Wheels on the Bus – Chords, Tabs and Sheet Music

wheels on the bus

The wheels on the bus is a very popular children’s song originally created in the United Kingdom and today very popular in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. This song is also pretty known in many other countries and there are even translations of it in German or French for example. Let’s learn in this free guitar lesson at first all about the origin and history of the nursery rhyme and then how to play it on guitar. There are different versions to play this song but we will start with an easy version that requires only one string of the 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 printables that you can use for your practicing or guitar lessons!

History and Origin of Wheels on the Bus

Originally, the song is based on the traditional British song Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. It’s not completely proven who was the person who wrote the song and especially when. However, often Verna Hills is referred as the author and it has been published in 1939 for the first time. The intention of the song was to keep kids amused while they ride the bus. So, in terms of nursery rhymes it’s still a pretty recent one compared to other ones like Brother John, Mary had a little Lamb or Baa Baa Black Sheep.

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

Tabs for Wheels on the Bus

For nearly any song there are very easy versions as well as pretty advanced fingerstyle arrangements. We want to focus on the simple arrangements. We will start with two fingerpicking versions and finally also a strumming version 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.

1. Level: Playing only on One Guitar String

guitar playing on 1 string

There are many songs that can actually be played on just one string! The song will sound pretty basic but you will recognize the melody immediately. Especially for young beginners this is a very good feeling of success if they are able to learn the melody quite quickly. For this first fingerpicking version we will use just one string of the guitar! In this way we have to focus only 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, 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 Wheels on the Bus on one string:

The Wheels on the Bus - 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 the song.

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 and this is actually much more common to play a melody on several string. We still keep it easy because we only play the melody now on the first three strings. However, this might be a bit challenging for beginners. But the big advantage is that we don’t need to move the left hand too much along the neck of the guitar.

Here are the tabs for playing the song on the first three strings:

The Wheels on the Bus - Guitar Tabs

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

Chords for Wheels on the Bus

Fingerpicking is a good exercise on the guitar and it’s beginner-friendly way to get familiar with the melody of a song. But you can also play the song with some easy chords and strum the strings. There are different ways to play The Wheels on the Bus by chords but let’s start with an easy version. This means we are using basic guitar chords and the key of C, which is also easy to sing for most of the people.

The chords that you need for The Wheels on the Bus are the chords C and G.

C Chord Guitar
G Chord Guitar

If you already know there two basic guitar chords and changing between both chords is not a big deal for you, you are good to go! If not, practice first the two chords individually and try to play the sequence C-G with slow and simple down strums.

As a beginner we should always start playing a new song slowly. For each chord change just do a simple down strum. In that way you have enough time for changing between the chords 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.

CThe wheels on the bus go
rGound and round,
round and round,
round and round.
CThe wheels on the bus go
round and round,
Gall around the tCown.


2. The wipers on the bus go
swish, swish, swish,
swish, swish, swish,
swish, swish, swish.
The wipers on the bus go
swish, swish, swish,
all around the town.

3. The driver on the bus goes
“Move on back”,
“Move on back”,
“Move on back”.
The driver on the bus goes
“Move on back”,
all around the town.

4. The people on the bus go
up and down,
up and down,
up and down.
The people on the bus go
up and down,
all around the town.


5. The horn on the bus goes
beep, beep, beep,
beep, beep, beep,
beep, beep, beep.
The horn on the bus goes
beep, beep, beep,
all around the town.

6. The baby on the bus goes
“whaa, whaa, whaa”,
“whaa, whaa, whaa”,
“whaa, whaa, whaa”.
The baby on the bus goes
‘whaa whaa whaa”,
all around the town.

7. The parents on the bus go
“shh, shh, shh”,
“shh, shh, shh”,
“shh, shh, shh”.
The parents on the bus go
‘shh, shh, shh’,
all around the town.

Music Sheet and Tabs for Wheels on the Bus

All the information about a music piece lies in the sheet music. It tells you everything about the pitches, rhythms and chords of a song. However, sheet music is not very beginner-friendly for young students because it requires some knowledge of music theory and learning in order to read it. And last but not least, sheet music looks rather complicated than beginner-friendly. That’s why guitar tabs or lyrics with chords are used for kids and also for all other beginners. But, it’s worth learning reading sheet music and if you know how to read them.

Here are the music notes for Wheels on the Bus:

The Wheels on the Bus - Guitar Sheet Music

Printables for Wheels on the Bus

You can download the lyrics with the chords, tabs and sheet music for the The Wheels on the Bus for free. Feel free to print them out and to use them during your lessons or while practicing.

The Wheels on the Bus - Guitar Free PDF Download

Other Readers also enjoyed these Songs

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Mary had a little Lamb

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Humpty Dumpty

All other nursery rhymes