One question that often comes up in the guitar world is to identify the guitar string order. This article will be mainly geared at beginners, so I will provide the guitar string names in standard tuning as well as “Drop D” tuning, which makes playing power chords very simple, as a power chord can be achieved by barring the top three strings with your pointer finger. I would like to caution beginning guitarists against immediately starting with Drop D because it is easy to make chords. The vast majority of songs are written for standard tuning, and Drop D can limit your ability to play them. Don’t let Drop D prevent you from learning standard tuning, because standard tuning has a lot to offer.
The above image shows the guitar string names in standard tuning. The strings on the left side of the picture are the bass strings on the guitar(or when you are playing, the thickest strings located at the top), and the strings on the right side of the image are the treble strings of the guitar(or when you are playing, the thinnest strings located at the bottom). From bass to treble, the strings are E, A, D, G, B, E.
There are some mnemonic devices that you can employ to easily memorize this. From thinnest to thickest string, you can say Easter Bunnies Go Dancing At Easter. You can also use the following from the thickest guitar string to the thinnest: Eat A Darn Good Breakfast Everyday. If you repeat these enough times, you will remember them. It is much easier to remember a sentence than it is to remember the letters. Many professional musicians, after decades of playing the guitar still use this method for remembering the order.
Drop D Tuning
Above is Drop D tuning. Drop D tuning is very similar to standard tuning, with the exception that the bass E string is dropped down one whole tone from an E note to a D note. This means that the string order in Drop D tuning, from bass to treble is D, A, D, G, B, E.
There are also some mnemonic devices that can be used to remember the note order in Drop D. From thinnest to thickest string, you can say Each Brave Guitarist Does A Duet. You can also use the following from the thickest guitar string to the thinnest: Dads And Dogs Go Buy Eggs.
There are countless other tunings for varying styles of guitar. The above are simply the two most common. If you have any interest in experimenting with alternate tuning, there are a number of resources that are worth looking into. One of our favorite resources is the book, The Complete Book of Alternate Tunings by Mark Hanson. The book not only provides the tunings themselves, but also provides strategy to play in each tuning. It is ideal for both beginner and veteran guitar players. This is just one of many possible instructional books on the subject, so if the one listed above isn’t your style, there is sure to be one that is.
So there you have it. Above we have laid out the most common guitar string orders and also provided a references to explore more tuning options. We would be curious to know what mnemonic devices you use to remember your string order. Let us know in the comments below for both standard and drop D tuning!