Glossary of Terms
Accent – An accented note is used to develop rhythms. Accented notes are not necessarily louder, but slightly more aggressive and have more attack than regular notes.
Action – The distance between the strings of a guitar and the fretboard. A lower action makes the guitar easier to play but may result in a buzzing noise (See Fret Buzz).
Arpeggios – When a guitar player plays a solo and plucks the notes of a chord in succession he is using arpeggios. In other words, Arpeggios are the notes of chords plucked individually instead of strummed.
Amp – The Amp is half of your rig, the other half is you and your guitar. . . Amps can range from a small 6 inch speaker to a wall of chaos. Amps go jointly with Volume.
Bridge – The bridge is the (usually shiny and silver) piece of metal on your guitar that sets the string height. It is on the body of the guitar and contains the saddles that the strings sit in.
Changes – Jazz and Blues songs use changes where each measure may be in a range. The Changes' is the same as saying the Chord Progression'.
Double Stop – A soloing technique, used a lot in Blues, where a play frets two notes adjacent to each other.
Fret Buzz – The unwanted noise of the string vibrating against the frets. Can be fixed by increasing string tension or raising the action of your guitar.
Fret Hand – The hand that is used to fret the notes. Usually the left if you are right handed.
Flamenco – A style of guitar from mexico that holds a complex tradition to the country. It is played with different flicks on the finger and hand to create odd rhythms and melodies.
Geetar – Slang for Guitar. A Geetar may be used to describe a Guitar that is more folk or country in nature.
Groovin' – Slang used when your really getting down with the beat. When a bass player is really locked in with the drummer and they are playing really tight, they are groovin'.
Harmonic Node – The point on a standing wave where is moves the least. Such as the middle of your hand if you pivot it.
Harmony – The use of different notes but the same rhythm to make a more expressive melody. Harmonies can be very complex or easy.
Harp Harmonics – When you fret a string and pluck it at the respective node or halfway point of the string. You can do this by placeing you picking hand finger over the string and plucking the string with your thumb..
Headstock – The Headstock is the piece of your guitar that contains the tuning pegs and is separated from the neck by the nut. It will also contain the brand name of your guitar and model.
Jam Session – A Jam session is between more than one player. Songs are usually based off of a simple groove and then improvised from beginning to end.
Lead – The lead is the part of the song that has the melody or solo. A lead line, or player, is usually single notes but not limited to single notes.
Legato – The opposite of Staccato, Legato is a technique where notes are played to their full value, long and connectected. Often to get a more Legato sound players will use long lines of slured notes on the same string.
Natural Harmonics – Natural harmonics are created when you place your finger on the string but done fret it and pluck it.
Nut – The nut of the guitar is on the opposite side of the bridge and sets the width of the strings at the headstock end of the guitar. Nuts are susceptible to being brittle after age and can break, but are easily replaced.
Neck – The neck is connected to the body of the guitar with bolts or glue, and is sometimes a complete piece that runs through the guitars body. The neck contains the fretboard and often times is the same piece of wood that contains the Headstock of the guitar.
Pizzicato – Used more often in orchestral strings. The string is plucked rather than played with a bow.
Pickup – The Pickup is a device made up of thousands of wraps of 42 gauge wire around a set of 4, 5, 6, or 7 magnets, depending on how many strings there are on your guitar. The magnets pickup the vibration of the steel string and convert it into electrical energy.
Picking Hand – The opposite hand of the fretting hand, this is the hand that is placed above the pickups or sound hole and is usually the right hand if you are primarily right handed.
Pinch Harmonics – Produced by the thumb or finger nail slightly touching the string immediately after it being plucked.
Practice – What is practice? Stories have been told about few guitarists who have developed a time in which they practice only the things they are struggling with. Rumor has it that practice can actually help playing techniques and sound.
Rumba – A collection of rhythms that originates from Africa. There are both Cuban and Spanish Rumas.
Rhythm – Rhythm is the length and accentuation of notes and tones at the speed of the tempo. Rhythm is usually thought of as being more important to drummers, however if a guitar player or bassist doesn't have a good rhythm, someone is getting cut from the band.
Scales – The great fundamentals of music. Scales are a selected pattern of notes that are correct' for playing melodies and solos.
Slides – When notes are tied together by sliding your finger up the fretboard instead of plucking the next note.
Strings – Long spaghetti like strands of silvery sound. Strings should be replaced if they become hard to keep in tune or star to rust.
Staccato – Also means short and separated. This is a technique of playing where each note is very short and has space between each following note.
Tuning pegs – The Strings are attachted to the tuning pegs and the pegs are wound to tighten the string and make them in tune. The tuning pegs, if you purchased your guitar at an authorized dealer, should be in the headstock, otherwise you are probably not playing a guitar.
Trill – Much like a Tremolo a Trill is a quick alteration between two notes. It can be used in all types of music.
Tremolo – A tremolo is a quick alteration of two notes at a blazing speed. You can use a whammy bar to do this is you wiggle it in both directions quickly. It may also be used to describe a picking technique where the player picks as fast as possible out of time.
Trembalo – Great slang from Stong Bad himself. Used in his reply to one of his fans when they ask if he knows how to play the guitar.
Virtuoso – Someone who has an exceedingly great talent for and instrument. Virtuoso is usually a word that describes guitarist but is not limited to guitarists.
Volume – Volume is the leading cause to hearing failure. Volume has also been linked to disturbance and police calls. However, volume has also been known to create large amount of adrenaline and fun. Volume is best used when up.