Guide to open string notes

Guitar open strings
This Old Guitar


Introducing the Six Strings of the Guitar…

Before we play a note or attempt to tune the guitar it is very important that we cover a few basic things. This lesson will explain the basic information you need to know in order to read TAB and tune your guitar etc. It is essential that you commit this lesson to memory.

On the guitar we have six strings to play with. Each string has a number, and obviously, each string when played open will sound a certain note. Below is a diagram that introduces the numbers and notes of each string.

String number String Note
6 (Thickest string) E
5 A
4 D
3 G
2 B
1(Thinnest string) E


[adsenseyu6] The way the numbers are arranged may seem odd at first seeing as the string closest to you when playing is in fact the 6thstring, but try and think ‘the biggest string has the biggest number, the smallest string has the smallest number!

To memorise this information, it may help you to learn the rhyme below or alternatively, come up with one yourself!

Elephants (Thickest string)





Ears (Thinnest string)

 Identifying your Fingers Correctly….

When playing the guitar it is vital that you get into the habit of using the correct fingers in the correct places. As well as being good technique, it will also make your life a lot easier in the long run as you’ll avoid getting tangled up and of course, you’ll be getting the most out of the four fingers you have!

So, here is a diagram showing you the number that is assigned to each finger.

When looking at playing classical guitar, or other more traditional styles, the fingers on the right hand may be identified with letters instead of numbers. Take a look at the picture below to see which letter fits which finger:

As well as being able to strum and pick notes with your fingers, you can also use a ‘plectrum’ (often simply called a ‘pick’). A pick is a thin piece of plastic that you pinch between your finger and your thumb. It’s important that you hold your pick properly and feel comfortable with it; otherwise it will just become a burden! Be careful not to have too much of the pick sticking out beyond your fingers as this will cause you to lose control of what you’re doing and maybe even drop it!

Take a look at the picture to see how I recommend you hold the pick:

Just like the lesson before, once you feel you have absorbed all this information, try and get a family member or a friend to test you!

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