Learn the Open Strings | Hub Guitar

Learn the Open Strings

FR-95 video thumbnail

The first thing you need to do to study the guitar and learn about the fretboard is to get your bearings and orientation correct. And in order to do that, you'll need to know the names of the open strings. That is, the names of the musical pitches that they are tuned to. But let's go back a step first. As you can see, we have 6 strings. They are actually numbered 1,2,3,4,5,6. But they're numbered from the floor to the ceiling. So I think of it as 654321, as I tend to think in that direction. And get this. This is the highest string. It is the highest in pitch. And this is the lowest string. Of course it's vertically high but the pitch is low. So when I say high strings I mean these here and low strings are these here. So if these are the low strings, how come the guitar has them on the top, close to the player? Well, the guitar is both a rhythm and a lead instrument. So when you're playing chords, you want to hit the big strings first, so they absorb more of the rhythm from your hand. The strings are tuned to the pitches, EADGbe. You can use memory aid to help you remember that. Every Amateur Does Guitar by ear. Practice this a few times. You want to get your bearings straight and understand what is a low string, or high string. Where is the second string? Where is the b string? Getting comfortable with these terms will make it easier for you to learn guitar in the lessons to come.

Learning the Open String Notes

Why learn the open string notes?

In the near term, you’ll need to learn the names of the open strings to tune your guitar properly.

In the longer term, learning the names of the notes on the open strings of the guitar is the first step to understanding the rest of the notes on the neck.

How to memorize the names of the open strings?

You’ll need to learn this one by rote memory.

However, there are a few memory aids available.

The first is to use a simple mnemonicA learning device used to aid memory through association. device.

One example of such a mnemonic is:


You may find it helpful to make up your own mnemonic. If you do this, you will likely never forget.

The Notes, Visualized On Guitar

Learning the names of the open strings on the guitar.

Alternative method (for experienced musicians only)

If you have experience studying another musical instrument, and you understand the basics of music theory, you may find it more helpful to remember the series of intervalAn interval refers to any melodic distance between any two pitches.s that separate the strings. It’s always a perfect fourth, except from the third string (“G”) to the second string (“b”). This is a major third.

Key Tasks

  • Memorize the names of the open strings on the guitar.
  • Use this information to tune your guitar with an electronic guitar tuner.

As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

©2018 Hub Guitar. All rights reserved.