The guitar is a beautifully designed instrument. It’s relatively inexpensive, mobile, can be used to play a variety of genres, and is a pretty easy instrument to pick up and learn for beginner musicians – there’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular instruments in the world.
While it’s certainly easy to just pick up and start strumming, learning some of the basics, like guitar anatomy and guitar string names, can help you become a better, more well-versed musician. It’ll also make practicing a lot easier. If you want to know how to properly tune a guitar, read tabs, and actually play songs, you need to know the guitar string names. Learn here, or jump right in with some beginner guitar lessons.
Guitar String Names
Guitars have six strings, which go from thick to thin. When you hold a guitar straight out in front of you, the thickest string should be at the left, and the thinnest at the right. When you hold the guitar in the standard guitar-playing position, the thickest string will be facing the ceiling, and the thinnest string will be facing the floor.
The thick string is named E, for the note it plays. From left to right, the strings go:
E – A – D – G – B – E
Strings are named after the notes they play, and you may notice the strings begin and end on an E. The thickest E string, or the low E string, plays two octaves lower than the thinnest E string, or the high E string.
Guitar String Numbers
This is where it can get a little tricky. You might be tempted to count the strings from left to right, just as we’ve read the string names from left to right – don’t. The low E string is the 6th string, and the high E string is the 1st.
E – A – D – G – B – E
6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1
If that’s confusing, just think of the way you hold a guitar neck. Your hand holds it from the bottom, and you bring your fingers up around it to play on the fretboard. The first string your fingers will touch at the very bottom is the high E, or String #1, and the furthest one they’ll touch is the low E at the top, or string #6!
High, low, bottom, top… it can get tricky, but don’t worry. You’ll get the hang of it once you start practicing. It helps to have a visual demonstration as well, which you can view in this beginner guitar class.
Guitar String Name Acronyms
A good way to make remembering the actual string names easier is assigning words to each letter, creating a memorable acronym out of E-A-D-G-B-E.
These are silly, but helpful ways to remember the order of the guitar string names. Feel free to make up your own too – anything that gets you to stop hesitating, and start playing!
You can also get started with these awesome, free beginner guitar-playing courses:
- How to Play Guitar and Really Understand Music Quickly
- Complete Guitar System – Beginner to Advanced
- Blues and Advanced Guitar Lessons