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The Best Way to Memorize the Names of the Strings on the Guitar
For someone learning to play the guitar, one of the first things to do is learn the names and numbers of the guitar strings. The numbers are easy enough—no need to do an article on that. But the letters, they’re another story.
Every Good Boy Does
Now, you might have remembered a nifty (yes, nifty) little acronym from the past for the notes on the music staff (the treble clef, that is). It went something embarrassingly like this: the staff’s lines were summed up by Every Good Boy Does Fine; and the spaces, by FACE. FACE—ok. But Every Good Boy Does Fine? That always sounded too, well…corny to me (not that I have anything against corn, just High Fructose Corn Syrup). How about Each Grape Becomes Deeply Fermented, instead? Now that’s something most musicians can relate to.
And so it is with creative acronyms in mind that I wrote this article. Early on as a guitar teacher I realized the need for an acronym for the guitar strings. Fortunately, out of the seven letters of the musical alphabet—A, B, C, D, E, F, and G—two are vowels. However, the guitar being the wonder of logic and symmetry that it is, its outermost strings are the same letter name, E. This results in three vowels and three consonants for the letters representing the guitar’s strings: E, B, G, D, A, and E, from first to last. That makes possible many reasonable acronyms. Below are six—well, seven--that I came up with, the first being my ‘tried and true’ for many years.
Again, the notes of the guitar are:
E B G D A E (first to last / high to low), and E A D G B E (low to high).
(high to low / 1st to 6th strings)
Every Body Goes Down An Escalator
This is a self-proclaimed classic. I mean, isn’t it cool how the sound and imagery go together? Narcissistic, I know, but it’s true.
Every Beer Got Drank At Earl’s
Don’t worry. Earl got one too.
Every Bride Groom Dances All Evening
Credit goes to my oldest son for this one. No, ladies, he’s non-eligible. For now.
(low to high strings)
Each Apple Does Get Bitten Eventually
Yup. If we don’t get ‘em the worms do.
Earn A Degree Get Better Employment
That’s true, right?
Every Active Dad Gets (to) Bed Early
Probably false, but a good acronym nonetheless.
Each Angry Dad Gets (a) BEer
A “BEer?” I know. This one much better off left unsaid; it barely works on paper.
So there’re my seven--ok, six--acronyms. Which, if any, is your favorite? Do you have one to add?
-6 String Veteran
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