In order to tune a guitar, you need to know two things:
- the names of the open strings
- the guitar strings order
But here’s the thing:
It’s slightly confusing for beginners, as the six strings of the guitar can be thought of in descending or ascending order.
In this article, we show you some memorable phrases (acronyms) that will help you remember both ways.
So what are the guitar string notes?
Here you go…
The guitar strings order – from lowest pitch to highest pitch, left to right – looks like this:
So how do you remember them? Here are a few memorable phrases…take your pick!
Easter Bunnies Get Dizzy At Easter
Every Boy Gets Dinner At Eight
Each Bad Girl Deserves An Eggplant
Elvis’ Big Great Dane Ate Everything
Seen any you like? If not, make your own!
You can also memorize them in reverse. Starting with the thickest guitar string, or 6th string, and moving to the 1st string. If you look at the fretboard, this is going from left to right (if you’re playing a right-handed guitar).
Here are a few sample phrases for E-A-D-G-B-E:
Eat All Day Get Big Easy
Every Amateur Does Get Better Eventually
Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie
If none of these stick, make one up yourself!
Understanding Numerical String Order
Another thing that confuses beginners is that when say 1st string, 2nd string, etc. we’re talking about the lightest string first (the ascending order, see above). So the 1st string is the high E string, the 2nd string is the B string, etc. and the 6th string is the low E string.
In standard tuning, the numerical string order goes like this:
E string – 1st string (this is the thinnest string, known as the ‘high E string’)
B string – 2nd string
G string – 3rd string
D string – 4th string
A string – 5th string
E string – 6th string (this is the thickest string, known as the ‘low E string’ or ‘bottom E string’)
As you see, learning the string order for standard tuning is no more complicated than this.
After a while, you’ll just instinctively know the guitar strings order, but for now, just pick one method (ascending or descending) and stick with it. Or better still, make your own up! It will make guitar tuning a lot easier in the future.