Note Names on the 1st String

Sometimes it's difficult for beginner's to see, but there is a reason for the placement of the note letters on the guitar fretboard. We will take a more in depth look at those reasons later on. For now, we will just learn the location of the notes.

The first notes to learn are the notes of the open strings. The strings of the guitar are named for the note letter that sounds when those strings are played open. Starting from the highest sounding string pitchwise (the thinnest string) and moving to the lowest sounding string (the thickest string), these are the note names:

  • E - first string (highest pitchwise; thinnest)
  • B - second string
  • G - third string
  • D - fourth string
  • A - fifth string
  • E - sixth string (lowest pitchwise; thickest)

    So, let's start with the first string: the highest E string! As we've already learned, the note that sounds when we play the E string open (at the "zero fret") is called E. If we hold down the E string at the first fret, we make the amount of string allowed to ring a little bit shorter and thus a little bit higher in pitch. It is now called the note F. If we hold down the E string at the third fret, we make the amount of string allowed to ring a bit shorter again and thus a bit higher in pitch. It is now called the note G.

    We do this one more time by holding down the E string at the fifth fret. This makes the amount of string allowed to ring shorter again and thus higher in pitch again. It is now called the note A.

    So now we know how to play 4 different notes on the E string!

  • Zero fret - E
  • 1st fret - F
  • 3rd fret - G
  • 5th fret - A

    You can keep going up the string holding down higher frets, playing higher sounding notes. For now we'll stop at the 5th fret. We'll get to those higher notes later. You may have noticed that we skipped the 2nd and 4th frets. We'll get to those later, too. For now, let's move on to the next string.

  • Open In New Window
    lesson notation

    More from Christopher Schlegel