Open String Note Names

Knowing the names of the notes of the open strings of the guitar is very important. We’ll be combining these with the note circle in the next grade. The focus here is on memorizing this information; you want the names of the open strings in your head, not on a page. You need to know them instantly, so that if someone says ‘the A string’, you’ll know right away they are talking about the second thickest string! 

Note that for left handed players this diagram below will be reversed, like all others in this course!

The open string note names, from the thickest to the thinnest string are: E A D G B E (the picture will be mirrored if you are learning on a left-handed instrument). I would recommend that you use a mnemonic to remember this; choose one you like and stick with it, rather than getting confused by mixing different ones up. You can make up your own of course, but the most common one people know seems to be:

Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie

When I was growing up, I learned from the thinnest string to the thickest instead; I don’t think it really matters which way around you do it. Use whatever you feel comfortable with. I remember this one:

Easter Bunny Gets Drunk After Easter

I think having a ‘backstory’ really helps, y’know, thinking that the poor easter bunny had a hard year and hit the bottle after delivering all his eggs. The more vivid the story you can make up the more likely you will be to remember it!

Make Up Your Own

It can be good fun to try to make up your own mnemonic - something that you will remember and can make up a fun story for - but don’t think you have to make up one of your own if one of the above works for you.

Every Beginner Guitarist Dreads All Enharmonics

Naming The Strings By Number

The strings on the guitar are also numbered 1 to 6 from thinnest to thickest. String 1 is the THINNEST E string; string 6 is the THICKEST E string. I usually call the strings by number in my lessons because there are two E strings and I think most people find the numbers less confusing. However, you should be totally prepared to, for instance, put your ‘first finger in the 3rd fret of the G String’.

Strings 1 to 6

Music Theory 1