The five guitar strings
The guitar’s open strings are the notes you hear when you strike the strings without pressing them against any of the yarns’ necks with your left hand. The sixth or bottom string, which is the thickest, is the low E. The guitar’s notes go in ascending order starting with this string. Continued in order from the low E-string is the fifth string, A; fourth string, D; third string, G; second string, B; and the first string, E. The first and last strings both play the same note – E – but their sounds are different because they are two octaves apart. The sixth string sounds much lower than the first string.
When you first learn, the best method is sometimes simple memorization. Start-Playing-Guitar.com recommends that the names of the strings be arranged in ten times, once a day for seven days. It is important to pause between each repetition as you say the strings in order, for example at the bottom up ‘EBGDA E’. This helps to cement the string names in your brain.
You may want to use the string names as an acronym to create a mnemonic unit, where the letters make it easy to remember the phrase. Nate Savage at GuitarLessons.com recommends that you use the mnemonic device Eat All Day Go to bed early to remember the guitar strings. Here are some others suggested by AcronymFinder.com: Eddie Ate Dynamite Good bye Eddie; Every Apple goes bad in the end; Elephants and donkeys grow big ears. Creating your own mnemonic device can be fun and has the benefit of quickly learning the strings.
Intervals of Fourths
It is also useful to remember the interval between the notes on the open strings. An interval is the distance between one note and the other. With one exception, the guitar strings can be in the fourth quarters, so reciting the 7-notes musical scale, ABCDEFGA and so on, can help you remember the string names. For example, start with the low E-string and list four notes (EFGA), and there you are on the A-string. Count four again (ABCD) – there is your D-string. Count again four (DEFG) and you are on the third or G-string. Now comes the only exception to the fourth paragraph. When you count from G (GAB), you see that the interval between the third string and the second string is a third, not a fourth. Finally, list four notes from your B-string (BCDE), and you have reached the high E or first string.
If you really have trouble remembering the names of the strings, you can buy temporary decals to place on your guitar’s fretboard. This labeling system is available from a variety of online providers, including FindANote.com. One of the first tasks that a guitar student must begin to master is to learn the names of the guitar strings’ notes. It not only makes you more familiar with your instrument, but is the starting point for making music on guitar. There are a number of methods that can help you remember the string names – choose the method that works best for you.