Learn How to Play the Guitar: String Names and one String Songs

learn guitar

Learning how to play the guitar is a long process that requires effort and practice. This guide aims to teach you some basic stuff about guitars, such as guitar string names, a good guitar practice routine and some one-string guitar songs.

How long does it take to learn how to play the guitar? Good question! Whether you are a kid willing to play guitar or an adult looking for some music knowledge to play simple chords and songs on the instrument, it’s never too late to get some practice!

In this article:

  • Guitar String Names
  • Warm Up and Guitar Practice Routine
  • One String Guitar Songs – 7 Rock n’ Roll anthems!
    • Seven Nation Army
    • Another One Bites the Dust
    • Iron Man
    • Roadhouse Blues
    • (I can’t get no) Satisfaction
    • Smoke on the Water
    • Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  • Conclusion

Guitar String Names

As you probably (I hope!) already know, guitars have six strings. To name them, we’ll start from the thinnest, which is considered the first string, then we’ll go on till the thickest, also known as the sixth string.

Before even starting to play guitar, it’s really important to tune it properly. The standard tuning for a guitar is called EADGBE. It goes from E2 to E4.

Let’s find out guitar string names.

So, normally, the first string would be an E, also known as MI. The second string would be a B, or SI. The third string would be a G, or SOL. The fourth string would be a D, or RE. The fifth string would be an A, or LA. The sixth string would be another, lower, E, or MI.

Remember, this is the standard way to tune a guitar. There are different modes, such as the one called “Drop-D”. Tuning guitar on a Drop-D means tuning the sixth string one tone lower, so instead of having an E on the sixth string, we’d have a D.

If you don’t have a tuner for your guitar, don’t worry, here’s the list of the Best Apps to Tune your Guitar!

Warm Up and Guitar Practice Routine

Whether it’s your first time handling a guitar, or you are an expert, before approaching the instrument some warming up exercises are always a good idea. Warming up is really important to get some productive practice time and avoid some bad injuries. These exercises will improve the mobility of your hand and the flexibility of your fingers. Some of these exercises are also very good for adjusting the coordination between left and right hand.

Let’s have a look at this exercise.

This is a really good exercise that not only works perfectly to warm up your hands, but also for practicing. In fact, you’ll do it following the beat of a metronome and it’ll help you to stay on the beat, which is very important when you play music!

It is crucial to alternate the picking and use all the four available fingers.

Starting from the first fret on the sixth string, you’ll then play the second, third and fourth fret. Then, you’ll step down one string and you’ll repeat the same. And so forth. When you’ll get to the first string, you’ll move up one fret and step up till the sixth string. You’ll repeat the exercise moving up to the board.

When you feel confident enough, you could push it a little bit further adding some variations to the exercise. For example, you can try to do it backwards.

Another really nice variation would be to change the order of the notes you’re playing. So, instead of going up fret by fret, you could play the first note, then go up two frets, then come back on fret and then go up two frets again.

Watch the video for a better understanding!

Tip: if you are really new in the “guitar world” rehearse the guitar string names at the end of your Warm Up and Guitar Practice Routine

One-String Guitar Songs – 7 Rock n’ Roll anthems!

One String Guitar Songs are a great way to warm up and practice. Remember, it’s really important to play to a metronome’s beat.

Here a list of famous songs that you could use to warm up and practice.

  • Seven Nation Army
  • Iron Man
  • Roadhouse Blues
  • Another One Bites the Dust
  • Satisfaction
  • Smoke on the Water
  • Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Yeah, you’re not dreaming… after reading this article you will be able to play songs by Black Sabbath, Queen and Rolling Stones. And you’ll learn them while having fun!

The main riffs of these songs are very easy, but also super powerful.

To better understand how to play these riffs, we are going to put them on a guitar tab.

If you don’t know how to read a guitar tab, don’t worry, it’s very easy!

Seven Nation Army

You are about to learn this song by White Stripes. The song was very famous during the ‘00s and is now very popular as it is usually played during some big sporting events.

In the image below you can see the representation of White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army on a guitar tab. You are probably not able to understand what those lines and numbers mean. Don’t you worry, reading guitar tabs is very simple. Let’s go through this graphic together.

Looking at the image you should imagine the neck of your guitar on the piece of paper. The thinnest string is represented on top of the graphic. As we can see in the image, the song is all played on the fifth string, which is the second thickest. The range of notes we are going to play stands between the second and the seventh fret. The video below will show you how to play Seven Nation Army’s riff properly.

Iron Man

Iron Man is a famous song by Black Sabbath. It came out in 1970 and it’s included in the album Paranoid. We’re approaching a real piece of history here!

As we can see in the guitar tab below, the technique used on Iron Man by Black Sabbath is not that different, compared to Seven Nation Army’s.

I know, we’re talking about a heavy song by Black Sabbath. In this case, as for Seven Nation Army, we’re playing the fifth string, which is also the second thickest.

Make sure to watch the video for a better explanation.

Roadhouse Blues

Ok, don’t get me wrong here… Roadhouse Blues is a very difficult song by Doors. I’m not here trying to push you playing your first blues. I just want to show you how simple it is to play some of the most famous rock n’ roll’s riffs.

The main riff of Roadhouse Blues isn’t that complicated, in fact as all the other riffs we’re presenting here, it only involves one string.

The trickiest part of this riff is the last one. In fact, you are supposed to play fret 5 – 6 – 7 as a group, after only one picking. Watch the video to make sure to figure out that part right.

Another One Bites the Dust

This is another very cool song by Queen. The main riff is very boogie and it only involves the same string.

If you know the song, it won’t be difficult to play the riff. Make sure to set your metronome and follow the beat. I’d suggest to start off slower and to step by step trying to reach the original 120bpm, to play the riff at its original speed.

The video will guide you to get the song right and perfect to be played.

(I can’t get no) Satisfaction

The main riff of Satisfaction by Rolling Stones is very simple. It all happens on the fifth string. Not only this is a powerful riff, but it’s also a great exercise for your fingers.

If you play this riff the way it is played in the video below, this will be a good exercise to warm up your fingers. Also, you can consider to play the riff on all the strings, still as an exercise. Make sure to do so, playing on a metronome’s beat, as usual.

Here’s a quick video explanation on how to play the riff right.

Smoke on the Water

This iconic riff by Deep Purple has made the history of rock n’ roll. It came out in 1972 and still is the starting point for all beginners. Every guitar player on Earth started there. There’s no chance you haven’t heard this before.

This riff is very simple, but it sticks into your brain and once there, it’ll never leave.

As we can see on the guitar tab, it all happens on the fourth string. Very simple, but it rocks!

Watch the video to get the song right!

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

This song by Green Day is definitely a rock n’ roll piece of history that came out in 2004. All Green Day fans all over the world love this song, which represents a generational anthem for those born in the early ‘90s.

The song is obviously long and complex, but the guitar solo is all based on the second string and you’d probably be able to get it right. Just to be clear, the guitar solo is that part of the song where you don’t hear lyrics, but there’s a lead guitar playing some notes that all together make a melody. 

This guitar solo might seem very simple, but playing it over all the other instruments can be a little bit tricky. Make sure to practice a lot on the metronome’s beat before rehearsing with your friends!

The first thing you’ll need to do to learn this solo is to make sure to know your part very well. Listen to the song and sing the solo, making sure to memorise all the notes. Then, you’ll be ready to spend time on your instrument, trying to figure out the frets to hit.

Here’s a video demonstration of it.

Learn more: Transpose Guitar Chords and Guitar Chord Generator

Conclusion

Before reading this article, you were probably wondering “How long does it take to learn guitar?”. Well, there’s not a real answer to that question, because it all depends on how good you want to be. In fact, some of the best guitar players in the world always say that even after a 30 year long career, there’s stuff to learn. It’s just never enough.

But if we’d turn the question into “How long does it take to learn some songs on the guitar?”. This article has probably given you the right answer. Not that long. We’ve already seen that some of the most famous rock n’ roll songs based their main riffs on one string.

After going through this article, you can play a bit of Doors, Rolling Stones, and Queen. All, only using one string. One-string guitar songs are a thing now. Now, think what you could do using two strings, or three, or… all of them!

All the songs shown above are also great exercises for a guitar practice routine and can be combined with the other warm up exercises to build your own daily practice process. Also, do not forget the guitar string names!

Whether you are a beginner or a medium level player, don’t forget to work on your finger flexibility to avoid pain and injuries.

Also, guitar players always love to personalise their instruments with cool accessories. If you’re looking for comfortable guitar straps, printed picks of pedal boxes to build your own guitar pedals, check our article about the Best Accessories for Guitar!

If you’re a musician and you play in a band, you might be wondering how to promote your music on music on Spotify. We have a guide for that! Find out the best Spotify Promotion Services!