Letters On Guitar Strings? The Basics You Need To Know

The letters on guitar strings are are typically tuned in the standard E tuning (from the thinnest string to the thickest) and are as follows: follows:

  • High E (1st string)
  • B (2nd string)
  • G (3rd string)
  • D (4th string)
  • A (5th string)
  • Low E (6th string, thickest string)
letters on guitar strings

The numbers indicate the guitar string order, starting from the highest pitched string (1st or high E) and ending with the lowest pitched string (6th or low E). The names of the strings are based on the standard tuning of the guitar, which is EADGBE. By knowing the names and numbers of each string, guitar players can easily identify and refer to specific strings when playing, tuning, or learning new songs. 

Related: How Many Tunings Are There?

Guitar String Names & How To Remember Them

Trying to remember all 6 letters associated with each string can be a challenge for some. Personally, I like to divide the 6 into two sets of 3. EAD (lower strings) & GBE (higher strings). It also helps to know that the lower 3 strings (EAD) are typically the only ones that are wounded strings, while the higher 3 strings are plain (unwound).

Another way to learn the string names is to turn EADGBE into an acronym. Here are just a few ones you can pick out or simply create your own:

  • Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie (E, A, D, G, B, E)
  • Eating All Day Gets Boring Eventually (E, A, D, G, B, E)
  • Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears (E, A, D, G, B, E)
  • Every Angel Delivers Good Blessings Every day (E, A, D, G, B, E)
  • Every Artist Delivers Gorgeous Beautiful Expressions (E, A, D, G, B, E)

These acronyms can help you remember the order of the strings and associate the names with something easy to remember. Finally, you can always add a sticky or piece of tape to your headstock that has all of the strings listed in order.

electric guitar EADBGE strings

Related: How to play the B minor chord

Why is there no C and F in guitar strings?

The reason there is no C and F string in a standard six-string guitar set is because of the tuning of the instrument. Most guitars are tuned to standard tuning, which is EADGBE, starting from the lowest string to the highest. This tuning was chosen because it allows for a wide range of chords and makes it easy to play in different keys. The absence of a C and F string allows for the other strings to be tuned to the notes needed to play the most common chords and progressions in western music.

However, it is worth noting that there are other tunings available for the guitar that can include C and F, such as Drop C or Drop D tuning. These alternate tunings can offer a different sound and playing experience, and can be used for specific styles of music or playing techniques.

How Often Should You Tune Your Guitar

It is generally recommended that you tune your guitar every time you pick it up and play, as even a small amount of time between playing can cause the strings to go out of tune. It’s also recommended to give your guitar a full tune-up every 4-6 months just to make sure everything is in working order & your instrument is getting all the care it needs. This should involve restringing the guitar, adjusting the truss rod, setting the intonation, and cleaning/polishing the instrument.

fender guitar being tuned - How Often Should You Tune Your Guitar

How To Tune Your Guitar

 

  1. Slightly loosen all of your strings by a half turn or so. This will make it so the only initial way to tune is upwards.
  2. Tune the low E string: Turn the peg to tighten the string & listen for your guitar tone to match the tone in the video until they are in unison.
  3. Tune the other strings: Next, do the same to the ADGBE strings, being especially careful with the thinner strings. If not sure if you passed the correct pitch, better to loosen the string (than risk breaking it) & start tuning again from a lower pitch. Do this until your guitar & the video have the same unison pitch.
  4. Once finished, go back & verify you tunings for each string starting with the low E. This is because your intonation might have changes once all of the strings where tensioned.

Check out this article if you want to learn how to tune your guitar a half step down.

Related: How To Tune To D Standard

How To Keep Your Guitar In Tune Longer

Having to constantly adjust tuning can be frustrating when starting out. Here are several ways to keep your guitar in tune for a longer period of time & general maintenance tips:

changing guitar strings on a fender strat
  • Use high-quality strings: High-quality strings tend to stay in tune longer than cheaper alternatives. Consider trying a different brand or type of strings if you feel like your guitar goes out of tune easily. We recommend some Earnie Ball Slinkys as a good baseline because they have sealed packaging, consistent, and low priced.
  • Store your guitar properly: Avoid exposing your guitar to extreme temperatures and humidity, as these can cause the neck & strings to stretch or shrink, leading to changes in tuning. Make sure to store your guitar in a case when not in use.
  • Stretch your strings: When you first put new strings on your guitar, it’s a good idea to stretch them out by pulling gently on each string several times. This helps to settle the strings into their proper tension and can improve their stability, especially in the beginning with a fresh set.
  • Avoid overexerting the strings: Don’t bend the strings too far or apply too much pressure when playing. This can cause the strings to go out of tune or even break. This applies especially with tremolo arms & floating bridges but that’s to be expected with these sorts of things.
  • Change your strings regularly: Over time, the strings on your guitar will stretch, become worn, or develop corrosion, and generally go bad. These factors can affect how they sound, feel, and play. It’s a good idea to change your strings every few of months, if you play sparsely. If you play consistently you can change them out every month or so.
  • Wind your strings properly: When putting new strings on your guitar, be sure to wind them properly. Start at the tuning peg and wind the string in a tight, neat pattern, avoiding any tangles or knots. Make sure to wind the strings evenly to ensure proper tension and stability.
  • Keep the nut and bridge properly adjusted: The nut and bridge are two critical components that can affect the stability of your guitar’s tuning. If you notice that your guitar goes out of tune frequently, it may be worth taking it to a professional to have the nut and bridge inspected or adjusted.

By following these tips, you can keep your guitar strings in good condition and enjoy playing your instrument with optimal sound and performance. More maintenance tips

Bass String Letters

Bass guitars have similar strings & lettering too, however they are 1 octave lower & use the bass clef.

There are only 4 bass strings instead of 6 of the traditional guitar. The letters for the bass guitar are:
E, A, D, G, (No B & high E)

Related: Guitar Tuning In Hz

Conclusion

Just to re-iterate the straight answer: The names of the six strings on a standard guitar are, in order from the lowest pitched string to the highest (E, A, D, G, B, and E). The lowest pitched string is known as the 6th or low E string. The next string is the 5th or A string, followed by the 4th or D string. The 3rd string is known as the G string, and the 2nd string is referred to as the B string. The highest pitched string is the 1st or high E string (There’s 2 E strings).

These string names are based on the standard tuning of the guitar, which is EADGBE, and are used to identify each string individually when tuning the instrument or referring to specific playing techniques. Understanding the names of each string is essential for any guitar player, as it helps to build a strong foundation for playing and learning new songs. Thank you for checking out our article & stay tuned!


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