The purpose of this page is to provide a list of all relevant music, guitar and guitar related terms, arranged alphabetically. Ideally they should be kept brief, around two to three sentences.

List of TermsEdit

  • Archtop: A type of electric guitar that has a hollow body. Therefore making it part acoustic and part electric. This hybrid construction means the tone of these guitars differs from the solid-body electric guitar. They are used extensively by guitarists who play jazz.
  • B.C. Rich: is a manufacturer of guitars and bass guitars founded by the late Bernardo Chavez Rico in 1969. Currently most B.C. Rich guitars are manufactured in Asia but luthiers of the company's custom shop continue to hand-make instruments. Hanser Music Group now operates the Southern California B.C. Rich custom shop. As of 2001, no member of the Rico family is involved in the production of B.C. Rich guitars.
  • Blues Scale: a pentatonic scale with the addition of the "blue" note: diminished fifth.
  • Chromatic scale: Western music organizes its twelve sounds into a scale known as the chromatic scale. The chromatic scale is available at different frequencies. This can best be seen on the layout of the keyboard with its five black keys and seven white keys representing successive registers of the chromatic scale.
  • Cutaway: Applicable to acoustics since electric guitar can take virtually any shape. A place on the body of the guitar where part of the body front and back is "cut away", and then the sides wrapped around the removed area. The result looks like a regular acoustic guitar. The purpose of the cutaway is to allow the guitarist's hand to fret notes further down the neck.
  • EMG Incorporated: A company based in Santa Rosa, California, which manufactures guitar pickups. Founded in 1976, the company was originally called "Dirtywork Studios". The name was changed to "Overlend" (spelled "Overland" in some sources. "EMG" stands for "Electro-Magnetic Generator". EMG pickups are standard equipment on some models from guitar manufacturers such as BC Rich, ESP Guitars, Ibanez and Jackson Guitars.
  • Epiphone Company: A musical instrument manufacturer founded in 1873 by Anastasios Stathopoulos. Epiphone was bought by Chicago Music Company, who also owned Gibson Guitar Corporation, in 1957. Epiphone was Gibson's main rival in the archtop guitar market. Their professional archtops, including the Emperor, Deluxe, Broadway and Triumph. Aside from their guitars, Epiphone also made bass guitars, banjos and other stringed instruments. However, the company's weakness in the aftermath of World War II allowed Gibson to absorb it. 
  • Feedback: A high pitched sound that comes through an amplification system when the output from the speakers or amplifiers are picked up by the microphones or pickups, creating an infinite loop.
  • Fret: The fretboard of the guitar is divided into twelve squares known as frets. Fretwire is the name given to the thin metal strips that are hammered into the wood of the fretboard to delineate each fret. When you press a string down within a fret, you change the length of the string and therefore the frequency that it vibrates at.
  • Fretboard: The thin piece of wood attached to the face of the neck on the front side of the guitar. It consists of the frets and provides a smooth surface for the guitarist's fingers to make contact with.
  • Guitar: A stringed musical instrument (chordophone) that is plucked when played. A descendant of the Spanish vihuela (16th century) and the earlier medieval four-course Latin guitar.
  • Headshell: The plastic or metal covering on the end of a piece of cabling use to connect to an amplifier.
  • Headstock: The piece on the end of the neck that has the tuning pegs and nut attached to it.
  • Humbucker: A type of pickup that uses two coils at opposite polarity, thereby eliminating some of the background hum on single coil pickups.
  • Ibanez: A guitar brand owned by Hoshino Gakki and based in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Hoshino Gakki were one of the first Japanese musical instrument companies to gain a significant foothold in the United States and Europe.
  • Interval: A name used to describe the relationship between two notes. There are two types of intervals in music: harmonic or melodic. The numerical part of the interval name is found by counting the letters used in notation: C to E is an interval of a third, F to D is an interval of a sixth.
  • Jazz: An American music genre that has its origins in the ragtime and blues music of the early 1900s. Jazz music is characterized by collective improvisation, the use of syncopation and an extended harmonic approach to chords.
  • Masonite: A type of hardboard invented by William H. Mason. It is formed using wooden chips, blasting them into long fibers with steam and then forming them into boards. The boards are then pressed and heated to form the finished boards. No glue or other material is added. The long fibers give Masonite a high bending strength, tensile strength, density and stability. Unlike other composite wood panels produced using formaldehyde-based resins to bind fibers, Masonite is made using natural ingredients only, which makes it an environmentally friendly product.
  • Mode: A scale system that precedes the modern "major-minor" system. Used extensively by medieval composers (Gregorian chant being the most well-known example). Two of the "Church modes" went on to form the basis of our "major-minor" system: Ionian and Aeolian.
  • Neck: The long piece of wood that extends from the body to headstock that the guitar strings are tensioned across and which has the fretboard. Thus allowing the guitarist to shorten (fret) the open strings to produce a higher pitch.
  • Note: A standardized measurement of an increase in pitch. Notes are described as being sharp or flat in relation to how higher or lower they are in relation to the accepted method of tuning.
  • Octave: It is the note that a scale starts and ends on. Octaves occur at double or half a given frequency. If you press down any string at the twelfth fret, you are halving the string, so the string will play an octave higher.
  • Pentatonic scale: A scale that uses five notes that is found in most cultures world-wide and is considered to be of ancient origin. In the modern "major-minor" system is considered as either a natural minor scale or major scale with the second and sixth omitted.
  • Pick-up: A magnetic coil that detects the string vibration on an electric guitar. There are two main kinds, single-coil and humbuckers.
  • Pick: A piece of plastic or metal used to hit the strings. Also referred to as a plectrum.
  • Pitch: A measure of how high or low a sound is, which on the guitar is related to how fast or slow the string is vibrating. Shorter strings vibrate faster, and make higher notes.
  • Root note: The term is usually used to describe the first note from which a chord is constructed. It is sometimes used to describe the first note of a scale.
  • Scale: Derived from the Italian word "scala" meaning "ladder". A sequential ordering of notes using set intervals that represents a tonal centre (key) or quality.
  • Semitone: The smallest interval in music. The chromatic scale that contains all the available notes in western music contains twelve semitones.
  • Shergold Guitars: (or Shergold Woodcrafts Limited) Guitar manufacturer. Established in October 1967 by former Burns of London employees Jack Golder and Norman Houlder. Based in East London, the company moved from Forest Gate to Harold Wood in 1973.
  • Tonic: The name of the first note of a scale. It may also refer to the chord built on the first note of the scale.
  • Tone: A general term to refer to the texture, colour or mood of a particular sound. For instruments it specifically refers to the general qualities of the sound produced.
  • Tone (alternate): A measurement between one note and another note, consisting of two semitones. On the guitar it is measured by two frets.
  • Tremolo bar: An alternative name for a vibrato bar. This was popularized by Leo Fender, who misnamed it when it was invented.
  • Tuner: An electronic tuning aid for guitarists. It shows the frequency in hertz of a struck string using a display especially designed for guitar string frequencies; thereby allowing the guitarist to lower or higher the pitch of the string until the correct frequency for each string is achieved.
  • Whammy bar: Another name for a vibrato bar.
  • Vibrato bar: A device on electric guitars that allows you to quickly lower and raise the pitch of your strings, thereby allowing you to move the tone up and down as you wish.

Getting Started: Different Types of Guitars | Anatomy of a Guitar | Buying a Guitar | Buying an Amplifier | Tuning the Guitar | Tablature | Lead Guitar and Rhythm Guitar
For Beginners: The Basics | Intervals and Power Chords | Open Chords | Muting and Raking | Learning Songs | Song Library
Lead Guitar: Picking and Plucking | Scales | Arpeggios and Sweep Picking | Slides | Hammer-ons, Pull-offs, and Trills | Bending and Vibrato | Harmonics | Vibrato Bar Techniques | Tapping
Rhythm Guitar: Chords | Barre Chords | Chord Progressions | Alternate Picking | Tremolo Picking | Rhythm
Playing Styles: Folk Guitar | Blues | Slide Guitar | Rock Guitar | Country and Western | Metal | Jazz | Classical Guitar | Flamenco
General Guitar Theory: Tone and Volume | Singing and Playing | Writing Songs | Playing With Others | Recording Music |Tuning Your Ear | How to Continue Learning
Equipment: Guitar Accessories | Effects Pedals | E-Bow | Cables | Bass Guitar | Harmonica and Guitar Combo
Maintenance: Guitar Maintenance and Storage | Adjusting the Guitar | Stringing the Guitar
Appendices: Dictionary | Alternate Tunings | Chord Reference | Blanks
Last modified on 22 February 2011, at 03:31