Names & notes of the strings on electric, classical, acoustic and western guitar (standard tuning)

When you start learning to play the guitar, it’s important knowing the correct names of the notes of the strings on your guitar in standard tuning. No matter if you go out and buy an electric, classical, acoustic or western guitar – a guitar should be tuned everytime before you start playing or practising. This applies to any stringed instrument by the way, even wind and brass instruments are subject to temperature differences and transporting. The names of the strings are usually displayed on the guitar tuner, both in notes and in numbers.

From the thickest string (upper string) to the thinnest string (lower string), it gets the name E, A, D, G, B and E, also called mi, la, re, sol, si and mi. Keep in mind we’re talking about the standard E-tuning on a six-string guitar, and not about alternative tunings such as drop tunings, down tunings and open tunings.

On guitar tuners, or guitar tuning apps on your smart phone, iPhone, tablet or iPad, you often see both the name of the note and the number of the string.

For a 6-string guitar, the upper or thickest E-string is string number 6. From the upper string (thick string) this is E (6), A (5), D (4), G (3), B (2) and E (1). The sixth and first strings are both the letter or note E (mi). The only difference is that the thin E-string sounds 2 octaves higher than the thick E-string. Sometimes on the internet and on some devices they make a difference by writing the lower E-string as an uppercase “E” and the thin higher E-string as a lowercase “e”.

Some guitar tuners, the so-called chromatic tuners, usually do not indicate string numbers. There you have to be careful that the letters matches the  right string. This is an example of the Boss Chromatic Tuner TU-3 app I’m using on my Samsung Android smartphone:

How to quickly learn and memorize the names of the strings?
Easy as pie!
Just remember this phrase 🙂 …
Dutch: “Een Aap Die Geen Bananen Eet”
English : “Eddy Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddy”
German : “Eine Alte Dame Ging Brötchen Essen”