What Are the Notes for Guitar Strings?

By Michael Black ; Updated September 15, 2017
Tuning a guitar is important to its performance.

To make a guitar sound good, the instrument needs to be in tune. Before you can tune a guitar however, you need to know to which notes the strings should be tuned. An electronic tuner is extremely useful when tuning a guitar, but so long as you have a reference point (a tuning fork or a note from another properly tuned instrument), you can tune relatively accurately by ear.

Standard Tuning

Guitar strings can be tuned to any note. The only thing limiting their range is the thickness of the string. A thicker string will snap if it is tuned too high and a thinner string will become floppy if it is tuned too deep. Despite this, a standard tuning has emerged that most guitar players use. Standard tuning is, from the thickest string to the thinnest, E, A, D, G, B and E.

Alternate Tunings

While standard tuning is the most common guitar tuning, many alternate tunings are used by guitarists throughout the world. Some of the most common of these tunings include drop D (D, A, D, G, B, E), standard tuning dropped a half-step (Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Bb, Eb), open D (D, A, D, F#, A, D), open G (D, G, D, G, B, D), open A (E, A, C#, E, A, E) and all fourths (E, A, D, G, C, F).

About the Author

Michael Black has been a freelance writer based in South Central Pennsylvania since 2010. He graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He has written music- and writing-related articles for various websites.