You know that feeling when your teacher says…
Play the 5th fret of the A string.
And you look down at your guitar like…
Uhhh, they all look like they could be an A string… But only one is correct, so… I’ll go with this one!
But instead, you’ve just played the 5th fret of the B string. Then all hell breaks loose.
Your teacher begins to freak out, and starts running round in circles.
He starts chanting an ancient Aztec curse in an attempt to remove you from his presence as fast as possible, but you remain there. He cries in despair, and has to agonizingly live through the worst nightmare imaginable.
Hey, it’s a teacher thing.
So today I’ll go over 5 easy ways to remember the 6 guitar string names so that you can prevent putting a teacher through that ever again.
What Actually Are the String Names?
If we want to learn the string names, it makes sense to know what they are first, right?
So in order of thickest to thinnest, the guitar string names are: E A D G B E.
Yup, there are two E strings. Don’t question it, just embrace it and welcome it.
You’ll also hear people calling them the 6th, 5th, 3rd string, etc.
This is because people got bored with saying the same letters over and over again, they wanted another way to feel clever.
The 6th string represents the lowest string (low E), and the 1st string represents the highest string (high E).
So in order of thickest to thinnest, the guitar string numbers go: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
If we put all that together:
- Low E = 6th String
- A = 5th String
- D = 4th String
- G = 3rd String
- B = 2nd String
- High E = 1st String
BOOM! You now know the string names. So let’s take a look at some ways to stop ourselves forgetting them.
WARNING: I’ve sprinkled some random and unrequested E A D G B Es throughout this post to try and drill the letters into your head as we go. Please do not be alarmed.
Use an EADGBE Acronym
Acronyms are always epic. From remembering the order of the planets to secret intelligence services that shoot bad guys, acronyms have their place.
So here’s my favourite acronym to remember the guitar string names:
All the words are nice and short, so it’s easy to remember. And if you forget the second half by accident, you can figure out what the next 3 letters would be. If you Eat All Day, you’re gonna Get Big Easy.
E A D G B E.
But if that one somehow doesn’t resonate with you, then yours truly has left some others down below which you may prefer:
- Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie
- Every Apple Does Go Bad Eventually
- Eat A Dog Get Big Ears
Whichever takes your fancy.
Create Your Own EADGBE Acronym
Maybe you passionately despise every example I left up above.
So in this case, feel free to make up your own acronym to remember the guitar string names by.
Maybe you could put in the name of your friends, or an artist/band you really like.
E A D G B E.
Or create something explicit if that helps. Somehow, explicit acronyms are always so easy to remember…
But you get the point. Make one that you would easily remember so that you can easily call upon it at any time.
Say the Names Each Time You Pick Up Your Guitar
A great way to test yourself is to point to each string and name it every time you pick up your guitar.
That way, you are always ingraining the strings you do know into your memory, whilst also figuring out the ones that you don’t know.
Because in reality, all you need to do is start associating each string with a particular letter.
E A D G B E.
So if you picked up your guitar once or twice a day, and spent 30 seconds memorizing the string names each time, then you could know them all by the end of the week.
Now, how awesome is that?
Use a Tuner App When You Forget the Names
You’re jamming with your mates.
Your friend asks you to play the 5th fret on the A string.
Shoot! You don’t know which one the A string is…
And if you ask him which one the A string is, everyone’s gonna think he’s better than you. And since you have an impenetrable ego, you really don’t want that.
So what can you do?
Aha! You whip out your guitar tuner app, look at which string is the A string, and Bob’s your uncle.
E A D G B E.
Apps like GuitarTuna are great because they literally show you the letters of the strings on the app.
Make sure you’ve got one of these on your phone, and it’ll be a good get-out-of-jail-free-card.
Put the String Names on Your Wall
If you want to learn and remember the guitar string names, then being able to look at them all the time is always a good idea.
Luckily for you, I’ve spent decades meticulously crafting a state-of-the-art, first class, luxury PDF file that you can print out and stick on your wall for free.
Some may question why I spent so long on something for no monetary reward…
Some may look at my PDF and doubt that I actually spent decades crafting it…
Some may wonder why people believe in a flat earth, but not a hexagonal one…
E A D G B E.
But feel free to use that PDF of the guitar string names and abuse it in whatever way you see fit.
Wrapping It Up
Learning to remember the guitar string names and notes is a skill that will help you beyond belief.
You’ll just be able to understand and communicate with other musicians and guitarists so much better.
At the end of the day, all you really need to remember is E A D G B E.
So after that, you’re ready to rock.
I’ve been Sam Olverson,
See you soon!