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The Best Way to Memorize the Names of the Strings on the Guitar

For someone learning to play the guitar, one of the first things to do is learn the names and numbers of the guitar strings. The numbers are easy enough—no need to do an article on that. But the letters, they’re another story.


Every Good Boy Does Fine...really?


common music staff acronym

common music staff acronym

Now, you might have remembered a nifty (yes, nifty) little acronym from the past for the notes on the music staff (the treble clef, that is). It went something embarrassingly like this: the staff’s lines were summed up by Every Good Boy Does Fine; and the spaces, by FACE. FACE—ok. But Every Good Boy Does Fine? That always sounded too, well…corny to me (not that I have anything against corn, just High Fructose Corn Syrup). How about Each Grape Becomes Deeply Fermented, instead? Now that’s something most musicians can relate to.


And so it is with creative acronyms in mind that I wrote this article. Early on as a guitar teacher I realized the need for an acronym for the guitar strings. Fortunately, out of the seven letters of the musical alphabet—A, B, C, D, E, F, and G—two are vowels. However, the guitar being the wonder of logic and symmetry that it is, its outermost strings are the same letter name, E. This results in three vowels and three consonants for the letters representing the guitar’s strings: E, B, G, D, A, and E, from first to last. That makes possible many reasonable acronyms. Below are six—well, seven--that I came up with, the first being my ‘tried and true’ for many years.

The Guitar Bridge--up close and personal. Home of the strings.

The Guitar Bridge--up close and personal. Home of the strings.

Again, the notes of the guitar are:

E B G D A E (first to last / high to low), and E A D G B E (low to high).


(high to low / 1st to 6th strings)

Every Body Goes Down An Escalator

This is a self-proclaimed classic. I mean, isn’t it cool how the sound and imagery go together? Narcissistic, I know, but it’s true.


Every Beer Got Drank At Earl’s

Don’t worry. Earl got one too.


Every Bride Groom Dances All Evening

Credit goes to my oldest son for this one. No, ladies, he’s non-eligible. For now.


(low to high strings)

Each Apple Does Get Bitten Eventually

Yup. If we don’t get ‘em the worms do.


Earn A Degree Get Better Employment

That’s true, right?


Every Active Dad Gets (to) Bed Early

Probably false, but a good acronym nonetheless.


Each Angry Dad Gets (a) BEer

A “BEer?” I know. This one much better off left unsaid; it barely works on paper.


So there’re my seven--ok, six--acronyms. Which, if any, is your favorite? Do you have one to add?


-6 String Veteran

...You're Ready for the Guitar String Quiz.

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What is the order of the guitar strings, from HIGH (first) TO LOW (last)?
    • E G A B D E
    • E B G D A E
    • E A D G B E
  2. What is the order of the guitar strings, from LOW (last) TO HIGH (first)?
    • E B G D A E
    • E A D G B E
    • E G A B D E

Answer Key

  1. E B G D A E
  2. E A D G B E

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Comments

im a noob/ woofy is a noob on March 14, 2015:

i found this on on youtube and i love so much because it describes me so well lol

Eat All Day Go to Bed Early

go to is one string which is g

New one on November 27, 2014:

Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie

Evil Bunny Gets Drunk At Easter

millo lailang on October 26, 2014:

i liked the Earn a degree get better employment. That really is real :D

http://www.mamamusicians.com

Katie on August 29, 2014:

One my ex taught me:

Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually

LOL on May 14, 2014:

iv always had trouble remembering the strings thx for the help

Darren on December 09, 2013:

Every Author Does Get Better Eventually

Fran on March 24, 2013:

Thx really helped

6 String Veteran (author) on February 01, 2011:

Thanks TSM.

Travis_S_Music on January 31, 2011:

Very well written, I like it!

6 String Veteran (author) on January 25, 2011:

Doc, glad you Njoyed it...I've been wanting to put this together for a long time. I figured when I got to the 'angry dads' one it was time to quit.

Doc Snow from Camden, South Carolina on January 25, 2011:

Chuckles, 6-string--chuckles!

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