Guitar Glossary

Action
The height of the strings above the fret board.

Acoustic-Electric
An acoustic guitar with built-in pickups which you can plug into an amp.
More on Acoustic-Electric Guitars.
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Alternating bass
A style of playing where the right hand alternates between two or more strings.

Arpeggio
A chord played one note at a time.

Bar
A sub division of time in music.

Bar line
A vertical line which shows the end of a bar of music.

Barre Chord
A barre chord takes its name from the role of the 1st finger of your left hand. This finger acts as a "bar" across the fingerboard, depressing all six strings and replacing the nut (the ivory piece at the top of the neck). By using your first finger as a "bar," you can move many of the open chords you have learned up and down on the fingerboard.
More on Barre Chords
What's the correct way to form barre chords?

Bass-strum style
A right hand technique which involves picking a bass note then strumming the rest of the chord.

Beam
A horizontal line which shows two eighth or sixteenth notes belonging to the beat shown on the bottom of the time signature.

Beat
A sub division of time usually felt as the pulse within a piece of music.

Body
The main part of a guitar (not the neck).

Capo
A capo is a mechanical device that places a barre across the strings which as the effect of shortening the guitar's scale and thus raising its pitch. Huh? Basically we're talking about a clamp that puts a barre across the strings and makes the guitar's scale shorter. The effect is that you can play your familiar open chords (i.e., the basic "C", "D", "G", etc. chords you learned as a beginner) but now they're higher in pitch so you're playing in a different key.
more on capo's

Chord
A group of three or more notes played simultaneously.
Chords tips, resources, sites
Chords 2 learn chords without reading music
Chords 3 musical Theory of Chords
List of Chord finders you can use.

Chord chart
A diagram which shows a chord progression.
See a Chord Chart text file covers: Ab, Abm... to Gdim, Gaug
where to find more chord charts/programs/sites

Chord progression
A sequence of chords played one after another.

Chromatic Scale
Because the chromatic scale has twelve notes and each fret on the guitar moves up one half-step, every note appears on all six strings somewhere before the twelfth fret. In other words, there is an 'E' on every string, an 'A' on every string, a 'Gb' on every string, etc.
More on the Chromatic Scale

Count in
A count at the start of a piece of music to show when to start and how fast to play (usually the top number on the time signature).

Double bar line
Two vertical lines which show the end of a section or piece of music.

Down stroke
Right hand movement from top to bottom.

Eighth beat
A beat half as long in time as a quarter beat.

Electric guitar
A guitar which can be electrically amplified (usually with a solid body).

Fingerstyle
A right hand technique which involves using some or all your right hand fingers.
The Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists

Flat
Lower in pitch.

Four/four time
A time signature of four quarter beats in one bar of music.

Fret board
The front side of a guitar neck which contains the frets.

Frets
The vertical metal bars on a guitar fret board.
see Fret size, radius, and scale length
see Guitar Anatomy
see when did the FRET first appear?

Fretting
Placing a finger next to a fret.

Guitar tablature
A system of reading and writing guitar music (abbreviated to TAB).
Guide to Tablature
List of TAB resources on 1000 Great Guitar Sites
TAB archive of 300+ popular TABs
First of four pages listing TAB sites
Guitar Music Archive search slot

h chord
This is old German notation for a flat chord.
More on the h chord.

Half beat
A beat twice as long as a quarter beat.

Harmonize
To bring two or notes together in harmony.

Harmony
Two or more notes sounding simultaneously.

Headphone Amp
Headphones with a built in amplifier that plugs directly into your guitar - some contain effects and amp modeling technology.

Headstock
The part of a guitar situated on the end of the neck which houses the machine heads.

Machine heads
Used for tuning up each string and housed on the headstock (sometimes referred to as tuning heads or tuning keys).

Melody
A succession of musical notes played one after another (usually the most recognizable tune of a song).
Melody is Boss by Kirk Lorange

Neck
The part of a guitar which houses the fret board.

Nylon string guitar
An acoustic guitar which has three nylon strings.

Open
A string played with no left hand fingers fretting any note.

Pickups
An electromagnet housed underneath the strings on an electric guitar which produces a signal to be amplified by a guitar amplifier.

Plectrum A small triangular shaped piece of plastic used for striking the guitar strings with the right hand.
List of the different types of guitar picks - plus you can purchase them.

Power Chord
A chord which contains no 3rd (suspended chords, and chords containing 3 or more notes exempted).
More on Power Chords
General Chord Theory
How to play Power Chords
Chord tips & sites
Power Chord lesson
another Power Chord lesson
Beyond Power Chords

Quarter beat
A sub division of time in music twice as long as an eighth beat.

Repeat sign
Two dots placed before a double line indicating the repeat of a section of music.

Rhythm
A sequence of events played with the right hand on a guitar which gives a piece of music a distinct beat.

Rhythm notation
A system of reading and writing music which shows rhythm.

Sharp
Higher in pitch.

Shuffle
A rhythm of which each main beat is divided into three smaller beats (prominent in blues music).

Silent Guitar
A special type of acoustic guitar that makes virtually no sound - you wear headphones when you play it.

Sound hole
The hole in the front of an acoustic guitar body from which the sound is projected.   More...
sound hole

Steel string guitar
An acoustic guitar which has all steel strings (usually four wound and two plain ones).

Stem
The vertical line in music or rhythm notation which appears above or below a note or rhythm.

Strap
Used to hold the guitar while in standing position.

Strumming
A technique where the right hand plays the noted of a chord simultaneously either with down or up strokes.

Swing
A rhythm in music in which the down beat is felt slightly longer than the up beat (sometimes called a shuffle).

Synth Pedal
Unlike a guitar synth where you use a guitar to control a synthesizer - a Synth Pedal is used as an effects pedal to add synth effects to your guitar sound

Tempo
The speed of a piece of music.

Three/four time
A time signature of three quarter beats in one bar of music.

Three quarter beat
A beat which is one and a half times as long as a half beat.

Tie
A curved line which shows two notes of the same pitch joined together and played as one with the time value of both.

Time signature
A sign at the beginning of a piece of music (looks like a fraction) which shows how many beats in each bar (top number) and how long each beat lasts (bottom number).

Travel Guitar
A guitar that can be folded up and carried in a small bag.

Truss rod
A curved metal bar implanted into the neck of a guitar used to adjust the amount and direction of bend in the neck.

Twelve/eighth time
A time signature of twelve eighth beats in one bar of music.

Up stroke
Right hand movement from bottom to top.

Volume Pedal
A pedal which lets you control the volume of your guitar out-put before it reaches your amplifier.

Waist
Part of the body of a guitar which is smallest in dimension from top to bottom.

Whole beat
A beat in music which lasts for a whole bar in music with a time signature of four/four.


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