Finger And Fret Numbers

Learn How To Number Your Fingers And The Frets On The Guitar!

finger numbersBefore you can dive in to playing the guitar you should understand how your fingers and the frets on the guitar are numbered. These may seem like simple topics but it is important for you to know which finger to put on which fret. Let’s get started.

When I talk about finger numbers I am talking about the fingers on your left hand if you are right handed and the fingers on your right hand if you are left handed. Your index finger will be called your 1st finger, your middle finger will be called your 2nd finger, your ring finger will be called your 3rd finger and your pinky will be called your 4th finger.

Frets are the metal strips that are mounted on the fretboard of the guitar. The fret closest to the headstock of the guitar is the 1st fret. If you put your finger right behind this fret you would be playing on the 1st fret of the guitar. Move a finger up one fret to play the 2nd fret and so on.

Make sure you know how to number your fingers and frets before moving on to the next guitar lesson in the Beginner Guitar Quick-Start Series. Get ready to learn the parts of the guitar!

This Lesson Has 135 Comments

  • bianca says:

    Hello my name is Bianca and I am 9 and turning 10 this year I have always wanted to learn to play guitar and just today I am looking online for guitar lessons and I stumbel across your website and think that this could be my chance to learn how to play the guitar,so I find a guitar and start.I am on BEGINNER GUITAR QUICK-START SERIES NAMES OF THE GUITAR STRINGS and I am dieing to see the next part so thanks so much for making this website.

  • Emma says:

    Hi, I’ve just bought my first electric guitar having played accoustic many years ago. Your lessons are great for refreshing the basics & I’m pleased to find I haven’t forgotten everything. A problem I am having though is that the steel strings are killing my fingers & am only able to play for 30-40 mins at the moment – is there any way to toughen the ends of my fingers up?

    • Nate Savage says:

      Hey Emma,
      The only way to toughen up your fingers is to practice consistently. 30 minutes per day at least 4-5 times per week.
      It will get better after a while if you stick with it!
      Hope that helps!

    • melody says:

      u can try lighter strings. if ur strings r to heavy they r hard 2 hold down. U can also try thimbles, but i better take option 1 :)

    • Shakespear09 says:

      Consider using a product like QUIKCALLUS® to provide an artificial callus, LIQUID SKIN® is used by Cellists and works just as well for guitarists when fingers tips get tender….and constant practice will eventually toughen them. Plus don’t put lotion on fingertips or soak in water, it will make them soft.

  • john says:

    my fingers hurtin alot…plx help

    • Peter says:

      Bro i fail at guitar playing i dont even know where to put my fingers!!! anyways im 12 and i dont know if i will learn fast.

    • Sandie P says:

      This reply is really more to Peter but applies to all. I am nearly 62 years young, had extensive spinal surgeries with a bunch of metal holding my back together, plus right shoulder surgery and one more coming in about 2 weeks. I want to play and I will play. It will not be easy but I will succeed. I have all the faith in the world that each of the people who loves music, whose heart is gladdened just to hear good music, will succeed as well. Always remember these things. It is not HOW FAST you learn but HOW WELL you learn that is important. Take all the time you need to learn well. The rest will fall into place and will give you joy forever. Consider learning a ‘journey’, not a ‘destination’. Learn something new each day because there is joy in learning plus there will always be something more to learn. Good luck to everyone.

  • Bailey says:

    Hey, I’m eleven, and I got my guitar at ten, kinda a late start, anyways, your site has been a TON of help, thanks a ton!

    • Kam says:

      If you think you are too late to learn play guitar…. I’m 37 and about to start learning how to play guitar. This weekend I will go buy a guitar at music shop. I started drumming a year ago and next I want to learn play piano as well :) Cheers!

    • Asutosh Rout says:

      Me just stepped on 33. I’ve always dreamt of playing guitar since Ive seen the instrument. I will lay my hand on a guitar this Saturday (Going to buy one). There is no age for learning. And there is nothing called late start. Believe me. Enjoy the music.

    • Sarika says:

      Yup! Never too late to pursue any long cherished dream! I’m almost 48 and my kids just gifted me a guitar!!

  • Hope says:

    Hi, do you just put your finger on the place above the fret or do you push down on it?

  • ken says:

    You guys are doing a great job,what I’ve found today is a dream come true

  • Hillary says:

    hey..!!! i got my guitar at the age of 13… Is it too late for me play a guitar..????

  • rish says:

    hi, i am starting it at the age of 24 do u think i can learn it?

    • cassie says:

      it’s never to late to learn an instrument :)

    • Sarah says:

      Hi I’m 48 years young an iv always wanted to play. My father learned by ear an was never taught an I thought he could teach me but he couldn’t an since past away. I have wrote a lot of songs an I see myself playin to my music . It’s a dream an a desire of mine to play for my church an I will with Gods help an you, thank you for putting together this web cite . God bless you.

    • Albert says:

      Hey rish!

      Wake up man, i am 48 and just starting to learn how to play! If i can the sure you can do it too!

  • archanaa says:

    i have an spanish guitar bt im nt using it frm last 4-5 months and nw 1 and 6 strings are vaibrating little bit while playing… please tell me what should i do?

  • kyra lenay howard-waihape says:

    Hi, I am very glad i got your site i am not quite shore how to play the guitar cause i only got this like a month ago and my lessons are finished

  • Vasu says:

    I had been practicing guitar about ten years back. Now I’m 40 can I start learning guitar?

  • Melanie says:

    hey this website is amazing i went to guitar lessons like 3 years ago but the guy didnt really teach us much so this is a great help

    • Natalie says:

      I went guitar lessons but i got pulled out since I barely had my lessons because he was too busy! I forgot how 2 play and I am using this website to relearn! Really useful

  • zezo says:

    thats awesome >?>

  • Phil Carter says:

    Hi I want to thank you for these instructions they are great

  • David says:

    hi, i’m wondering how hard you have to press down on the strings. do you press it all the way down on the fret board or just a little bit of pressure and not all the way down? please reply.

    • Twala says:

      First of all congrats, pick stioehmng simple, pick stioehmng you like (you will be playing it for hours on end) go to sheet music direct type in song titles you like and pick the music marked Easy Guitar if you can’t read sheet music order it in tabs (it looks like numbers your instructor can explain this to you)The first song I could play was Wild Thing, you wont need sheet music for that song, they may start you on one string notes to start as opposed to full chords, look at the sheet music if it is farily simple like the chords are A C D E G you should be good for starters if the chords look like Bm7 add 9 it will be difficult for you to start with, look for simple chords.Other easy chords for beginners areAm, A7Bm, (this one is a little hard but you can do it)C7Dm, D7Em, E7F (this one is a little hard but you can do it)G7, Gm

  • belly says:

    i am a beginner i havent really learned how to use the guitar but i am learnin i am 13 years old n dont hav a clue a bout the guitar im so lost but i need help on understannding what is the fretboard but most importantly what is a fret

  • duvexy says:

    I am starting to see real improvement in my playing. Thank you Nate

  • Clint says:

    I have been reading the comments and am thinking that I’ve just delayed my music education…..never too late to start. I’m 61, and don’t feel bad about the sore fingers….just wish they were the size they were when I was 15.

  • Camy says:

    Hi! I’m 15 and I’ve always wanted to learn how to play a guitar. Thank you so much for making this website, it helps a lot! Hopefully I’d be able to play good music by Christmas!

  • Felicitas P. Calicdan says:

    Nate your lessons are better than other guitar lessons one thing I noticed before I started playing guitar this guitar player always uses his thumb on every song he plays but I remember you said your thumb is not involved while playing the Guitar

  • matjhew says:

    Now i am 27 i had a small exposure to guitar when i was a kid now i dont remember anything is it ok that i can start as a beginner now

  • trinity says:

    hi i’ve ben playing first acts all of my 11 years alive and figured out that they aren’t real. so i made my dad buy me a real electric guitar. it’s realy big and white. this is my first year in mittle school and i dropped uot of band to foccus on the guitar. these videos have been a huge help to me and the people at my school

  • chris says:

    hi nate my name is chris and im 12 years old.can you teach me (with the website)how to play lost higway by bon jovi?

  • Peter says:

    hey im 12 two!!! :)

  • mony says:

    your lessons are really helpful i bought my guitar month ago and from the time i started hearing your lessons im getting better and better thanks ….

  • Ben Mawuena says:

    Though a beginner, I will master in three months time.

  • Jennifer says:

    I am 48 and started learning for the first time – THANK YOU for these lessons!

  • nazh says:

    a video has been removed that nate said were going to learn a song were is it ??

  • Kam says:

    I’m 37, I just bought my first guitar and started the lesson today. Merry X’mas!

  • prantik says:

    its jst amazing!!!!!!!

  • Whitney says:

    I’m 20 years old, all my life I dreamed of playing guitar because of my grandfather! And my new boyfriend is my inspiration to playing guitar now. So I want to go from being amateur to pro! I’m really excited about my lesson, looking forward to this and I hope I can make my grandfather proud.

  • Raider Arnie says:

    I am 35 and bought a guitar for christmas for the kids 17,13,12,6. But I want to learn. This lesson is ver helpful.

  • Isaac Okah Jr. says:

    Hi Nate,
    I’m mew to your guitar lessons ever since I got my acoustic guitar for Christmas, so here’s my question do you mean by left or right handed guitar playing do you mean either strumming the strings or holding them down by the frets?

  • Roger says:

    I am 65 and just starting to learn guitar, I guess it is never too late. I was very apprehensive about learning until I found your site. Thanks guys!


  • tintin says:

    This is looking good. I’m in. Thanx.

    • rachid says:

      Hey Scott,Love the review. I just buhogt a New Old Stock 300ex (white- just like yours). It’s buzzing like crazy! How was the setup of yours when you got it? I’ve been reading that this is the bane of Chinese production. They can build them nice, but they lack on the setup.Any advice before I blow another $200 on a setup and fret dressing?I play a full step down with a pick, so I am riding the line, but my Peavey Millenium is still taking the beating better than the iceman. I buhogt the

  • Haas says:

    I am 13 and i have had a little guitar since i was 6. I have always wanted to learn and my mom wouldnt ever pay for lessons and if i learn to play my dad will get me an electric guitar:) This site has sved me!

  • maria says:

    does it matter what fingers you put above what frets?

    • sara says:

      no and yes if you are just playing around than who cares but if you are playing a song than yes 1 goes on the first 2 goes on the second and so on.

  • sarah says:

    i have the same question as maria

  • shiv says:

    hi, that’s a nice post. i hope you will continue to do this, good

  • me says:

    i just want to learn basic songs and how to strum them correctly

  • tadhg says:

    Do u need to no music thery, 2 learn the guitar

  • AndyC says:

    Hey, I got my guitar at 53 – That’s a late start…
    Anyway, I’m new to all this and the site looks really good.
    Thanks for the amount of time and effort you have put in to helping everyone. You are why the internet is a world changing system, I may never be a great guitarist but at least I have a chance to enjoy my guitar.
    Thank you.

  • Harshita says:

    ThANk U.. :)

  • Genevee Swanagan says:

    Honestly, I am way past retirement but I am still vibrant. I just bought an acoustic at the pawn shop. That’s right; I am in my 60s and retired from Administrative duties as a career, which was never my dream in the first place. I just always had to make money. I am also an Internet Writer, am working on a novel but my dream was always to learn guitar. I guess I just want to say that as long as there is life in one’s body, it’s never too late to try anything your heart desires. I am finding the instructions, comments and feedback very helpful. Thank you. : D

    • jean says:

      Just wanted to say that i am also in my 60′s and, like you, have always wanted to learn to play the guitar. I fully agree that it is never too late to fulfill one’s dreams. Glad to have this websight.

  • zohaib says:

    My name is zohaib hassan an i am a muslim boy i want to learn guitar please help me becouse i love guitar and music very much

  • Schuyler says:

    A problem I’m having. I’m basically learning guitar all by myself with the help of videos like these (thank you!) but I;m not understanding something. If I push down on a string on a fret and then pluck that string, it doesn’t make a sound like it does for everyone else. I’m confused? I just bought it and it’s tuned and everything.

  • Solomon Rodrigues says:

    Hi i am a complete beginner and the middle finger of my right hand does not work (u can say diabled) so would it be fine if i catch the frets with my right hand and play with the left

  • elisa says:

    Hi my name is elisa hogan and im turning 11 next month and im really happy that im finally going to learn something like a intrumint and im not going sit to down on the couch eating crisp or sweet anymore.:)

    • Suelem says:

      What I have always told pelope is that while searching for a good online electronics retail store, there are a few aspects that you have to remember to consider. First and foremost, you need to make sure to get a reputable as well as reliable store that has gotten great opinions and scores from other consumers and business sector leaders. This will make certain you are getting along with a well-known store to provide good support and support to their patrons. Many thanks for sharing your notions on this web site.

  • Steve Fender says:

    thank you Nate, you’ve just made my day!

  • Lea directioner says:

    This is my first time to play guitar

  • Anna says:

    Dear Nate,
    i have 19 frets on my guitar. is that normal? Also the first fret on your guitar looked maybe a half inch to a full inch away from the head bored, yet mine is, at most, 3 centimeters away. why?

  • venkyzz says:

    thank you

  • santosh lakandri says:

    hi this is me santosh lakandri.
    i read in akashganga intl academy. i always wanted to play a guitar.when i used to see the boys playing guitar i also wanted to play but now i am able to play in concerts.if you have any comments contact me my band name rose

  • alejandra says:

    where do we go to find the free sheets for this lesson

  • Andrew says:

    Thnx that’s so helpful

  • jerryk says:

    this is awesome

  • jerryk says:

    i hope this will be a worthwhile experience.

  • jerryk says:


  • jerryk says:


  • bella says:

    i like it its cool because u can see the artists pictures

  • Jocelyn Peterson says:

    I just got my new guitar yesterday and i already feal like im better than yesterday!+

  • sherice says:

    guitar doesn’t have frets and I don’t know what to do now…
    Can I make it myself or what can I do?

  • rory says:

    the video wont play for me?

  • Roo Carrera says:

    Hey Cool!

  • Glen Roberts says:

    I am 53 years old, disabled due to an incurable eye disease. My little brother, who has been playing for 30 years, bought me a very nice Yamaha acoustic guitar for my birthday, which was 5 days ago. I am determined to learn to play while I still have some usable vision left. I have learned 6 coords so far, and my fingers are killing me. I know that I have to keep practicing, and the pain will go away soon enough. I use several sites for beginners, and yours is my favorite. Keep up the excellent work. My biggest regret is that I didn’t start learning early on in life. My brothers first guitar was a hand me down from me, and he is totally awesome. I just wanted to let you know what a great job you’re doing, and to encourage anyone, any age, it’s never to late to learn!!!

    • Nate Savage says:

      Hey Glen. You are right! It’s never too late to learn. I get emails from people all the time that are worried that it is too late for them to learn. People like you are great testimonies that it’s never too late. :)

  • ehsan says:

    thank you for your advice

  • joshua says:

    Good teaching but I’m just going stick with youtube

  • joshua says:

    :) :D ;) ;D XD X)

  • Joseph says:

    Hey thank you so much for all the hard work to make it ezy for people like me I LOVE YOU GUYS

  • Philip says:

    I don’t know what’s the problem but this is not working out for me. I just can’t play any of these notes because every time I touch the string with my left hand (it doesn’t metter how gently) the notes wont play. And I know the guitar isn’t the problem so how do I improve myself

  • warda says:

    Thank you so much :)

  • zardoz says:

    I’m 49, I’m an Army veteran. I’ve been retired for 15 years. It really never is too lat to do anything you want to do. A couple of years ago I got back into motorcycles after 26 years away from them… I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar. I bought a decent acoustic a few months ago and now it’s time to learn how to play it! The site looks great and I think I might be able to learn something from it! Thanks for your help :)

  • nike hello kitty says:

    Votre blog propose un regard neuf sur le sujet

  • john says:

    i bought a guitor an year ago, i have been keeping it enclosed in a guitor bag for the whole until i found your site. Your site is the best. This is brilliant compilation. Thanks for the good work

  • hope says:

    im 10 years old i just started 7days ago and i think this website helps alot

  • Maggie says:

    What kind of guitar do you have?

  • me says:

    You are soo helpful I went online to other places and none have been as easy and helpful as your website.I can actually understand and after listening to just 2 of your topics I can understand more about my guitar than I ever did.I thought it was so hard before I found this website and now I’am happy to say it’s going to be fun to learn,thanks.

  • dfj says:

    what kind of guitar are you using

  • victor says:

    hello im kinda a begginer!! your a really good guitar teacher!! =)

  • Ryanna says:

    Useful information ur a good teacher

  • todd w says:

    I love how you teach and your style I am just learning I recently just bought a jasmine acoustic guitar.

  • dilipkumar says:

    Hi,I am a medical student but no time to go for classes.this web site really awesome helps me to learn and saves my time.

  • dha says:

    you r the ony way

  • Cris says:

    I am 34 and always wanted how to play a guitar. Would I still have a chance??

    • Nate Savage says:

      Of course Cris. Most of my students that use the Guitar System are between the ages of 40 and 60, give or take a few years. :)

  • Noah says:

    Am so glad for this site, I have desired to learn guiter for 10 years no
    but all in vain. Its my hope that this is going to help.
    Thanks alot guys

  • molly walker says:

    Hi, I just wanted to tell you that I have never laid a finger on a guitar before until i got one from my grandfather who plays all the time. And its very frustrating for me to learn how to play because the only thing I have ever been focused on is soccer I never really had time to try something new. And this website is making it so much more easier to learn how to read the notes and play guitar.
    Thank you.

  • Becky Weaver says:

    I got a J Reynolds Guitar for Christmas and I have always wanted to learn how to play guitar I tried learning how to play the fiddle but I couldn’t stick with it. I love your site it is very relaxed and I love it. The only thing i’m worried about is that ive heard that from pressing on the strings so much it will make your fingers bleed! Is there any way I can prevent that from happening?
    I love your site can’t wait to learn more from you Nate!!!

  • please help me i m not good fingring moved on guitar freat board.i have so much problem on 6 string. says:


  • aamir says:

    Hi sir how are you are great that you ate telling I want to learn I understand the easy way thanks

  • Ethan.t says:

    Hey I’m trying to learn radioactive any advise? 9 turning 10. [¥¥¥¥’mmkbejenjdnndmdmmdmmddmkdmdmdmdmdmdmdmdmdmdmxmdmxmxmxmxmxmxxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxkxkxkxmmxmxmx1/2


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