The Guitar Tricks Guitar Glossary Needs You!


Bryan Hillebrandt
Registered User
Joined: 03/13/09
Posts: 23
Bryan Hillebrandt
Registered User
Joined: 03/13/09
Posts: 23
07/01/2009 8:24 pm
Hey all,

We got a great suggestion from Itsmesilly about creating a glossary of guitar terms.

We thought this was a great suggestion so we've put together a list of terms that come up a lot and that could be useful to players of any level.

Here's where you come in. We've compiled a good list to start with but there are probably a lot of other terms that we left out. So take a gander at the list below and reply to this thread if you have any suggestions for other terms we might have missed.

Thanks for your help and keep those suggestions coming!

Bryan




12 String Guitar - An acoustic or electric guitar with six pairs of strings with each pair tuned to the same note.

Action - The distance of the strings from the fretboard

Alternate Picking - An alternating picking pattern

Alternate Tuning - Tuning the strings to something other than the
standard EADGBE, such as Dropped D Tuning or any number of open tunings

Arch Top Guitar - A steel-stringed semi-acoustic or acoustic guitar with a large body and an arched top. These are particularly popular with Jazz players

Arpeggio - A chord broken into individual notes played one at a time.

Barre Chords (also Bar Chords) - A chord formed by placing the index finger of the left (chording) hand across two or more strings--like a bar or capo. In standard tuning the bar allows players to move a chord into a different position on the fretboard.

Bending - Changing the pitch of a note by pushing or pulling a string across the fretboard.

Bridge - Transfers sound from the strings to the body of the guitar.

Capo - A device used for shortening the strings and raising the guitar's pitch.

Chord - Three or more notes sounded simultaneously.

Cutaway - Concave areas on the body of a guitar near where the neck meets the body that allow access to notes higher on the fretboard.

Delay - An effect echo effect that repeats notes at a given rate until it fades out.

Distortion - An effect that alters the normal tone of an electric guitar and makes it warmer or more gritty.

Dreadnought - A large body style of guitar originally developed by C.F. Martin & Company and widely copied by other manufacturers

Dropped-D Tuning - An alternate tuning where the sixth string (E) is lowered by a whole tone (to D).

Electric Guitar - A guitar which uses magnetic pickups to convert the vibration of the strings into electrical current that can be amplified.

Finger Picks - Picks that attach to the finger, similar to those used by banjo players.

Fingerstyle - A style of playing where the player uses the fingers instead of a pick.

Flat - A note that is one half step below another. Also a note that is lower than it should be.

Fret - Raised strips of metal that cross the fretboard and are generally laid out in half step intervals

Fret Board - The front part of the neck.

Fretting - Pushing the string to the fretboard

Hammer On - Fretting a note by pressing hard and quickly. Often used with the pull off.

Harmonics - Sounds achieved when a string is struck but not fretted, with a finger resting at one of several places on the fretboard.

Head Stock - The top part of the neck where the tuning keys or pegs are mounted

Hollow Body Guitar - An electric guitar with a body that is mostly hollow and has one or more pickups.

Humbucker or Humbucking pickup - A guitar pickup that is designed to cut down on interference (hum) that single-coil guitars normally pickup. They are generally louder than single coils.

Hybrid Picking - Picking with a pick and fingers alternately or simultaneously.

Interval - The distance between two notes.

Inversion - A chord where the lowest note is not the root.

Lap Steel Guitar - A type of guitar usually played with a slide and placed on a players lap. Originally known as Hawaiian Guitars, these gave rise to resonator guitars and, eventually, the lap steel electric guitars which were the first electric guitars.

Lead Guitar - In a band with two (or more) guitarists the lead plays the solos

Legato - Transitioning between notes smoothly.

Major Scale - a scale consisting of a series of whole steps except for half steps between the third and fourth and seventh and eighth degrees.

Minor Scale - a scale having half steps between the second and third, fifth and sixth, and seventh and eighth degrees, with whole steps for the other intervals.

Modulate - Changing keys within a piece of music

Neck - The part of the guitar that supports the fretboard

Nut - A piece of bone, wood, or metal mounted at the top of the neck near the headstock that supports the strings and keeps them above the fretboard

Open Tuning - An alternate tuning where the strings are tuned to notes in a given chord.

Palm Muting - Using the palm of the strumming hand to dampen the strings and prevent them from sustaining.

Pedal Tone Legato - Repeated notes surrounding a melody.

Pentatonic Scale - A five-tone scale.

Pick - A piece of plastic, nylon, or other material used to strum.

Picking - Causing the strings to vibrate by either plucking them with the fingers or strumming them with a pick

Pickup - A device that converts string vibration to electrical current.

Pickup Selector - A switch that allows selection of one or more pickups

Plectrum - Another name for a pick.

Popping - Placing a finger or thumb behind a string and pulling it away
from the fretboard before letting it go. Creates a snappy, percussive tone.

Power Chord - A chord made up of the root and the fifth and eighth degrees of a scale. Often used in Rock music.

Pull-off - A technique where a string is plucked by pulling the string off the fingerboard with one of the fingers used for fretting.

Resonator Guitar - An acoustic guitar that produced sound by means of one or more metal cones (resonators) as opposed to the wooden soundboard on most acoustics.

Rhythm Guitar - Rhythmic strumming that serves as backup for a lead guitarist, singer, or ensemble.

Roll - A repeating riff, usually played fast. Popular with country players.

Saddle - Part of the bridge that holds the strings in place.

Scale - A group of musical notes collected in ascending and descending order that make up a given key.

Sharp - A note that is one half step above another. Also a note that is higher than it should be.

Single Coil Pickup - A guitar pickup made of one single coil of copper wire around a magnet. The first type of guitar pickup produced, these are still widely used.

Slapping - Hitting the string with the thumb to create a percussive effect.

Slide - A glass or metal tube placed over the third or fourth finger of the fretting hand. Used mostly in blues music, but also in Rock and traditional music.

Standard Tuning - Where the strings are generally tuned EADGBE low to high.

Strap - A piece of leather, cloth, or other material used to keep the guitar in a certain position when standing

Strings - Lengths of metal, nylon, or other materials that vibrate when struck and create sound.

Strumming - Playing all strings in a single motion.

Sweep Picking - A type of picking popular in Metal playing where the player “sweeps” a pick across the strings to produce a series of notes that sound fast and fluid. The sweeping action of the picking hand is coupled with a matching technique in the fret hand.

Tablature or Tab - A notation system that shows fretboard finger
placement.

Tapping - A technique where one hand taps the strings against the fretboard sounding legato notes. This is often coupled with similar action in the other hand.

Tempo - The speed or pace of a piece of music.

Touch Technique - Another name for Tapping

Transpose - To change the key of a piece of music by a specific interval.

Tremolo - Either rapid plucking of a note to produce a wavering effect or the sound achieved by a tremolo effect unit.

Triad - A three-note chord.

Truss Rod - A steel bar that runs the length of the neck that provides structure and prevents curvature.

Tuner - A device that detects the pitch of notes and aids in tuning.

Vibrato - A pulsating change in pitch

Vibrato Bar - A bar that is attached to the bridge that allows the player to change the pitch of the strings.

Voicing - The arrangement of the notes in a chord.

Whammy Bar - Another term for Vibrato Bar.
# 1
Jon Broderick
Administrator
Joined: 10/31/00
Posts: 3,320
Jon Broderick
Administrator
Joined: 10/31/00
Posts: 3,320
07/02/2009 3:22 am
classical guitar? nylon string guitar?
Jon Broderick
Guitar Tricks Instructor


www.GuitarTricks.com - Home of Online Guitar Lessons
# 2
LisaMcC
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 11/02/06
Posts: 3,978
LisaMcC
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 11/02/06
Posts: 3,978
07/02/2009 1:58 pm
Key signature
Time signature
Lisa McCormick, GT Instructor
Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Blues

Full Catalog of Lisa's Guitar Tricks Tutorials
Find Lisa on Facebook!
# 3
LisaMcC
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 11/02/06
Posts: 3,978
LisaMcC
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 11/02/06
Posts: 3,978
07/02/2009 2:05 pm
Major chord
Minor chord
Seventh chord
(etc.)

Humidifier

Thumb pick (attaches to thumb)

Bottleneck

Pick Guard

Sound hole

Key of...(What does it mean to be "in the key of" A?)

First Position (etc.)
Lisa McCormick, GT Instructor
Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Blues

Full Catalog of Lisa's Guitar Tricks Tutorials
Find Lisa on Facebook!
# 4
nmguitars
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 05/10/05
Posts: 71
nmguitars
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 05/10/05
Posts: 71
07/02/2009 7:38 pm
Vibrato Bar - A bar that is attached to the bridge that allows the player to change the pitch of the strings.

While this is technically correct I think you need to add a note here about the technically incorrect but much used term "Tremolo Arm" which is what it always used to be called before someone came up with "Whammy Bar"

Something like Tremolo Arm - see Vibrato Bar.

Also;
Strap button,

Bridge Pin,

Jack Socket,

Jack,

Damping - LH and RH





actually LH = Left Hand, RH = Right hand could be in the glossary as well and maybe P I M A the classical right hand system
# 5
fofirufis212
Registered User
Joined: 06/01/09
Posts: 2
fofirufis212
Registered User
Joined: 06/01/09
Posts: 2
07/02/2009 9:31 pm
Thanxs!! This helped me understand the videos and other technical disscusion better!
# 6
K2BT
Registered User
Joined: 09/17/08
Posts: 24
K2BT
Registered User
Joined: 09/17/08
Posts: 24
07/03/2009 1:46 pm
Back when I first started playing in '69 we called the tremolo arm a 'whiskey stick'. It may have been a regional thing in the Philly area and I don't know how it came about. I was wondering if anyone else used that term. Thanks for the great site, John-K2bt
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Gibson SG Special
Marshall MA50 Head
Peavey Penta Full Stack Amp
Peavey Windsor Half-Stack
Boss GT-10 Guitar Processor
Springfield 1911 - 45cal to protect investment

K2BT- my amateur(ham) radio call sign
# 7
Ben Lindholm
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 02/02/02
Posts: 980
Ben Lindholm
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 02/02/02
Posts: 980
07/04/2009 8:42 pm
Dive/Bar dive -

you pluck a note at its original pitch and push the tremolo bar down as far as it can go

Pinch Harmonic/Artificial Harmonic -

harmonic created by hitting the string with your picking hand, usually the thumb, immediately after the pick hits it - thereby killing the full vibration of the string, leaving this "pinch harmonic". Sounds best and most with lots of distorsion.
# 8
AirCushion
Registered User
Joined: 03/28/08
Posts: 1
AirCushion
Registered User
Joined: 03/28/08
Posts: 1
07/08/2009 2:02 pm
The "Minor Scale" entry describes the Harmonic Minor scale. I think it should be changed to Natural Minor, i.e., take out the part that says there is a half step between the seventh and eighth degrees, in order to avoid confusion.

On the same note, it would be good to add the modes in there, or at least define the word "mode".
# 9
sixpicker
Telecastered Instructor
Joined: 03/12/04
Posts: 756
sixpicker
Telecastered Instructor
Joined: 03/12/04
Posts: 756
07/09/2009 9:28 am
Hello Everyone,
Here are a few for now, and I'll see what else I can come up with.

progression

Pulling (a string to bend it)

Squeeze lick

Double stop

Downstroke/Upstroke

Circle of 5ths

B Bender

Tone

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure I'll have more.
# 10
Itsmesilly
Registered User
Joined: 01/16/09
Posts: 292
Itsmesilly
Registered User
Joined: 01/16/09
Posts: 292
07/09/2009 5:12 pm
I keep a notebook for when I am doing lessons and stuff. In the back of the book I always write down words I didnt know or should know...thats why I made the suggestion. Sorry if I suggest some already listed

maybe terms found in describing scales...
what is perfect
a major.. a minor
chromatic scale...
diotonic scale etc
augmented
diminished
vamp
natural
accidental
inversion
phrase
# 11

Please register with a free account to post on the forum.