Ever wondered what the names of guitar strings and notes are on different frets? It’s quite simple and it’s not rocket science. Read on to find out 🙂
The layout of strings and notes on the guitar are quite simple if you understand the names of the open strings and the seven notes – A,B,C,D,E,F,G.
Interpreting the names of guitar strings and notes of guitar:
(i) Notes of guitar.
There are seven main notes in music. They are A,B,C,D,E,F,G.
All of these seven notes except B and E have sharps. Sharps are notes succeeding a main note and lies between two main notes. They are denoted by the symbol #. So the complete notes of music are A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#. After G#, it repeats again from A and forms a continuous cycle. Notice that B and E don’t have sharps.
Sometimes you will see note names with a ‘b’ sign after them. They are called flats. They are just opposites of sharps. Sharps occur when you count the notes forward. While flats occur when you count the notes backward.
For example, take the notes A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A. The second note A# can also be named Bb (B flat), the C# can also be called Db (D flat) and so on. It’s just the backward version of sharps. So if you write all the notes with their flats instead of sharps, it will be A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A. Note that C and F don’t have flats since there are no extra notes between ‘B and C’ and ‘E and F’.
You can check out my previous lesson to read more about sharps, flats and octaves.
(ii) Names of the six open strings.
As you can see in the diagram above, the name of the top string, i.e, the thinnest string is E. That means that the note that you get when you play the top string open is E. ‘Open string’ means when you play the string without pressing down the string with your left hand on any frets. The rest of the strings are B, G, D, A and E from top to bottom respectively.
(iii) Layout of notes on the frets of guitar.
Now the top string is E. So, when you play the top string in open, you get the E note. And just as illustrated in ‘(i) ‘Notes of guitar’ above, the sequence will go on (E, F, F#, etc…) across the frets of the guitar (frets are the small bars on the fingerboard where you press down the strings). But this time it starts from the note E and since E does not have sharps, the next note will be F and then F# and so on. The same process applies for the other strings too, except that the beginning notes for each strings will be the names of the strings, i.e, B, G, D, A, and E.
Exercises to get acquainted with the names of guitar strings and notes on different frets:
What better way to learn than to try things out yourself. Right? Try these simple exercises to get familiar with the names of guitar strings and notes of your guitar.
- Play the 1st string (the thinnest string) open. Remember what the note was for it? It is the ‘E’ note. Good if you remembered. Don’t worry if you did not remember. Everything will come with practice. Now press the 1st string on the 1st fret and play. That would be the ‘F’ note. Then press the 1st string on the 2nd fret and guess the note. keep on moving upwards on the fret and try to guess the name of the notes until you reach the last fret. When you reach the last fret, do it backwards.
- After you complete the exercise on the 1st string, repeat the exercise on the other strings.
When you start to feel comfortable with the above exercise, try starting on a random fret on one string. Then move upwards or downwards from there. If you feel adventurous, try doing the exercise by pressing random notes on all the six strings and guess their names.
Don’t worry about nailing this skill right now. It takes time and practice and you will naturally be able to figure out the names of guitar strings and notes quite a lot if you keep on playing and. Especially if you practice regularly. Be patient.
Ready to master the names of guitar strings and notes?
Good Luck!! 🙂
You may also want to check out my tutorial on how to tune a guitar .