Regardless of a different tuning by which you might play your instrument, always remember the string names according to the universal or standard tuning, i.e., EBGDAE from bottom to top, and vice versa.
Some refer to it as EADGBE, while others call it EBGDAE; for a beginner who is learning the guitar, it is always confusing to remember the names of guitar strings, especially while tuning them. Though most times it is better to design your own methods for this issue, some of the tried and tested ones are also quite useful for learning this instrument efficiently in your amateur days.
There are a number of techniques that can be used for this task. Most people like making acronyms and/or mnemonics, which include both the string identities as well as their positions. Assigning numbers is also favored for the same. Others simply repeat the names in order several times everyday till the time they cannot be easily forgotten!
The standard naming of acoustic/electric guitars, and four and five-string bass guitars is given in the following images:
String Names of Acoustic/Electric Guitar
String Names of Four-string Bass Guitar
String Names of Five-string Bass Guitar
Easy Ways to Remember Guitar String Names
The Numbering Method
In this technique, you have assign specific numbers for each string by maintaining their positional order. For example, if you want to memorize or learn the strings of an acoustic or electric guitar, then assign numbers 1 to 6 to each of the strings. You can either start from the top or the bottom, depending on your convenience. But make sure to maintain the same order. This is represented in the following manner:
Numbering System of Guitar Strings
In the image given above, each letter represents one string along with its specific number. In the second portion, the string position remains same but the numbering becomes exactly opposite, i.e., the lowermost E string is now the 6th one.
The Acronym and Mnemonic Method
This is a very creative way to memorize and learn the string names, be it an acoustic, electric, or even a bass guitar. An acronym stands for the short form of a longer phrase or name of a particular entity: in this case, the acronyms are EBGDAE, EADGBE, GDAE, etc. Make a simple acronym of six words using a mnemonic; the 1st letter of every word, read in order, will stand for each of the guitar string names. A mnemonic is a creative way that makes it easier to remember, and being quite appealing, it also gets stuck in your head easily. You can even memorize the guitar string notes using this method.
Some of the best acronyms for used for string naming of acoustic/electric guitars are given below. All the highlighted letters are the respective guitar string names.
From Low to High Frequency Strings
Every Amateur Does Get Better Eventually
Easter Angels Don’t Give Broken Eggs
Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears
Each Apple Does Get Bitten Eventually
Every Average Dude Gets Better Eventually
From High to Low Frequency Strings
Every Body Goes Down An Escalator
Every Beer Got Drank At Earl’s
Easter Bunnies Get Drunk At Easter
Elvis’ Big Great Dane Ate Everything
Every Big Girl Deserves An Elephant
The By-heart Method
If everything fails, simply learn the string names by-heart; say it repeatedly in you head: EBGDAE, EBGDAE, or EADGBE, EADGBE. In case of bass guitars, it will be GDAE, GDAEB, or even GDAEBG (for 6-string basses). You will surely remember this, as the names will now be stuck in your head forever!
Whatever way is used to memorize and learn all the guitar string names, never start or end without the standard order in which they are positioned and played. This order mostly is that of the standard tuning, but also might vary if you drop-tune your guitar to different frequencies.