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The Guitar Theory Cheat Sheet

Use this handy reference when you’ve forgotten some of the theory essentials.

It's impossible to memorize everything related to theory. So use this handy guide when you can’t remember your string names or your half steps.

String Names – Thinnest to Thickest
  • E B G D A E (Easter Bunnies Get Dizzy At Easter)


String Numbers – Thinnest to Thickest
  • 1: High E
  • 2: B
  • 3: G
  • 4: D
  • 5: A
  • 6: Low E


Musical Alphabet
  • A, B, C, D, E, F, G
  • Each open string has all the same the notes of the alphabet, starting with the letter of the string name. For example, the notes on the open A string are: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. The notes on the open E string are E, F, G, A, B, C, D.


Half Steps and Whole Steps
  • Half Step: Notes that are one fret apart
  • Whole Step: Notes that are two frets apart


Notes Located a Whole Step Apart
  • Every note in the musical alphabet - except B-C and E-F


Notes Located a Half Step Apart
  • B and C
  • E and F


Major Scale Formula
  • WWHWWWH (using whole steps and half steps)


Notes in a C Major Scale
  • C D E F G A B C


Sharps and Flats
  • ♯ - Raises note by half step
  • ♭ - Lowers note by half step
  • No sharps or flats in C major and A minor scales


Keep these by your side, and you’ll speed up your guitar learning as well as impress your friends.

Want to learn more about the ABCs of guitar? Check out this lesson from Fender Play. And if you're not a member yet, click here for a free trial.