Beginner’s Guide to Interpreting your Guitar Strings Notes

Guitar Strings Notes

Image source: guitar-instruction-video.com

Even though most of you already know this, some of you may still be wondering what the individual guitar strings notes are. This is relevant only for guitars that have 6 strings. So, this means these tips won’t apply to the bass, violin, mandolin, or other instrument with more or less than 6 strings (including a 12 string guitar). If some strings are missing on your guitar and you don’t know exactly how many it should have, make sure you count the tuning pegs.

Guitar Strings Notes Numbers

Pick your guitar up, the way you would if you were to play it. The closest string to the ground is number 1. This string should have the highest pitch and be the thinnest one.

The string that is closest to the ceiling is number 6. This should have the lowest pitch and be the thickest one. The strings on your guitar should progressively go from thickest to thinnest; low pitch to high, 6 to 1, ceiling to floor. This works regardless if you use your guitar right or left handed.

Most guitar players refer to the number 1 string as the top one, despite the fact that it’s on the bottom. This is because the string is highest in pitch. It is for the same reason that the number 6 string is referred to as the bottom one, because its pitch is the lowest.

Guitar Strings Notes Names

Don’t be confused because of the way I order the strings. They’re not written this way to resemble a mirrored image of the guitar. They’re written like this for musical purposes and because it’s the standard way a TAB is written for the guitar.

String number 1 is high E (this is the thinnest, highest in pitch string and closest to the ground)

String number 2 is B

String number 3 is G

String number 4 is D

String number 5 is A

String number 6 is low E (this is the thickest, lowest in pitch string and closest to the ceiling)

The best way to remember the tuning on the strings is to make up rhymes to go with the notes. For instance: Easter Bunny Gets Drunk After Easter. This is the one I was told when I was a little kid and I still remember it even today. Feel free to make up your own rhymes or try whatever will help you get your guitar tuned.

The names of these strings represent the individual guitar string note they make. For instance, to play a D note, you just have to strike the 4th string open.

Purchase your Guitar Strings Individually

In order to know what to ask for when you replace an individual string on your guitar you will have to know these 3 things:

1. Whether you own an acoustic or electric guitar. Even though this is pretty self-explanatory, if you’re not entirely sure, just bring along your guitar when you ask for a string replacement in a music store. You can use an acoustic guitar with electric strings but your guitar won’t sound as loud as it normally would, even though the electric strings will be softer on your fingers.

2. The individual guitar strings notes, their names and numbers.

3. What is the diameter of the string you wish to replace.

The diameter of the string you wish to replace should be written on the pack of the strings that you used on your guitar. If you misplaced the pack or threw it away, it’s best that you just buy a new one (and this time be sure to keep it for further documentation). Also, a new guitar string will sound a lot better than your other, older strings and will stand out the most when playing. Older guitar strings become dirtier from your hands with time, which will make them sound a bit muffled.

There are a lot of different gauges to choose from when buying a new set of guitar strings but this is my personal recommendation for beginners:

For an acoustic guitar, try a set that has the high E string .011 mm in diameter. For an electric guitar, choose a set that has the high E (number 1) string .009 mm. Don’t worry about the other strings because their diameters will be in accordance with the number 1 string.

These sets of strings are also called 9’s for electric guitars and 11’s for acoustic.

I personally prefer these sets as they are easy on the fingers because of their light gauges. However, they aren’t too light to easily go out of tune. In time you will find out what you prefer as you try out several sets of strings. Different people and different guitars need different strings.

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