How to Remember Guitar Strings (From an Expert Who’s Done It)

| Learning

how to remember guitar strings feature imageFed up with bizarre acronyms for learning your guitar string order?

I mean…

“Eat All Day Get Big Easy” is okay, but…

You have to memorize the meaningless phrase in order for it to work!

This is the case with each and every acronym out there. As a result, acronyms are amongst the weakest of all memory techniques.

We can do better and on this page, I’ll show you how.

Why should you believe that my approach is better than every other guitar string mnemonic out there?

Good question.

Not only am I an internationally renowned memory expert, but this is me playing my bass:

So if you’re ready to learn an easy way to remember the strings on a guitar, let’s get started.

How to Remember Guitar Strings: The Ultimate Guitar String Mnemonic

The absolute easiest way to remember the guitar strings involves using two simple systems:

The pegword method is very simple.

Rather than creating an acronym, start with your fattest string and call it Ernie (from Sesame Street),

start with your fattest string and call it Ernie

Now, if for any reason you’re not familiar with Ernie or don’t want to use him, Einstein will also do.

The point is to link a clear and obvious association based on the letter “E” which is the name of the note this string plays in standard tuning. 

You can place the association mentally either on the tuning peg, the string itself, or both.

If you change the tuning, such as drop-D, then Ernie can easily become Dracula using this method.

The reason we’re using characters like these is that they’re familiar and dynamic. We can imagine them interacting.

So once you have your E-string mnemonic decided, simply assign each string a different character. Mine are from lowest to highest:

  • Ernie
  • Al Pacino
  • Dracula
  • Grover
  • Bob (from what about Bob)
  • Ernie (as a baby)

How to Memorize The Strings In Order

To remember the strings, we’re going to create a short story using linking.

Again, this is superior to acronyms because it harnesses the power of active recall, which involves personalization and variety.

Also, following a story based on links makes the order inherently memorable.

following a story based on links makes the order inherently memorable

For example:

  • E-string Ernie throws an elephant at Al Pacino
  • Al Pacino assassinates the attacker and bites Dracula
  • Dracula shoots his fangs at Grover
  • Grover runs over Bob
  • Bob breaks baby-Ernie’s toys

This approach is beautiful because you can extend it to memorizing the entire fretboard as well.

Meaning is the Key To A Successful Guitar String Mnemonic

If there’s one important takeaway here, it is that guitar string acronyms are not very good mnemonic devices. Certainly not compared to using pop culture characters that have been in your mind for a long time.

All memory techniques that are worth their salt rely on the principle of association based on preexisting mental imagery.

And like a good song lyric, using a story is one of the most memorable things you can do for both bass and guitar.

If you need more help with making rapid associations, get my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Magnetic Memory Method Free Memory Improvement Course

It will help you apply these techniques to your guitar and to anything else you want to learn faster.


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