There are 6 strings on a standard guitar. Each string is represented by a letter name and a number. The biggest string on the guitar is the 6th string called 'E'. The 1st string is the smallest string called 'e'. These two letters are the same name but when played... there is a huge difference. One is low pitch and one is high pitch.
Remember we only have 7 letters to choose from when naming these notes.... they are going to repeat with any instrument you play. For now, we know that:
String 1 = e (smallest)
String 2 = B
String 3 = G
String 4 = D
String 5 = A
String 6 = E (biggest)
These small fundamentals are crucial to memorize fast. When playing the guitar on any level, you need to be able to know the open strings and get to the quickly with no hesitation.
Here are some exercises to work through so the string names and numbers are memorized.
Names of the Strings
Most guitars are 6 string guitars. Other common string amounts are 7 and 12 strings. Guitars come in all shapes and sizes with each its own unique feel. Acoustic or electric, sitting or standing and pickin' or finger pickin', each guitar string and frets are important to understand quickly.
The 7 string guitar produces another string lower than the 6th string. Often heard with music that has lots of depth to the sound. Heavy Metal is the biggest user of the 7 string guitar.
The 12 string guitar is doubling of each string. This particular arrangement gives a full sound to the strumming. You find this guitar is strummed more than finger picked.
The frets are those little shinny metal bumps that are running down the fretboard on the neck of the guitar. When pushing down a fret, you do not put your finger on the metal bar, you simply put your finger before it. This way, the string touches the fret you wish to play and your fingers stay out of the way of the tone.
To think of it a different way, think of each fret as its own 'box'. As you can see in the diagram to the left, Fret 1 is the first horizontal box. Then Fret 2, 3 and I did not label 4. When put i finger in a fret, i try to get my finger as close to the metal bar that represents the first fret. This will insure that I will be getting the best tone for the note played.
Those dots you see on the neck and fretboard of the guitar are indicators for the fret numbers. The 2 dots in one fret on 90% of guitars is the 12th fret. (some guitars have 2 dots on 9th fret) Be aware of the little indicators as they help guide you through big jumps on the guitar. The single dots indicate the odd numbered frets.