. This gives us enough time for changing between the new chords that we have just learned without worrying too much about any strumming pattern. Also, singing is much easier in the beginning if you just do one down strum on every chord change. Once you master it, you can apply a strumming pattern.

GBaa, baa, black sheep,
CHave you any Gwool?
CYes, sir, Gyes, sir,
DThree bags Gfull.
One for the Cmaster,
Gone for the Ddame,
And Gone for the Clittle boy
who Glives down the Dlane.

Sheet Music for Baa Baa Black Sheep

If you are not a beginner and you know how to play the guitar and understand music theory, then you probably know how to read sheet music as well! It provides you the most important of a musical piece, the pitches, rhythms and music notes. Even if you don’t know how to read sheet music or you want to teach it during your classes then easy nursery rhymes like Mary had a little Lamb are perfect exercise.

Baa Baa Black Sheep - Guitar Sheet Music

Free PDF Printables for Baa Baa Black Sheep

Feel free to download some worksheets (Chords, Tabs and Sheet Music) for free as PDF for practicing or for your guitar lesson!

Baa Baa Black Sheep - Guitar Free Download

Interested in instruments other than the piano? You can also find a free lesson on how to play Baa Baa Black Sheep on the piano.

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