How to Learn the Strings of a Guitar
Many new guitarists often forget to actually learn the names of the strings. Sometimes they find it too hard and skip it, other times they just can’t be bothered. Many are just beginners who don’t know where to start. But knowing the names of the strings is an essential skill for all guitarists.
1-Know that the thinnest string is considered the 1st string and the top the 6th. This is often the hardest part to remember. But the bottom string is the first string, not the top one. The bottom string is always the thinnest. Again, this might not feel intuitive, but it is easy to get used to. The bottom string the 1st string — and it is an E.
- You can learn the strings up or down — but you need to remember which string is which number to help read guitar tabs and talk about notes.
- “Heavy” strings are thicker, often wound with a different type of metal, while lighter strings are thinner.
2-Look at and memorize the strings. If you’re a visual learner, you can quickly memorize the following chart. The top of it, the line closest to this paragraph, is for the 6th string, the heaviest. A lowercase “e” is used for the first string to differentiate it from the thicker E on the sixth string.
- Sixth: E
- Fifth: A
- Fourth: D
- Third: G
- Second: B
- First: e
3-Remember the acronym for the strings, starting from the top down.The acronym for this way is “Eddie Ate Dynamite, Goodbye Eddie”. If it helps, you can try to make up your own acronym or find some others on the internet:
- The thickest string is the E string. Remember this as “Eddie”.
- The next string is the A string. Remember this as “Ate”.
- The next string is the D string. Remember this as “Dynamite”.
- The next string is the G string. Remember this as “Good”.
- The next string is the B string. Remember this as “Bye”.
- The thinnest string is another E string. Remember this as “Eddie”.
4-Teach someone else the strings to ensure that you remember them well. The best way to know you know something is to teach it to others. Teach your mum, teach your sister, even teach a guitarist. They can help you if you get it wrong. If you don’t want to teach anyone, post a post-it note on your wardrobe with the string names on it, reviewing every day.
- Play each string, then name the note. You can make this little test harder by having a friend play the string while you have to get the right answer.
- Learning the rest of the notes as well is key to moving forward as a guitarist.
5-Learn the strings backwards to move fluidly through the strings. The acronym for this way is “Easter Bunny Gets Drunk At Easter” or “Every Body Gets Drunk At Easter”. Inventing your own acronym can help too:
- The thinnest string is the E string. Remember this as “Every” or “Easter”.
- The next string is the B string. Remember this as “Body” or “Bunny”.
- The next string is the G string. Remember this as “Gets”.
- The next string is the D string. Remember this as “Drunk”.
- The next string is the A string. Remember this as “At”.
- The thickest string is another E string. Remember this as “Easter”.
Practice every day to get the skills down.
This is for standard tuning, which is where all guitars are set originally. However, you should know that other tunings exist, which will change the notes.