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A-Style - description of certain types of mandolin. The A-style mandolin has a pear shaped body which is symmetrical.
Abalone - colourful shell material commonly inlaid on instruments for decoration. Abalone comes in a vast array of colours and is very beautiful.
Accent - a note or chord which is emphasised.
Accidental - a musical notation symbol used to raise or lower the pitch of a note.
Acoustic guitar - a classical or steel-strung instrument with a hollow bodied sound chamber.
Action - the height of the guitar strings above a fret or fretboard, usually measured from the top of a fret to the bottom of the string.
Active - when pickups are said to be active they normally have a power source such as a 9 volt battery to power active circuitry.
Aeolian mode - the mode which starts on the sixth degree of the major scale.
Amplifier - electronic device used to boost the signal from a guitar pickup or microphone.
Archtop - a guitar with a curved top and back.
Arpeggio - a succession of chord notes played one after another.
Augmented - an augmented chord is a major triad (1 3 5) with a raised fifth (i.e. 1 3 5#).
Bar - a section of music for a grouping of note values over a given length of time, also know as a measure.
Barre - the method of placing the first or other fingers across the strings to hold down adjacent chord notes.
Bass note - the lowest pitched note in a chord or harmonic movement.
Belly - the name of an archtop soundboard.
Bigsby - a type of tremolo/vibrato unit.
Binding - the continuous strip of wood around the edge of a guitar (as found on many Gibson Les Paul?s)
Blues - an expressive form of North American folk music. Usually distinguished by a syncopated 4/4 rhythm, flatted thirds and sevenths, and a 12-bar structure.
Bolt On - normally refers to an instrument whose neck is attached by bolts rather than being glued in place.
Book matched - most tops and backs of instruments are 2 pieces of wood glued together to form one panel. When that panel is book matched the wood which it came from has been cut into slices and 2 consecutive slices (pages) are laid open like the pages of a book to form one panel.
Bottleneck - a technique for sliding a metal bar or tube along the strings to play notes and chords.
Bout - the term applied to the upper and lower section of the guitar body.
Bracing - the strips of wood found inside an acoustic guitar which are used for support and tonal distribution.
Bridge - the section for fixing and supporting the strings on an acoustic guitar. The method of supporting the strings on an electric or acoustic guitar.
Bridge Pin - bridge pins press into the bridge to anchor the strings in place.
Camber - the curvature of the fretboard, also known as the radius.
Capo - a device clamped to the strings with a screw, elastic or spring mechanism. It holds the strings across any of the lower fret positions enabling open strings on higher fret positions to be played. They also lower the action.
Celluloid - a common plastic used on instrument pickguards, tuning buttons and binding. Celluloid is known to shrink and deteriorate with time and may require replacement on some vintage instruments.
Chord - two or more notes played together.
Chromatic - full scale which includes all twelve notes a semitone apart within an octave.
Classical - standard compositional repertoire played on a classical guitar.
Clef - symbol for setting the stave at a given pitch.
Compound interval - an interval larger than one octave.
Controls - normally rotary potentiometers (pots) or switches used to control electrical signals.
Counterpoint - two or more lines of a melody played at the same time.
Course - normally a pair of strings placed together to be played with normal fingering.
Cutaway - the section of the guitar body which has been cut away to allow better access to the higher part or register of the fingerboard.
Cycle - a series of related musical structures, e.g. the circle of fifths or cycle of keys.
Diatonic - the seven note major and minor scale system.
Diminished - term applied to a minor chord (1 b3 5) with a lowered fifth (i.e. 1 b3 b5) and a chord comprising of minor third intervals. Or a scale composed of successive tones and semitones.
Dobro - a type of resonator guitar.
Dominant - the note or chord on the fifth degree of a diatonic scale. Often notated with the ?V? Roman numeral.
Dorian mode - the mode which starts on the second degree of the major scale.
Dreadnought - a large steel-string acoustic guitar.
Effect - the result of signal processing to modify a sound.
Enharmonic - the relationship between two pitches that represent the same note (i.e. G# and Ab).
Equalizer - an electronic device used to filter differing frequencies within a signal to modify tone.
Extemporisation - see improvisation.
Feedback - a sound produced by a string or microphone picking up and amplifying its own signal from a loudspeaker.
"F" hole - the ornamental sound holes on archtop and thinline guitars.
Fingerboard - wooden section with mounted frets for stopping the strings with the fretting hand, also known as a fretboard.
Fixed melodic minor - this is an Aeolian mode with a raised sixth and seventh in both the ascending and descending form.
Flamenco - indigenous music and dance of Andalusia in Southern Spain.
Flat - symbol (b) used for lowering a note by a semitone. A double-flat (bb) moves the note down by two semitones (one tone).
Flat top - the flat soundboard on a steel-string guitar.
Floating Pickup - a pickup that is suspended over the body rather than being built into it. Commonly found on arched top guitars, these pickups are frequently attached to the end of the fingerboard or pickguard so as not to interfere with the acoustical properties of the instrument or alter it structurally. It is often convenient to mount the pickups jack and any volume or tone pot right on the pickguard making it entirely removable.
Frequency - the number of cycles per second, which determines pitch (measured in Hertz, Hz).
Fret - the metal strips placed across the fingerboard to determine semitonal spacing.
Friction peg - a round wooden peg to hold each string on a solid headstock.
Golpeador - a type of pickguard for tapping rhythms on flamenco guitars.
Hammer-on - a technique for sounding notes with the fretting hand fingers.
Harmonic - these are upper parts of a note, related to the fundamental which are played by touching a string a certain points. Creates a chiming sound.
Harmonic minor - an Aeolian mode with a raised seventh.
Harmony - the simultaneous relationship and order of musical notes.
Headstock - the top section of the guitar neck for mounting the machineheads or tuning pegs.
Heavy metal - intense guitar-based rock music played at high volume and speed, often featuring sustain, overdrive and virtuoso playing.
Heel - the reinforced section of the guitar neck where it joins the body.
Improvisation - creative process of composing music or soloing ad lib.
Intabulation - music in guitar tablature form.
Interval - the distance between two notes.
Inversion - the order of notes in a chord from the bass note.
Ionian mode - another name for the major scale.
Key - the pitch reference for a diatonic scale.
Lead - a cable for carrying the guitars electrical signal. Also a term for single note playing or soloing.
Leading note - the note or chord on the seventh degree of the major scale. Often marked with the Roman numeral VII.
Ledger line - small line for placing notes above and below the stave.
Legato - a smooth, even approach to playing consecutive notes.
Ligado - the term for hammering and pulling-off notes.
Line - a succession of single notes.
Locrian mode - the mode starting on the seventh degree of the major scale.
Luthier - a guitar maker.
Lydian mode - the mode starting on the fourth degree of the major scale.
Machinehead - mechanical device for adjusting the pitch of guitar strings.
Major - chord with a major third between the root and the third. Scale with major and perfect intervals.
Mediant - the note or chord on the third degree of the major scale. Often marked with the Roman numeral III.
Melodic minor - this is an Aeolian mode with a raised sixth and seventh in an ascending form, and a normal Aeolian in its descending form.
Melody - single notes in a recognisable pattern.
Minor - chord with a minor third between the root and the third. Scale with minor and perfect intervals.
Mixing - method of controlling and blending recorded sounds.
Mixolydian mode - the mode starting on the fifth degree of the major scale.
Mode - a scale.
Modulation - movement from a section of music in one key to another key.
Multitracking - storing separate tracks on a reel of tape.
Natural - a symbol for cancelling the effect of a sharp of flat.
Nut - the point at which the strings are supported as the run from the fingerboard to the headstock.
Octave - an interval of twelve semitones. The same note vibrating mathematically related frequencies.
Passive - an instrument?s electronics which has no power source (like a 9 volt battery) or active circuitry.
Pentatonic - a five note scale.
Phrase - a musical sentence.
Phrygian mode - the mode starting on the third degree of the major scale.
Pickguard - a plate which protects the guitar body from being scratched by picking with a plectrum.
Pickup - a coil wound with fine enamelled copper wire which converts the vibrations of the guitar strings into electrical signals.
PIMA - letter names for the picking hand fingers, derived from the Spanish language.
Plantilla - the outline shape of a classical guitar.
Plectrum - object for striking the strings held by the picking hand. Also known as a pick or flat-pick.
Polepiece - the individual metal poles within the pickups under each string.
Pot -potentiometer for controlling a signal. Also known as a variable resistor.
Preamp - a signal boosting device.
Psychedelia - drug-based popular music featuring various types of sound treatment, multi-texturing sound layers, and unusual forms. Pioneered by British and American bands in the late 1960?s.
Pull-off - fretting hand technique for sounding a note by playing one note and quickly releasing to sound another without re-picking.
Purfling - decorative inlays next to the bindings of a guitar.
Rasguedo - method of strumming used by flamenco guitarists.
Relative minor - the minor system starting on the sixth degree of the major scale.
Relief - the upward bow found in an instruments neck that allows the strings to vibrate without hitting the frets.
Resolve - a musical progression which brings an ending to part of a piece.
Rest - a period of silence.
Rhythm - a pattern of notes and accents.
Ribs - the sides of a guitar.
Rock - music derived from blues and country music in the 1950?s.
Root - the letter-name reference note for a chord.
Rosette - the circular decoration round the soundhole of an acoustic guitar.
Saddle(s) - the point on the bridge for supporting the strings.
Scale length - the length between the nut and the saddle.
Sequence - often a term for a song or a chordal pattern.
Shape - the outline form of a chord or scale on the fingerboard.
Sharp - symbol (#) for raising a note by a semitone. A double-sharp is used to raise a note by two semitones (one tone).
Slide - method for sliding in pitch between notes.
Sol-Fa - system of one syllable abbreviations for scale notes. The notes are Do-Re-Me-Far-Sol-La-Ti-Do.
Solo - an improvised passage over music.
Solid-state - the use of modern transistors in electronics such as amplifier circuits.
Soundboard - the top or table of the guitar.
Soundhole - normally a circular section cut out of the soundboard to allow sound energy to project from the soundchamber.
Space - the gap between lines on a stave.
Speaker - circular cone for projecting amplified sound.
Stave - a grid for placing music.
Strum - method for striking chords with the picking hand.
Studio - a room for recording or practising.
Subdominant - the note or chord on the fourth degree of the major scale. This is often marked with the Roman numeral IV.
Submediant - the note or chord on the sixth degree of the major scale. This is often marked with the Roman numeral VI.
Supertonic - the note or chord on the second degree of the major scale. This is often marked with the Roman numeral II.
Syncopation - a rhythm emphasising offbeats.
Synthetic scale - a non-diatonic succession of notes.
Tablature - a method for writing music down showing the position of notes on the frets and strings. Also known as tab.
Tailpiece - metal frame or stud for holding the strings on the guitar body.
Tempo - the speed of the music in relation to the beat or pulse.
Time signature - two-tier symbol showing the number of notes and value in a bar.
Tonality - relationship to a keynote or pivotal tone for a harmonic system.
Tone - 1 a major second. 2 The colour or quality of the sound. 3 A note.
Tonic - the note or chord on the first degree of the major scale. This is often marked with the Roman numeral I.
Transducer - a device for transferring energy from one form to another. Used to describe a type of pickup used for amplifying acoustic instruments.
Transposition - moving a section or a piece of music to a new key with a new pitch.
Tremolo - 1 used for a mechanical (vibrato) arm for controlling pitch. 2 A sound-processing effect. 3 The fast repetition of a single note. 4 A term for vibrato.
Triad - a three-note chord with intervals of thirds in root inversions.
Tritone - this is an interval using three whole-tones (tri-tone). It is normally an augmented fourth, or a diminished fifth.
Truss rod - reinforcing metal rod for stabilising and adjusting the neck.
Tuners - machineheads.
Valve - glass tube which amplifies sound (signal), very much like the modern day transistor.
Vibrato - 1 used for a mechanical arm for controlling pitch. 2 A sound processing effect. 3 A technique whereby a fretted noted is moved rapidly (a slight fluctuation in pitch) to create an effect or enhance tone.
Whole tone - an interval of a major second. Also a six-note scale using whole tons over an octave.
Wolf note - a note which is irregular or weak due to the properties of acoustic resonance.
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