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Guitar Terms Glossary

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A list of guitar-related topics.

Standard guitar variations

Acoustic guitar

An acoustic guitar is a guitar that uses only acoustic methods to project the sound produced by its strings. The term is a retronym, coined after the advent of electric guitars, which rely on electronic amplification to make their sound audible.

Archtop guitar

An archtop guitar is a steel-stringed acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar with a full body and a distinctive arched top, whose sound is particularly popular with blues and jazz players.

Classical guitar

The classical guitar — (also called the "Spanish guitar" or "nylon string guitar") — is a 6-stringed plucked string instrument from the family of instruments called chordophones. The classical guitar is well known for its comprehensive right hand technique, which allows the soloist to perform complex melodic and polyphonic material, in much the same manner as the piano.

Electric guitar

An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric signals. Since the generated signal is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker. Since the output of an electric guitar is an electric signal, the signal may easily be altered using electronic circuits to add color to the sound. Often the signal is modified using effects such as reverb and distortion. Conceived in 1931, the electric guitar became a necessity as jazz musicians sought to amplify their sound. Since then, it has evolved into a stringed musical instrument capable of a multitude of sounds and styles. It served as a major component in the development of rock and roll and countless other genres of music.

Flamenco guitar

Flamenco guitar can also refer to toque, the guitar-playing part of the art of Flamenco. Both uses are documented on this page.

The luthiers of Andalusia made instruments in a wide range of prices, largely based on the materials used, and the amount of decoration. The cheapest guitars were often simple, basic instruments made from the less expensive local woods such as cypress, rather than imported rosewood. Antonio de Torres, considered the Stradivarius of the guitar, did not differentiate between flamenco and classical guitars: it was only later, after Segovia, that these differences were claimed (see José L. Romanillos "Antonio De Torres: Guitar Maker-His Life and Work" (1987, 1997).

The traditional flamenco guitar is made of Spanish cypress or sycamore for the back and sides and spruce for the top, which accounts for its characteristic body color, and is lighter in weight than a classical guitar, to give the sound a “brighter” and more percussive quality. This is achieved by reducing the amount of internal bracing and thickness of the materials used in the body and top construction. The top is typically made of either spruce or cedar, though other tone woods are used today. Volume has traditionally been very important for flamenco guitarists, as they need to be heard over the sound of the dancers’ nailed shoes: to increase the volume of the instrument, harder woods, such as rosewood, can be used for the back and sides, with softer woods for the top.

In contrast to the classical guitar, the flamenco is often equipped with a tap plate (a golpeador), commonly made of transparent plastic, similar to a pick guard, whose function is to protect the body of the guitar from the rhythmic finger taps, or golpes. Even so, a well used Flamenco guitar will only survive so long before the constant "golpes" wear through the top. Frequent replacement and patching of the "golpeador" help.

Flat top guitar

A flat top guitar is a type of guitar body model which has a flat top (as opposed to archtop). The term "flat top" is usually used to refer to the most popular type of steel-string acoustic guitars, however, electric guitars such as the Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster as well as the Gibson Les Paul Junior or Special can be described as "flat top".

Fretless guitar

A fretless guitar is a guitar without frets. It operates in the same manner as most other stringed instruments and traditional guitars, but does not have any frets to act as the lower end point (node) of the vibrating string. On a fretless guitar, the vibrating string length runs from the bridge, where the strings are attached, all the way up to the point where the fingertip presses the string down on the fingerboard. Fretless guitars are fairly uncommon in most forms of western music and generally limited to the electrified instruments due to decreased acoustic volume and sustain in fretless instruments. However, the fretless bass guitar has gained fairly widespread popularity and many models of bass guitar can be found in fretless varieties. Fretless Electric Bass is particularly popular among Jazz, Funk and R&B players due to the similarity in feel and sound to the acoustic double bass.

Parlor guitar

Parlor or parlour guitar usually refers to a type of smaller-bodied guitar smaller than that of a concert guitar.

The popularity of these guitars peaked between the late 19th century until the 1950s. Many blues and folk musicians have used smaller-bodied guitars, which were often more affordable, mass production models.

Parlor guitar has also come to denote a style of American guitar music from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Noted composers include William Foden, Winslow Hayden, William Bateman, Justin Holland, Wilhelm Bischoff and the American Blues great, Robert Johnson. The music for the guitar includes a variety of dance forms (waltz, schottische, polka), instrumental arrangements of popular songs, guitar arrangements of then popular classical music, operatic arrangements and music from European guitar composers (Sor, Giuliani, Carcassi, Coste and Mertz). The Scruggs style and its banjo rolls are based upon and contemporary with parlor-style guitar.

The parlour guitar is also currently enjoying a renaissance amongst fingerpicking guitar players across the USA and Western Europe. There are a number of modern luthiers making parlour guitars in a wide variety of tonewoods. Their defining characteristics are a brightness of tone and an often surprising volume for such small guitars. Although they might be underpowered compared to larger guitars, modern amplification has made sound volume a non-issue.

Resonator Guitar

A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar whose sound is produced by one or more spun metal cones (resonators) instead of the wooden sound board (guitar top/face). Resonator guitars were originally designed to be louder than conventional acoustic guitars which were overwhelmed by horns and percussion instruments in dance orchestras. They became prized for their distinctive sound, however, and found life with several musical styles (most notably bluegrass and also blues) well after electric amplification solved the issue of inadequate guitar sound levels.

Resonator guitars are of two styles:

  • Square necked guitars designed to be played in steel guitar style.
  • Round necked guitars, which may be played in either the conventional classical guitar style or in the lap steel guitar style.
  • There are three main resonator designs:

  • The "tricone" ("tri" in reference to the three metal cones/resonators) design of the first National resonator guitars.
  • The single cone "biscuit" design of other National instruments.
  • The single inverted-cone design of the Dobro.
  • Many variations of all of these styles and designs have been produced under many brands. The body of a resonator guitar may be made of wood, metal, or occasionally other materials. Typically there are two main sound holes, positioned on either side of the fingerboard extension. In the case of single cone models, the sound holes are either both circular or both f-shaped, and symmetrical; The older "tricone" design has irregularly shaped sound holes. Cutaway body styles may truncate or omit the lower f-hole.

    Semi-acoustic guitar

    A semi-acoustic guitar or hollow-body electric is a type of electric guitar with both a sound box and one or more electric pickups. This is not the same as an electric acoustic guitar, which is an acoustic guitar with the addition of pickups or other means of amplification, either added by the manufacturer or the player.

    Other semi-acoustic or acoustic electric instruments include basses and mandolins. These are similarly constructed to semi-acoustic guitars, and are used in the same ways and with the same limitations.

  • More often, the instrument is designed primarily to be used with an amplifier, and the sound box is used primarily to produce an amplified tone not obtainable with a solid body instrument.
  • Some are borderline between these two types. For example, some electric archtop guitars are physically and acoustically identical to models from the same company without pickups, but the electric versions are almost never seen in performance without an amplifier. So, although the instrument is demonstrably capable of use as an acoustic instrument, in practice this does not occur.

    Tailed bridge guitar

    Some electric guitars have an extended bridge for their tremolo system, named a tailed bridge guitar because of its shape. Most of these tailed bridge guitars were designed in the sixties and used in surf music.

    The first tailed bridge guitars were designed by Leo Fender; the Fender Jaguar and the Fender Jazzmaster, both of which became popular among surf rock groups in the early to mid 1960s. It became popular again in the 1990s when it was used by a number of alternative rock players.

    Twelve string guitar

    The twelve-string guitar is an acoustic or electric guitar with 12 strings in 6 courses, which produces a richer, more ringing tone than a standard six-string guitar. Essentially, it is a type of guitar with a natural chorus effect due to the subtle differences in the frequencies produced by each of the two strings on each course.

    Pitch-based variations

    Baritone guitar

    The baritone guitar is a variation on the standard guitar, with a longer scale length that allows it to be tuned to a lower range. It first appeared in the classical music realm. The Danelectro Company was the first to introduce the electric baritone guitar in the late 1950s, and the instrument began to appear in surf music, as well as background music for many movie soundtracks, especially spaghetti westerns. In more recent history, the baritone guitar has found use within rock and metal. Some Baritone guitars may also have the capacity to be used as a bass guitar if strung correctly.

    A standard guitar's standard tuning (from lowest string to highest) is E A D G B E. Baritone guitars are usually tuned a perfect fifth lower (A D G C E A), a perfect fourth lower (B E A D F# B), or a major third lower (C F B♭ E♭ G C). Gretsch, Fender, Gibson (EB-6), PRS Guitars, Music Man, Danelectro, Jerry Jones, Burns London and many other companies have produced baritone guitars since the 1960s, although always in small numbers due to low popularity.

    Baritone guitars have larger bodies than standard guitars, especially in the case of acoustic instruments, and have longer scale lengths which allow the strings to be tuned lower while remaining close to or at normal tension. On a standard, steel-string, acoustic guitar, the scale length (the distance from the nut or string guide to the saddle on the bridge) is typically 24.9" to 25.7", and the strings range in diameter from .012" to .054". The scale lengths of various baritone designs range from 27" to 30.5", and the string gauges range from the normal .012 - .054" set to sets as thick as .017 - .095". Shorter-scale baritone guitars are more like long-scale guitars, having more midrange volume, whereas the longer scale lengths and heavier string sets give more bass to the instrument's timbre. Shorter scale baritones tend to be tuned C-C or B-B whereas longer ones are typically tuned A-A.

    Bass guitars

    - Acoustic bass guitar

    The acoustic bass guitar (also called ABG or acoustic bass) is a bass instrument with a hollow wooden body similar to, though usually somewhat larger than a steel-string acoustic guitar. Like the traditional electric bass guitar and the double bass, the acoustic bass guitar commonly has four strings, which are normally tuned E-A-D-G, an octave below the lowest four strings of the 6-string guitar, which is the same tuning pitch as an electric bass guitar.

    Because it can be difficult to hear an acoustic bass guitar without an amplifier, even in settings with other acoustic instruments, most acoustic basses have pickups, either magnetic or piezoelectric or both, so that they can be amplified with a bass amp.

    Traditional music of Mexico features several varieties of acoustic bass guitars, such as the bajo sexto, with six pairs of strings, and the guitarrón, a very large, deep-bodied Mexican 6-string acoustic bass guitar played in Mariachi bands.

    - Bass guitar

    The bass guitar (also called electric bass, or simply bass) is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb (either by plucking, slapping, popping, tapping, or thumping), or by using a plectrum.

    The bass guitar is similar in appearance and construction to an electric guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and four, five, or six strings. The four string bass—by far the most common—is usually tuned the same as the double bass, which correspond to pitches one octave lower than the four lower strings of a guitar (E, A, D, and G). The bass guitar is a transposing instrument, as it is notated in bass clef an octave higher than it sounds (as is the double bass) to avoid excessive ledger lines. Like the electric guitar, the electric bass guitar is plugged into an amplifier and speaker for live performances.

    Since the 1950s, the electric bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music as the bass instrument in the rhythm section. While the types of basslines performed by the bass guitarist vary widely from one style of music to another, the bass guitarist fulfills a similar role in most types of music: anchoring the harmonic framework and laying down the beat. The bass guitar is used in many styles of music including rock, metal, pop, punk rock, country, blues, and jazz. It is used as a soloing instrument in jazz, fusion, Latin, funk, and in some rock and heavy metal styles.

    Tenor guitar

    The tenor guitar is a slightly smaller, four-string relative of the steel-string acoustic guitar or electric guitar. The instrument (in its acoustic form) was developed so that players of the four-string tenor banjo could double on the guitar. Later, solid-body electric models were also produced.

    Tenor guitars are four stringed instruments normally made in the shape of a guitar, or sometimes with a lute-like pear shaped body or, more rarely, with a round banjo-like wooden body. They can be acoustic and/or electric and they can come in the form of flat top, archtop, wood-bodied or metal-bodied resonator or solid-bodied instruments. Tenor guitars normally have a scale length (from bridge to nut) of between 21 and 23 inches.

    Steel guitars

    Lap steel guitar

    The lap steel guitar is a type of steel guitar, from which other types developed.

    There are three main types of lap steel guitar:

  • Lap slide guitars, the first developed, which use a similar sound box to a Spanish guitar. These were originally called Hawaiian guitars and included versions that had a factory raised nut, but also included Spanish guitars with a nut extender.
  • Resonator guitars, particularly those with square necks, but would include round neck versions with a raised nut.
  • Electric lap steel guitars, which include the first commercially successful solid body instruments. These were originally marketed as Electric Hawaiian guitars. There are two types: one that sits on the musician's lap and a second version that has legs and was called a console version, but did not include pedals or knee levers. Electric lap steels are typically made with six to ten strings.
  • Lap slide and resonator guitars may also be fitted with pickups, but do not depend on electrical amplification to produce their sound.

    Pedal steel guitar

    The pedal steel guitar is a type of electric guitar that uses a metal bar to "fret" or shorten the length of the strings, rather than fingers on strings as with a conventional guitar. Unlike other types of steel guitar, it uses foot pedals and knee levers to affect the pitch, hence the name "pedal" steel guitar. The word "steel" in the name comes from guitars made of metal – such as those made by the National guitar company in the 1920's – which were used for Hawaiian steel guitar music. The instrument is horizontal with the strings face up, and is typically plucked with thumbpick and fingers or (two or three) fingerpicks. The pedals are mounted on a cross bar below the body and the knee levers extend from the bottom of the guitar's body and are used to stretch or slacken the strings and thus change the pitch in the process of the guitar being played; the action of the pedals may either be fixed, or may be configurable by the player to select which strings are affected by the pedals. The pedal steel, with its smooth portamenti, bending chords and complex riffs, is one of the most recognizable and characteristic instruments of American country music.

    While there are some fairly standard pedal assignments, many advanced players devise their own setups, called copedents. The range of copedents that can be set up varies considerably from guitar to guitar. Aftermarket modifications to make additional copedents possible are common.

    The pedal steel was developed from the console steel guitar and lap steel guitar. Like the console steel, a pedal steel may have multiple necks, but the pedals make even a single-neck pedal steel a far more versatile instrument than any multiple-neck console steel.

    Extra strings

    Seven-string guitar

    A seven-string guitar is a guitar with seven strings instead of the usual six. Some types of seven-string guitars are specific to certain cultures (i.e. the Russian and Brazilian guitars).

    Seven-string electric guitars are particularly used in certain styles of music, and have been popular over the past few decades in the heavy metal genre. Mainstream artists such as Steve Vai, Muse, Dream Theater, Staind, Rush, and Metallica have all experimented with seven-string guitars over the years on different albums. Some artists, such as Korn, Meshuggah, and Five Finger Death Punch, have created an identifiable, signature, and distinctively heavy sound using them almost exclusively in their music.

    Eight-string guitar

    An eight-string guitar is a guitar with eight strings instead of the commonly used six strings. Such guitars are not as common as the six string variety, but are used by classical, jazz, and metal guitarists to expand the range of their instrument by adding two strings.

    Eight string variations are also found in classical nylon strung instruments. They are generally tuned with two extra basses ([BD]EADGBE) that vary in pitch depending on the piece being played. Another common variation is to add an extra bass and treble string. The extra treble is almost always tuned to A, while the added bass string usually falls on A, B, or C.

    The Classical guitarists Paul Galbraith and Alexander Vynograd are two of the most notable 8 string players who use the extra high and low string tuning. Galbraith generally tunes (B)EADGBEA which puts standard 6 string guitar chord voicings and scale shapes within the neck and allows him to read directly off of lute tablature (a whole step higher). Vynograd chooses to tune AEADGCEA (notice the B string is tuned up a half step) which allows him to play the top 6 strings like a guitar a 4th higher. Vynograd writes his music on a grand staff in a different key and plays as if the guitar was tuned EBEADGBE. This is a less confusing approach than Galbraith's for a 6 string guitarist transitioning to 8 because the fingerings and sheet music are more familiar.


    3rd Bridge

    The 3rd bridge is an extended playing technique used on some string instruments (notably the electric guitar), that allows a musician to produce distinctive timbres and overtones that are unavailable on a conventional string instrument with two bridges (a nut and a bridge). The timbre created with this technique is close to that of Gamelan instruments like the bonang and similar Indonesian types of pitched gongs.

    Third bridge instruments can be custom-made by experimental luthiers (as with guitars designed and played by Hans Reichel); modified from a non-third bridge instrument (as with conventional guitars modified with a pencil or screwdriver under the strings); or may take advantage of design quirks of factory-built instruments (as with the Fender Jazzmaster which has strings which continue from the "standard" bridge to the tremolo piece).

    Perhaps the best-known examples of this technique come from No Wave artists like Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth. The 3rd bridge technique has a physical connection with Pythagoras' monochord, because both function with the scale of harmonics. Also many non-Western musical scales and musical instruments share these consonant just pitch relations.

    Harp guitar

    The harp guitar (or "harp-guitar") is a stringed instrument with a history of well over two centuries. While there are several unrelated historical stringed instruments that have appropriated the name “harp-guitar” over the centuries, the term today is understood as the accepted vernacular to refer to a particular family of instruments defined as "A guitar, in any of its accepted forms, with any number of additional unstopped strings that can accommodate individual plucking." Additionally, in reference to these instruments, the word "harp" is now a specific reference to the unstopped open strings, and is not specifically a reference to the tone, pitch range, volume, silhouette similarity, construction, floor-standing ability, nor any other alleged "harp-like" properties. To qualify in this category, an instrument must have at least one unfretted string lying off the main fretboard. Further, the unfretted strings can be, and typically are, played as an open string.

    This family consists of an almost limitless variety of different instrument configurations. Most readily identified are American harp guitars with either hollow arms, double necks or harp-like frames for supporting extra bass strings, and European bass guitars (or kontragitarres). Other harp guitars feature treble or mid-range floating strings, or various combinations of multiple floating string banks along with a standard guitar neck.

    Gittler guitar

    A Gittler Guitar is an experimental designed guitar created by Allan Gittler (1928–2003). Gittler felt that sentimental design references to acoustic guitars are unnecessary in an electronically amplified guitar, and designed his instrument with the objective of reducing the electric guitar to the most minimal functional form possible. He made 60 guitars in New York in the mid 1970s to early 1980s (selling one to Andy Summers, which he plays in The Police's "Synchronicity II" video. In 1982, Gittler emigrated to Israel, settled in Hebron, changed his name to Avraham Bar Rashi, and licensed the design to a local company in Kiryat Bialik called Astron Engineer Enterprises LTD. They computer-machined around 300, Bar Rashi commented later to the effect that he was unhappy with the manufacturing. Astron, however, claims that their instruments are precisely manufactured copies of the original construction, and that the addition of a plastic body containing electronics for simplified handling, while arguably compromising the minimalism of the original idea, had no influence on the sound or the style of playing.

    The first 60 are sometimes described as the Fishbone Gittler guitar. Three Gittler basses also exist, made in New York and numbered 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

    The Gittler guitar has 6 strings. Each string has its own pickup. Later versions have a plastic body. The steel frets, consisting of stainless steel bars pressure fitted into the stainless steel neck, give the instrument a sitar-like feel, as it is possible to bend the strings downward past where a wooden fretboard would prohibit the movement in a conventional guitar. The six individual pickups can be routed to divided outputs via D-sub-9-pin. or be mixed to a 1/4" RS connector. The built in pre-amps are powered by a 9 V battery or via D-sub connector. The New York version came without a pre-amp section; the individual pickups' signals were led into single cables, which could then be plugged into a mixing box or each separately amplified.


    A glock-guitar is a percussion instrument in the idiophone instrument family. The glock-guitar is composed of a large, flat wooden board with a smaller handle known as the akkordboard. The akkordboard usually has four round peg holes for attaching three-chime chord block sets, often making a four-note partial scale of A-minor, E, D-minor, and D. The glock-guitar can be played with several different-sized mallets or with the hand like a guitar, hence the instrument's name. The instrument is related to the glockenspiel.

    Portuguese guitar

    The Portuguese guitar or Portuguese guitarra (Portuguese: guitarra portuguesa) is a plucked string instrument with twelve steel strings, strung in six courses comprising two strings each. It has a distinctive tuning mechanism. It is most notably associated with fado.

    Prepared guitar

    A prepared guitar is a guitar that has had its timbre altered by placing various objects on or between the instrument's strings, including other extended techniques. This practice is sometimes called tabletop guitar, because many prepared guitarists do not hold the instrument in the usual manner, but instead place the guitar on a table to manipulate it.

    Vintage guitar

    A Vintage guitar is an old guitar usually sought after and maintained by avid collectors. Musicians and dealers commonly claim that older guitars have superior craftsmanship to modern mass-produced ones. Besides the considered better sound quality because of the craftsmanship it also is considered a safe money investment.

    Warr Guitars

    Warr Guitars is a company that manufactures the Warr Guitar, a guitar like musical instrument developed by the company's founder, Mark Warr.

    The Warr Guitar resembles a standard electric guitar, albeit with a very low action and more strings. It is designed for two-handed tapping techniques like a Chapman Stick, producing a similar sound to the Stick when played in this way. More traditional guitar or bass guitar techniques (like strumming, pizzicato, slap and pop or using a plectrum) can also be used. Because of the placement of the instrument's strapholders, the Warr Guitar may be played in a more upright, Stick-like position, or horizontally, like an electric guitar.

    Warr guitars have anywhere from seven to fifteen strings. The strings may be arranged so that the lowest pitched string is nearest to the player, or in the center of the fingerboard, like on a Chapman Stick, and can be tuned to any custom tuning which the player desires for a wide range of tonal qualities. The fingerboard may be fretted, fretless, or a combination of the two. Custom-designed Bartolini magnetic, piezoelectric or a combination of both of these pickups are used. If piezo pickups are added, the instrument is compatible with onboard MIDI electronics, allowing direct triggering of Roland or Axon synths from the instrument. The neck is constructed of multiple, quartersawn laminates of varying thickness. Instruments built with ten or more strings have two embedded, dual-action truss rods and dual 1/4" outputs.

    Common electric guitar models

    Fender Stratocaster

    The Fender Stratocaster, often referred to as "Strat", is a model of electric guitar designed by Leo Fender, George Fullerton, and Freddie Tavares in 1954, and manufactured continuously by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation to the present. It is a double-cutaway guitar, with an extended top horn for balance while standing. The Stratocaster has been used by many leading guitarists and can be heard on many historic recordings. Along with the Gibson Les Paul, the Gibson SG and the Fender Telecaster, it is one of the most common and enduring models of electric guitar in the world. The design of the Stratocaster has transcended the field of music to rank among the classic industrial designs of all time; examples have been exhibited at major museums around the world.

    Fender Telecaster

    The Fender Telecaster, colloquially known as the Tele, is typically a dual-pickup, solid-body electric guitar made by Fender. Its simple yet effective design and revolutionary sound broke ground and set trends in electric guitar manufacturing and popular music. Introduced for national distribution as the Broadcaster in the autumn of 1949, it was the first guitar of its kind to be produced on a substantial scale. Its commercial production can be traced as far back as March 1950, when the single- and dual-pickup Esquire models were first sold. The Telecaster has been in continuous production in one form or another since its first incarnation.

    Gibson Les Paul

    The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold in 1952. The Les Paul was designed by Ted McCarty in collaboration with popular guitarist Les Paul, whom Gibson enlisted to endorse the new model. It is one of the most well-known electric guitar types in the world, along with the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster.

    Gibson ES-335

    The Gibson ES-335 is the world's first commercial thinline arched-top semi-acoustic electric guitar. Released by the Gibson Guitar Corporation as part of its ES (Electric Spanish) series in 1958, it is neither hollow nor solid; instead, a solid wood block runs through the center of its body. The side "wings" are hollow, and the top has two violin-style f-holes over the hollow chambers.

    Gibson SG

    The Gibson SG is a model of solid-bodied electric guitar that was introduced in 1961 by Gibson, and remains popular in the present day.

    Rickenbacker 360

    The Rickenbacker 360 is an electric, semi-acoustic guitar made by Rickenbacker, and part of the Rickenbacker 300 Series. The instrument incorporates many features standard on Rickenbacker guitars, including a three-ply maple/walnut neck, shallow headstock angle, a thick rosewood fretboard finished with clear conversion varnish, and double truss rods. The 360 also features stereo or mono output, a body with Rickenbacker's "crescent moon" cutaway shape and rounded top edge and bound back, and an "R"-shaped trapeze tailpiece. A twelve string version of the 360 (Rickenbacker 360/12) is available. A three pickup version of this model is also available, the 370.

    It is also the principal guitar of R.E.M.'s Peter Buck.

    Guitar makers

    Luthier (Guitar maker)

    A luthier is someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc. The word luthier comes from the French word luth, which means "lute".

    The craft of making string instruments, or lutherie, is commonly divided into two main categories: makers of stringed instruments that are plucked or strummed and makers of stringed instruments that are bowed. Since bowed instruments require a bow, the second category includes a subtype known as a bow maker or archetier.

    Bailey, John

    John Bailey (born 1931) is a British luthier who made and repaired guitars and other stringed instruments during the 1960s revival of English folk music and beyond. Bailey lived in London until 1972 when he moved to Dartmouth in Devon. He continued to make instruments there into the 1990s.

    B.C. Rich Guitars

    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. The Hanser Music Group, based in Kentucky, operates B.C. Rich. As of 2001, no member of the Rico family is involved in the company.

    Bourgeois Guitars

    Dana Bourgeois is a luthier who heads a small guitar shop, Pantheon Guitars, in Lewiston, Maine. He makes traditionally styled acoustic guitars used in bluegrass and other acoustic music genres. His customers include Ricky Skaggs, Ry Cooder, Vince Gill, Lee Roy Parnell, James Taylor, and Guy Clark.

    Caparison Guitars

    Caparison Guitars is a Japan-based manufacturer of custom shop electric guitars.

    Carlos (guitar)

    The Carlos Guitar brand stems from Korea. A series of models have been produced and many early models were hand crafted.

    The manufacturers continued to handcraft guitars up to the late 1960s, the last said to be some of the earlier Model 249 guitars.

    Carvin A&I

    Carvin Corporation is an American guitar, musical instrument and equipment manufacturer located in San Diego, California. Carvin was founded in 1946 by Lowell Kiesel, and originally manufactured guitar pickups.

    Collings Guitars

    Collings Guitars is an Austin, TX based stringed instrument manufacturer. Founded by Bill Collings in 1973, Collings today produces acoustic guitars, electric guitars, archtop guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles.

    Cort Guitars

    Cort Guitars is a guitar manufacturer centered in South Korea. The company is one of the largest guitar makers in the world, and produces instruments for many other companies.

    Dean Guitars

    Dean Guitars is an American manufacturer of guitars. It was founded in 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by Dean Zelinsky and is currently owned by Armadillo Enterprises in Tampa, Florida. Dean owner Elliott Dean Rubinson performs and tours with major artists that use his instruments like Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth.

    Oscar Medeiros gained ownership of the brand in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    Armadillo Enterprises purchased the Dean trade name in 1997.


    The Epiphone Company is a musical instrument manufacturer founded in 1873 by Anastasios Stathopoulos. Epiphone was bought by Chicago Music Company, which also owned Gibson Guitar Corporation, in 1957. Epiphone was Gibson's main rival in the archtop market. Their professional archtops, including the Emperor, Deluxe, Broadway and Triumph, rivaled (and some contend surpassed) those of Gibson. Aside from their guitars, Epiphone also made upright basses, banjos, and other stringed instruments. However, the company's weakness in the aftermath of World War II allowed Gibson to absorb it.

    The name "Epiphone" is a combination of proprietor Epaminondas Stathopoulos' nickname "Epi" and "phone" (from Greek phon-, "sound"/"voice"), as well as a play on one meaning of the word "epiphany," namely a sudden inspiration frequently presenting itself as supernatural in origin.

    ESP Guitars

    ESP Company, Limited (株式会社イーエスピー Kabushiki Gaisha Ī Esu Pī?), located in North Hollywood, California, is a Japanese manufacturer of electric guitars and basses.

    Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

    Fender Musical Instruments Corporation of Scottsdale, Arizona is a manufacturer of stringed instruments and amplifiers, such as solid-body electric guitars, including the Stratocaster and the Telecaster. The company, previously named the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, was founded in Fullerton, California, by Clarence Leonidas "Leo" Fender in 1946. Leo Fender also designed one of the first commercially successful solid-body electric basses, the Precision Bass (P-Bass), which has become known in rock, jazz, country, Motown, funk, and other types of music.

    The company is a privately held corporation, with the controlling majority of its stock owned by a group of its own company officers and managers. William (Bill) Mendello is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer and James Broenen is Chief Financial Officer.

    Fender's headquarters is in Scottsdale, Arizona with manufacturing facilities in Corona, California (USA) and Ensenada, Baja California (Mexico).

    Fernandes Guitars

    Fernandes Guitars is a guitar and accessory manufacturer that originated in Japan. Fernandes originated in Japan in 1969 building flamenco guitars. As the company grew it expanded production to include more acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers, and accessories to become one of the biggest guitar manufacturer in Japan. During the 1970s, it became Japan's premier manufacturer of Fender copies; its Stratocaster copy, in particular, is generally considered a vastly superior instrument to the actual Fender Stratocaster's; this is due to the fact of the high quality guitar craftsmanship that came from Japan during the early 70's to compete with the American market. Fernandes also owns a brand for Gibson replicas: Burny.

    Despite its high production figures, Fernandes is better known in the United States for its Sustainer system, which uses electromagnetism to vibrate a string for an infinite period, so long as the user continues to fret a note. Unlike the similar E-Bow, it can be used with a standard plectrum. Fernandes' custom shop has installed numerous Sustainers into guitars built by other manufacturers.

    Fernandes continues to manufacture guitars that cover the range from inexpensive starter models to custom instruments of exceptional quality.

    In 2000, Fernandes made a guitar to promote the video game UmJammer Lammy, similar to Lammy's guitars.

    Flipper's Guitar

    Flipper's Guitar were a Tokyo-based Japanese pop band led and later duo by Keigo Oyamada and Kenji Ozawa. The band were influenced by the chirpy sound of British 80s pop groups like Haircut 100, Exhibit B, The Style Council and Aztec Camera, as well as the fashionably eclectic sounds of early 90s Britain, from indie dance to acid jazz. The sonic experimentation of Brian Wilson was also evident in some tracks. Oyamada was later to state that his greatest influences were "the three Bs — Beck, The Beatles and the Beach Boys".

    The group were an important part of the Tokyo Shibuya-kei scene in the late 1980s to early 1990s, and Oyamada went on to produce work for Pizzicato Five and his close friend Kahimi Karie.

    The band shows their influence on their sleeves, and their song titles often cited their British artists' influence — Goodbye Our Pastels Badges, Haircut 100, The Colourfield; the last album Doctor Head's World Tower treads the line between inspiration and plagiarism of Primal Scream's Screamadelica, Madchester artists like Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Neo-psychedelia music from the early 90s.

    Following the demise of the band in 1993 the two members pursued solo careers, Ozawa releasing the album The Dogs Bark But The Caravan Moves On under his own name, and Oyamada recording under the name of Cornelius. It was as Cornelius that Oyamada gained a minor cult following outside Japan, as well as remix work for the likes of Blur, Beck, and the Manic Street Preachers.

    Gibson Guitar Corporation

    The Gibson Guitar Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, manufactures guitars and other instruments which sell under a variety of brand names.

    Gibson Guitar Corporation was ranked the worst place to work in America, according to a survey in 2009.

    Godin (guitar manufacturer)

    Godin is a Canadian guitar manufacturer. It is owned by Robert Godin.

    Godin started building Robert Godin's guitars in 1972 in La Patrie, Quebec.

    Godin Guitars' head office is located in Montreal, and they build their instruments in six factories in four different locations, three in Quebec and one in New Hampshire.

    Greg Bennett Guitars

    Greg Bennett Guitars are produced by Samick Music Corporation.

    After 40 years of producing guitars, Korean musical instruments manufacturer Samick hired industry veteran Greg Bennett to give their guitar line a radical makeover, with the goal of improving appearance, sound quality, and build quality.

    Bennett started redesigning the instruments at his studio in Nashville, Tennessee, after which the search for the electronics and woods took place. The new Samick guitars, now under the name of Greg Bennett Guitars, possess a wide array of professional level parts including pickups designed by Seymour Duncan, machine heads from Grover and bridges by Wilkinson. The new woods used in the production are also high quality; the search for distinctive tonewoods ranged worldwide, netting woods such as ovangkohl and ebony from Africa, rosewood from India and rock maple from North America.

    Greg Bennett Guitars manufactures a range of stringed instruments including electric, acoustic and archtop guitars, electric and acoustic basses, and mandolins, banjos, ukuleles and Autoharps.

    Perhaps the most common distinctive feature in all these new instruments (apart from the mandolins, banjos and autoharps) are the signature angled-back headstock.] These headstocks feature the new logo right at the top and are designed small intentionally, as Greg states that bigger headstocks rob more energy from a vibrating string, causing less sustain.

    Guitar Center

    Guitar Center is the largest chain of musical instrument retailers in the world with 215 locations throughout the United States. Its headquarters is in Westlake Village, California.

    Guitar Center's sister companies/subsidiaries incorporate Music & Arts Center, Musician's Friend,, LMI, Giardinelli,, Private Reserve Guitars, Woodwind and Brasswind and Harmony Central.

    Heritage Guitars

    Heritage Guitars is a guitar manufacturer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States.

    Heritage Guitars was founded in 1985 by former employees of the Gibson guitar factory. In the early 1980s, Gibson, faced with excess production capacity and, some claim, a difficult relationship with its labor union, closed its historic Parsons Street factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan and relocated much of its production to its factory in Nashville, Tennessee. Some of the Gibson employees who did not want to move their homes and families to Tennessee started production of guitars under a new name, "Heritage," which was likely meant to stake a claim to their guitar-making tradition. The company set up their new factory in part of Gibson's former Kalamazoo premises, but produced instruments in much smaller numbers than Gibson had.

    The Heritage line initially consisted of electric and acoustic guitars, electric basses, mandolins, and a banjo. The line was eventually narrowed to electric guitars only. Although most Heritage guitars were, and continue to be, based on Gibson designs, a few of their early electric guitars were based on modified Stratocaster and Telecaster designs.


    Hagström is a musical instrument manufacturer in Älvdalen, Dalecarlia, Sweden. Their original products were accordions that they initially imported from Germany and then Italy before opening their own facility in 1932. During the sixties, the company started making electric guitars and later amplifiers. The early guitars were heavily influenced by the accordion production and had a special look and feel. Hagström were the first company to mass produce 8 string bass guitars as well as the first to build a guitar/synthesizer hybrid (Swede Patch 2000). In 2004 the brand was resurrected and is now in production in China. In 2008 Hagström expanded their line of products and will launch their own line of basses including a re-issue of their famous Hagström H8, an 8 string bass later this year.


    Ibanez is a Japanese guitar brand owned by Hoshino Gakki. Based in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, Hoshino Gakki were one of the first Japanese musical instrument companies to gain a significant foothold in import guitar sales in the United States and Europe, as well as the first brand of guitars to mass produce the Seven-string guitar.

    Kramer Guitars

    Kramer Guitars (pronounced "KRAY-MUR") is an American manufacturer of electric guitars and basses. Kramer produced aluminum-necked electric guitars and basses in the 1970s and wooden-necked guitars catering to hard rock and heavy metal musicians in the 1980s; Kramer is currently a division of Gibson Guitar Corporation. Kramer was one of the most popular guitar brands of the 1980s and the best-selling brand of 1985 and 1986. At the height of its popularity, Kramer was considered a prestige instrument and was endorsed by many famous musicians of the day, including Eddie Van Halen, Richie Sambora, Mick Mars, Jennifer Batten, Tom Morello and Vivian Campbell.

    Jackson Guitars

    Jackson is a renowned brand of electric guitar that bears the name of its founder, Grover Jackson.

    From the early beginnings until the present day, Jackson Guitars is known for its slender, elegant designs, and feature aggressive motifs that are popular with hard rock and metal musicians.

    Traditionally, Jackson (and many Charvel) guitars share the typical pointed headstock that first appeared on the Rhoads prototype in 1980. This likely arose from trade dress infringement issues as a result of Charvel's use of Fender Stratocaster shaped headstocks until the early 1980s. Fender's 2002 acquisition of both the Jackson and Charvel brands has enabled the the Strat-style headstock to be reintroduced (under license).

    Another Jackson trademark is the 'shark fin' inlays, which inspired other famous guitar companies such as Ibanez to follow suit with similar designs.

    John Bailey (luthier)

    John Bailey (born 1931) is a British luthier who made and repaired guitars and other stringed instruments during the 1960s revival of English folk music and beyond. Bailey lived in London until 1972 when he moved to Dartmouth in Devon. He continued to make instruments there into the 1990s.

    He wrote two textbooks on making instruments, Making a Folk Guitar and Making an Appalachian Dulcimer, that were published by The English Folk Dance and Song Society, Cecil Sharp House.

    James Tyler Guitars

    James Tyler Guitars is a manufacturer of boutique electric guitars. The company is located near Van Nuys, California and was established in 1972. It was long regarded as LA studio musicians' "business secret", and consequently reached the public eye through studio musicians like Dan Huff, Michael Landau, and Neil Stubenhaus. The company is known for creating instruments "flawless in design and construction" with an easily recognisable yet somewhat controversial headstock, and creative guitar body finishes with names like "psychedelic vomit", "burning water", and "caramel cappuccino shmear".


    Maton is an Australian manufacturer of guitars and other fretted musical instruments.

    Maton was founded in 1946 as the Maton Musical Instruments Company by Bill May and his brother Reg. Reg was a wood machinist, and Bill a jazz musician, woodwork teacher and luthier who had for some years operated a custom guitar building and repair business under the name Maton Stringed Instruments and Repairs. The name "Maton" came from the words "May Tone" and is pronounced May Tonne.

    C. F. Martin & Company

    The C.F. Martin & Company is a US guitar manufacturer established in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin. Martin is highly regarded for its steel-string guitars, and is a leading mass manufacturer of flattop acoustics with models that retail for thousands of dollars and vintage instruments that often fetch six figures at resale. The company has also made several models of electric guitars and electric basses.

    The company's headquarters and primary factory are in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, located in the Lehigh Valley region of the state. It also manufactures instruments in Mexico. During the year 1900, Martin produced 182 instruments. By the year 2000 that figure had risen to 24,084.

    Music Man (company)

    Music Man is an American guitar, and bass guitar manufacturer. It is a division of the Ernie Ball corporation.

    The Music Man story began in 1971 when Forrest White and Tom Walker talked with Leo Fender about starting a company they would call Tri-Sonic, Inc. White had worked with Leo in the very early days of Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company as the plant manager and stayed on after the company was sold to the CBS Corporation, but had grown unhappy with their management. Tom Walker worked as a sales rep at Fender. Because of a 10-year non-compete clause in the 1965 contract that sold the Fender companies to CBS, Leo Fender was a silent partner.

    Novax Guitars

    Novax Guitars is a guitar manufacturing company founded by Ralph Novak. His instruments feature frets which are not perpendicular to the instrument's neck (as is standard), but rather fan out at various angles to allow for more comfortable, ergonomic playing and for proper intonation.

    Charlie Hunter, an acclaimed jazz guitarist, uses Novax guitars extensively.

    Ovation Guitar Company

    The Ovation Guitar Company, a holding of Kaman Music Corporation, is a guitar manufacturing company based in New Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Ovation primarily manufactures acoustic guitars.

    Ovation guitars are differentiated by their composite synthetic bowl, rather than the traditional wooden back and sides of the modern acoustic guitar as produced by luthiers starting in the late 18th century. Ovation has also produced solid body electric guitars and active basses.

    Developed starting in 1965 with the first playable guitar number 006 built by Gerry Gardner and introduced as the 'Balladeer' in February, 1966, Ovations reached the height of their popularity in the 1980s, where they were more often than not seen during live performances by touring artists if acoustic guitars were being played. Ovation guitars' synthetic bowl and early use (1971) of preamps, onboard equalization and piezo pickups were particularly attractive to live acoustic musicians who constantly battled feedback problems from the high volumes needed in live venues.

    Since the 1980s they have remained popular with studio musicians, but are less frequently seen on stage.

    Peavey guitars

    Peavey Guitars are electric, acoustic, and electric bass guitars branded by Peavey Electronics, a recognized pioneer in musical instrument manufacturing.

    Pensa Custom Guitars

    Pensa Custom Guitars is an American company that manufactures electric guitars and basses in handmade fashion. The company is based in New York City. Pensa Custom Guitars was founded by New York luthier Rudy Pensa. Pensa strives to make extremely high quality guitars. They are therefore among the most expensive guitars available to the general public. These instruments are perhaps best known for their use by former Dire Straits lead guitarist and composer Mark Knopfler and typically cost US$3,000 and up.

    PRS Guitars

    PRS Guitars is an American guitar manufacturer headquartered in Stevensville, Maryland. PRS Guitars was founded by guitarist and luthier Paul Reed Smith in 1985. Paul Reed Smith Guitars is a leading manufacturer of high-end electric guitars. PRS guitars, originally crafted for local guitar players, have become highly prized by musicians and collectors around the world.


    Rickenbacker International Corporation, also known as Rickenbacker, is an electric guitar manufacturer, notable for putting the world's first electric guitars into general production in 1932. All production takes place at its headquarters in Santa Ana, California.


    Schecter can refer to:

  • Schecter Guitar Research, an American guitar manufacturer
  • Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, a landmark Supreme Court decision regarding the Commerce Clause
  • Shine Guitars

    Shine Guitars is a Korean brand of electric guitars and bass guitars produced by Saein Musical Instrument Co. Ltd.

    Saein Musical Instrument Co., Ltd. Is located in Namdong Industrial Complex in Incheon, Korea. Saein was established on 1991-01-07. As of 2007, they have 100 employees, and their monthly capacity is 4,500pcs still growing to expand.

    In February, 2001, Saein launched an independent factory in Gaomi City, China. The Chinese factory has 300 employees, and their monthly capacity is 10,000pcs. They are also are an OEM vendor for Ibanez, Epiphone and Peavey.

    Takamine Guitars

    Takamine Co., Ltd. (高峰楽器製作所 Takamine Gakki Seisakusho?) is a Japanese guitar manufacturer based in Nakatsugawa, Gifu, Japan. Takamine is known for its steel-string guitars.

    The company was founded in May 1962; in 1978 they were one of the first companies to introduce acoustic-electric models, where they pioneered the design of the preamp-equalizer component.

    Taylor Guitars

    Taylor Guitars is an El Cajon, California‐based luthier, specializing in acoustic guitars, as well as semi-hollow and solidbody electric guitars. It was established in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug.

    Valley Arts Guitar

    Valley Arts Guitar is an American electric guitar manufacturer currently owned and operated by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. Mike McGuire and Al Carness founded the company in the mid-1970s in North Hollywood, California, a district of Los Angeles, California in the San Fernando Valley; the name "Valley Arts" is a reference to the firm's original location. Partners in a music store and repair shop, their repairs and customizations gained the attention of Los Angeles studio musicians and jazz guitarists such as Lee Ritenour, Steve Lukather, Tommy Tedesco and Larry Carlton.] They began building custom guitars from scratch in 1977, and by 1983 demand for these guitars had increased to the point of requiring a separate manufacturing facility.] Most of their guitars had a radical styling similar to that of a superstrat; others were modified versions of Fender's popular designs, the Stratocaster and the Telecaster. "Signature" Valley Arts features often included highly-figured wood grain on the front, translucent colored finishes, gold hardware, Floyd Rose locking tremolos, EMG and Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups.

    In late 1990 the store was destroyed by fire. Underinsured, McGuire and Carness found it necessary to sell the store and concentrate on the manufacturing side of the business. In an attempt to expand their business, in 1992 they sold half of Valley Arts to the Korean guitar manufacturer Samick. They quickly became dissatisfied with their positions in the company and the quality of the guitars manufactured by Samick, and by 1993 they had moved to positions at Gibson. Through the 1990s Gibson was moving to expand and diversify its brands, and by the late 1990s they had decided to acquire the "Valley Arts" name as an outgrowth of the Gibson Custom Shop. In late 2002 Valley Arts reopened as a music store, repair facility and small manufacturer specializing in custom guitars in downtown Nashville. Al Carness managed the store; Mike McGuire is operations manager of the Gibson Custom division, which oversees the Valley Arts line of guitars. The Nashville store closed in 2005.

    Warwick (bass guitar)

    Warwick is a bass guitar company from Germany founded in 1982 by Hans-Peter Wilfer.

    Warwick basses were originally a premium brand offering a small range of models built from high quality and exotic tonewoods with 'Neck-through' design. Together with the original portfolio of models, the company now offer budget models, many of which are 'bolt-on neck' versions of the originals.

    All Warwick basses are built in Germany, except for acoustic Alien basses that are built in Vietnam, the Pro Series from Korea that include the Corvette Standard models, and the budget line of Warwick, RockBass, which is produced in China.

    Washburn Guitars

    Washburn Guitars is an American guitar manufacturer. It was established in 1883 in Chicago, Illinois. Washburn is a part of U.S. Music Corporation.

    Yamaha Corporation

    The Yamaha Corporation (ヤマハ株式会社 Yamaha Kabushiki Gaisha) (TYO: 7951) is a multinational corporation and conglomerate based in Japan with a wide range of products and services, predominantly musical instruments, motorcycles, power sports equipment and electronics.

    Zon Guitars

    Zon Guitars is a manufacturer of bass guitars founded in 1981 by Joseph Zon.

    There are five primary models of Zon Bass guitars. These include the Mosaic, the Sonus series, the Legacy Elite, the above mentioned Hyperbass, and the VB. Many models are available in a variety of configurations such as five or six-string models or models with custom electronics or woods.

    Zon is also known as the first manufacturer to offer an optical pickup system from Lightwave Systems as a standard option on its basses.

    Zon had elements of their graphite necks made by Modulus Guitars until Modulus' patent for Graphite neck construction ran out in the early 1990s.

    Guitar-like instruments

    Tar (lute)

    The tār (Persian: تار) is a long-necked, waisted Iranian instrument. It has been adopted by other cultures and countries like Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and other areas near the Caucasus region. The word tar (تار') itself means "string" in Persian, though it might have the same meaning in languages influenced by Persian or any other branches of Iranian languages like Kurdish.


    The balalaika (Russian: балалайка, Russian is a stringed instrument of Russian origin, with a characteristic triangular body and three strings.

    The balalaika family of instruments includes, from the highest-pitched to the lowest, the prima balalaika, sekunda balalaika, alto balalaika, bass balalaika and contrabass balalaika. All have three-sided bodies, spruce or fir tops, backs made of 3-9 wooden sections, and usually three strings. The prima balalaika is played with the fingers, the sekunda and alto either with the fingers or a plectrum, depending on the music being played, and the basses and contrabasses (equipped with extension legs which rest on the floor) are played with leather plectrums.


    The cavaquinho is a small string instrument of the European guitar family with four wire or gut strings. It is also called machimbo, machim, machete (in the Portuguese Atlantic islands and Brazil), manchete or marchete, braguinha or braguinho, or cavaco.

    The most common tuning is D-G-B-D (from lower to higher pitches); other tunings include D-A-B-E (portuguese ancient tuning, became popular by Julio Pereira) and G-G-B-D and A-A-C#-E. Guitarists often use D-G-B-E tuning to emulate the highest four strings of the guitar.

    Cigar box guitar

    The cigar box guitar is a primitive chordophone whose resonator is a discarded cigar box. Because the instrument is homemade, there is no standard for dimensions, string types or construction techniques. Many early cigar box guitars consisted of only one or two strings that were attached to the ends of a broomstick that was inserted into the cigar box. Other cigar box guitars were more complex, with the builder attempting to simulate a traditional string instrument such as a guitar, banjo, or fiddle.

    Chapman Stick

    The Chapman Stick (the Stick) is an electric musical instrument devised by Emmett Chapman in the early 1970s. A member of the guitar family, the Chapman Stick usually has ten or twelve individually tuned strings and has been used on music recordings to play bass lines, melody lines, chords or textures. Designed as a fully polyphonic chordal instrument, it can also cover several of these musical parts simultaneously.


    The shamisen or samisen (三味線, literally "three flavor strings"), also called sangen (三絃, literally "three strings") is a three-stringed musical instrument played with a plectrum called a bachi. The pronunciation in Japanese is usually "shamisen" (in western Japan, and often in Edo-period sources "samisen") but sometimes "jamisen" when used as a suffix (e.g., Tsugaru-jamisen).


    The ukulele, sometimes abbreviated to uke, is a chordophone classified as a plucked lute; it is a subset of the guitar family of instruments, generally with four nylon or gut strings or four courses of strings.

    The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian interpretation of the cavaquinho or braguinha and the rajão, small guitar-like instruments taken to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants. It gained great popularity elsewhere in the United States during the early 20th century, and from there spread internationally.

    Tone and volume of the instrument vary with size and construction. Ukuleles commonly come in four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.


    Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck (either fretted or unfretted) and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes.

    The European lute and the modern Near-Eastern oud both descend from a common ancestor via diverging evolutionary paths. The lute is used in a great variety of instrumental music from the early Renaissance to the late Baroque eras. It is also an accompanying instrument, especially in vocal works, often realizing a basso continuo or playing a written-out accompaniment.

    The player of a lute is called a lutenist, lutanist, or lutist, and a maker of lutes (or any string instrument) is referred to as a luthier.


    A guitalele (sometimes spelt guitarlele) is a guitar-ukulele hybrid, that is, "a 1/4 size" guitar, a cross between a classical guitar and a tenor ukulele. The guitalele combines the portability of a ukulele, due to its small size, with the six single strings and resultant chord possibilities of a classical guitar. It may include a built-in microphone that permits playing the guitalele either as an acoustic guitar or connected to an amplifier. The guitalele is variously marketed (and used ) as a travel guitar or children's guitar. In January 1997, Yamaha Corporation came out with the GL-1 Guitalele.

    A guitalele is the size of a ukulele, and is played like a guitar pitched up to "A" (that is, up a 4th, or like a guitar with a capo on the fifth fret). This gives it tuning of ADGCEA, with the top four strings tuned like a low G ukulele.

    Bradford Reed

    Bradford Reed is an American multi-instrumentalist, experimental luthier, and member of avant-garde band King Missile III. He is proficient at such instruments as drums, guitar, melodica, piano, and synthesizer. In the 1980s he invented the pencilina, a custom-made string instrument.



    Headstock or peghead is a part of guitar or similar stringed instrument. The main function of a headstock is holding the instrument's strings. Strings go from the bridge past the nut and are usually fixed on machine heads on headstock. Machine heads are used to tune the guitar by adjusting the tension of strings and, consequentially, the pitch of sound they produce.

    Nut (string instrument)

    The nut of a string instrument is a small piece of hard material which supports the strings at the end closest to the headstock or scroll. The nut marks one end of the speaking length of each open string, sets the spacing of the strings across the neck, and usually holds the strings at the proper height from the fingerboard. Along with the bridge, the nut defines the vibrating lengths (scale lengths) of the open strings.

    Machine head

    A machine head (also referred to as a tuner, gear head, or tuning machine) is part of a string instrument ranging from guitars to double basses, a geared apparatus for applying tension and thereby tuning a string, usually located at the headstock. A headstock has several machine heads, one per string. Non-geared tuning devices as used on violins, violas, cellos, lutes and (formerly) Flamenco guitars and ukuleles are known as tuning pegs.


    A fret is a raised portion on the neck of a stringed instrument, that extends generally across the full width of the neck. On most modern western instruments, frets are metal strips inserted into the fingerboard. On historical instruments and some non-European instruments, pieces of string tied around the neck serve as frets.

    Frets divide the neck into fixed segments at intervals related to a musical framework. On instruments such as guitars, each fret represents one semitone in the standard western system where one octave is divided into twelve semitones.

    "To fret" is often used as a verb, meaning simply "to press down the string behind a fret." Fretting often refers to the frets and/or their system of placement.


    The fingerboard (also known as a fretboard on fretted instruments) is a part of most stringed instruments. It is a thin, long strip of material, usually wood, that is laminated to the front of the neck of an instrument and above which the strings run. In the playing of such an instrument, a musician presses the strings down towards it in order to change their vibrating lengths, causing changes in pitch. This is called "stopping" the strings.

    The word "fingerboard" in other languages sometimes occurs in musical directions. In Italian it is called either manico or tasto, the latter especially in the phrase sul tasto, a direction for bowed string instruments to play with the bow above the fingerboard.

    Truss rod

    A truss rod is a guitar or banjo part used to stabilize and adjust the lengthwise forward curvature (also called relief), of the neck. Usually it is a steel rod that runs inside the neck and has a bolt that can be used to adjust its tension. The first truss rod patent was applied for by Thaddeus McHugh, an employee of the Gibson company, in 1921, although the idea of "truss rod" can be encountered in patents as early as 1908.

    Inlay (guitar)

    Inlay on guitars or similar fretted instruments are decorative materials set into the wooden surface of the instrument using standard inlay techniques. Although inlay can be done on any part of a guitar, it is most commonly found on the fretboard, headstock —typically the manufacturer's logo— and around the soundhole of acoustic guitars. Only positional markers on the fretboard or side of neck serve any function other than decoration. Nacre ("mother of pearl"), plastic and wood are the materials most often used as inlay.

    Neck (music)

    The neck is the part of certain string instruments that projects from the main body and is the base of the fingerboard, where the fingers are placed to stop the strings at different pitches. Guitars, lutes, the violin family, and the mandolin family are examples of instruments which have necks.

    The word for neck sometimes appears in other languages in musical instructions. The French term is manche.

    Pickup (music technology)

    A pickup device acts as a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations, usually from suitably-equipped stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, electric bass guitar, Chapman Stick or electric violin, and converts them to an electrical signal which can then be amplified, recorded and broadcast.

    Bridge (instrument)

    A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air.


    A pickguard (also known as scratchplate or golpeador in Flamenco music, and uncommonly, a fingerrest) is a piece of plastic or other laminated material that is placed under the strings on the body of a guitar, mandolin or similar plucked string instrument. The main purpose of the pickguard is to protect the guitar's finish from being scratched by the guitar pick.

    As well as serving a practical purpose, the pickguard may also be used for decoration and is often made in a contrasting color to that of the guitar body (popular variants are white pickguards on darker guitars and black pickguards on lighter guitars). As well as plastic, other pickguard materials can include acrylic glass, glass, plywood, fabrics, metal and mother-of-pearl/pearloid varieties. Expensive guitars may have luxury pickguards made from exotic woods, furs, skins, gems, precious metals, Mother of Pearl and abalone pearl.

    Sounding board

    A sounding board is a structure placed above or behind a pulpit or other speaking platform which helps to project the sound of the speaker. The structure may be specially shaped to assist the projection, for example, being formed as a parabolic reflector. In the typical setting of a church, the sounding board may be ornately carved or constructed.

    The term may also be used figuratively to describe a person who listens to a speech or proposal in order that the speaker may rehearse or explore the proposition more fully.

    Strings (music)

    A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material kept under tension so that they may vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be "plain" (consisting only of a single material, like steel, nylon, or gut). "Wound" strings, on the other hand, have a "core" of one material, with an overwinding of other materials. This is to make the string vibrate at the desired pitch, while maintaining a low profile and sufficient flexibility for purposes of playability.

    Guitar use

    Guitar music

    Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra

    Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra (also known as Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra In E Flat minor Op. 1) is an album released in 1998 by Yngwie J. Malmsteen on Spitfire Records. It was his first attempt at a classical concerto suite featuring electric guitar solos. Malmsteen composed all of the music though his compositions were scored by his friend and fellow musician David Rosenthal. The music is conducted by Yoel Levi, and performed by the Czech Philharmonic.

    Classical guitar repertoire

    To a greater extent than most other instruments and ensembles, it is difficult to compose music for the guitar without either proficiency in the instrument or close collaboration with a guitarist. As a result, a large part of the guitar repertoire consists of works by guitarists who did not compose extensively for other instruments. Music prior to the classical era was often composed for performance on various combinations of instruments, and could be adapted by the performer to keyboard instruments, the lute, or the guitar. Since the beginning of the 20th century, however, a significant amount of music has been written for the guitar by non-guitarist composers.


    An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics, singing, or any other sort of vocal input; all of the music is produced by musical instruments.

    In a song that is otherwise sung, a section not sung but played with instruments can be called an instrumental interlude. If the instruments are percussion instruments, the interlude can be called a percussion interlude. These interludes are a form of break in the song.


    Tablature (or tabulature, or tab for short) is a form of musical notation indicating instrument fingering rather than musical pitches.

    Tablature is common for fretted stringed instruments such as the lute, vihuela, or guitar, as well as many free reed aerophones such as the harmonica. Tablature was common during the Renaissance and Baroque eras, and is commonly used in notating rock, pop, folk, ragtime, and blues music.

    Three types of organ tablature were used in Europe: German, Spanish and Italian. There are several types of ocarina tabulature. Harp tablature was used in Spain and Wales.

    Guitar tunings

    Guitar tunings

    Like many other stringed instruments, the tuning arrangement of the guitar can be easily modified. Guitar tunings almost always refers to the pitch of the open ("unfretted") string. In standard guitar tuning, the spelling EADGBE refers to the pitches of the strings, from lowest pitch (low E) to highest (high E).

    Guitar playing styles

    3rd bridge

    The 3rd bridge is an extended playing technique used on some string instruments (notably the electric guitar), that allows a musician to produce distinctive timbres and overtones that are unavailable on a conventional string instrument with two bridges (a nut and a bridge). The timbre created with this technique is close to that of Gamelan instruments like the bonang and similar Indonesian types of pitched gongs.

    Third bridge instruments can be custom-made by experimental luthiers (as with guitars designed and played by Hans Reichel); modified from a non-third bridge instrument (as with conventional guitars modified with a pencil or screwdriver under the strings); or may take advantage of design quirks of factory-built instruments (as with the Fender Jazzmaster which has strings which continue from the "standard" bridge to the tremolo piece).

    Blues guitar playing

    Blues guitar playing is an instrumental technique which is used to accompany the singing of blues music. It often incorporates the use of a slide guitar technique.

    Classical guitar technique

    The classical guitar technique is a fingerstyle technique used by classical guitarists to play classical guitar music on a classical guitar.


    Downpicking is the technique used by musicians that perform on plucked string instruments in which the plectrum, or pick, is moved in a downward motion, relative to the position of the instrument, against one or more of the strings to make them vibrate.

    Extended techniques

    Extended techniques are performance techniques used in music to describe unconventional, unorthodox, or non-traditional techniques of singing, or of playing musical instruments to obtain unusual sounds or instrumental timbres.


    Flamenco is a style of music and dance which is native to several regions of southern Spain.

    Along with its Romani origins, Spanish, Byzantine, Sephardic and Moorish elements have often been cited as influences in the development of flamenco. It has frequently been asserted that these influences coalesced near the end of the reconquista, in the 15th century. The origins of the word flamenco are unclear. It was not recorded until the late 18th century.

    Guitar solo

    In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such as swing and jazz fusion. Guitar solos are also used in classical music forms such as chamber music and concertos

    Guitar showmanship

    Guitar showmanship involves gimmicks, jumps, or other stunts with a guitar. Some examples of guitar showmanship would become trademarks of musicians such as Chuck Berry, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen , Angus Young and Buckethead.

    Jazz guitar

    The term jazz guitar may refer to either a type of guitar or to the variety of guitar playing styles used in the various genres which are commonly termed "jazz". The jazz type guitar was born as a result of using electric amplification to increase the volume of conventional acoustic guitars.

    Conceived in the early 1930s, the electric guitar became a necessity as jazz musicians sought to amplify their sound. Arguably, no other musical instrument had greater influence on how music evolved since the beginning of the twentieth century. Although earliest guitars used in jazz were acoustic and are still sometimes used in jazz, most jazz guitarists since the 1940s have performed on an electrically amplified guitar or electric guitar.

    Lead guitar

    Lead guitar is a guitar part which plays melody lines, instrumental fill passages, and guitar solos within a song structure. The lead is the featured guitar, which usually plays single-note-based lines or double-stops. In rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz, punk, fusion, some pop, and other music styles, lead guitar lines are usually supported by a second guitarist who plays rhythm guitar, which consists of accompaniment chords and riffs, often played with a distortion effect.

    Multiple guitar players

    In rock and other related genres, bands often have multiple electric and/or acoustic guitar players to perform the different musical parts, such as instrumental melodies, "licks", riffs, guitar solos, and chords. The band can divide up the roles by assigning one or more performers the role of lead guitar and assigning another guitarist (or several guitarists) the role of rhythm guitar. Alternatively, two or more guitarists can share the lead and rhythm roles throughout the show, or both guitarists can play the same role ("dual lead guitars" or "dual rhythm guitars").

    Prepared guitar

    A prepared guitar is a guitar that has had its timbre altered by placing various objects on or between the instrument's strings, including other extended techniques. This practice is sometimes called tabletop guitar, because many prepared guitarists do not hold the instrument in the usual manner, but instead place the guitar on a table to manipulate it.

    Rhythm guitar

    Rhythm guitar is the use of a guitar to provide rhythmic chordal accompaniment for a singer or other instruments in a musical ensemble. In ensembles or "bands" playing within the acoustic, country, blues, rock or metal genres (among others), a guitarist playing the rhythm part of a composition supports the melodic lines and solos played on the lead instrument or instruments, be they string, brass, wind, keyboard or even percussion instruments, or simply the human voice.

    In the most commercially available and consumed genres, electric guitars tend to dominate their acoustic cousins in both the recording studio and the live venue. However the acoustic guitar remains a popular choice in country, western and especially bluegrass music, and is used almost exclusively in folk music.

    Shred guitar

    Shred guitar or shredding is lead electric guitar playing that relies heavily on fast guitar solos. While one critic argues that shred guitar is associated with "... sweep-picked arpeggios, diminished and harmonic minor scales, finger-tapping and ... whammy-bar abuse", several guitar writers argue that rather than being a musical definition, it is a fairly subjective cultural term used by guitarists and enthusiasts of guitar music. It is usually used with reference to heavy metal guitar playing, where it is associated with rapid tapping solos and special effects such as whammy bar "dive bombs". The term is sometimes used with reference to playing outside this idiom, particularly bluegrass, country, jazz fusion, blues.

    Slack-key guitar

    Slack-key guitar is a fingerstyle genre of guitar music that originated in Hawaii. Its name refers to its characteristic open tunings: the English term is a translation of the Hawaiian kī hōʻalu, which means "loosen the [tuning] key". Most slack-key tunings can be achieved by starting with a classically tuned guitar and detuning or "slacking" one or more of the strings until the six strings form a single chord, frequently G major.

    Slide guitar

    Slide guitar or bottleneck guitar is a particular method or technique for playing the guitar. The term slide refers to the motion of the slide against the strings, while bottleneck refers to the original material of choice for such slides: the necks of glass bottles. Instead of altering the pitch of the strings in the normal manner (by pressing the string against frets), a slide is placed upon the string to vary its vibrating length, and pitch. This slide can then be moved along the string without lifting, creating continuous transitions in pitch.

    Guitar technique


    In physics, damping is any effect that tends to reduce the amplitude of oscillations in an oscillatory system, particularly the harmonic oscillator.

    Guitar chord

    A guitar chord is a collection of tones usually sounded together at once played on a guitar. It can be composed of notes played on a some adjacent or separate strings or all the strings together. Chord voicings designed for the guitar can be optimized for many different purposes and playing styles.

    The guitar is generally very capable and versatile for chording purposes, but it does exhibit some differences from other instruments. For a six string guitar in the very largest chord-voicings it may be necessary to drop or omit one or more tones from the chord; this is typically the root or fifth. The layout of notes on the fretboard sometimes demands that the notes in a chord will not run in tonal order. It can make a possible chord which is composed of more than one note of exactly the same pitch. Many chords can be played with the same notes in more than one place on the fretboard.

    Guitars can vary both in the number of strings and in tuning. Most guitars used in popular music have six strings and are tuned (from the lowest pitched string to the highest): E-A-D-G-B-E. The internal intervals present among adjacent strings in this tuning can be written 5-5-5-4-5 (with perfect fourth intervals except for one major third interval between the G and the B). Conventionally, the string with the highest pitch (the thinnest) is called the first string, and the string having the lowest pitch is called the sixth.

    Barre chord

    Barre chords (also known as bar chords, but more commonly spelled as "barre") are a type of guitar chord, where one or more fingers are used to press down multiple strings across the guitar fingerboard (like a bar pressing down the strings). Barring the strings enables the guitarist to play a chord not restricted by the tones of the guitar's open strings. Barre chords are often referred to as "moveable" chords, as they can be moved up and down the neck as needed. They are commonly used in most popular and classical music and are frequently used in combination with "open" or standard guitar chords. They are typically used for more complex chord voicings and playing in keys not suitable for the more basic open chords of the first position of a standard-tuned guitar.

    Five fret stretch

    In music, a five-fret stretch refers to a guitar chord formation such that the distance between the highest and the lowest fingered frets is five frets. This necessarily excludes open strings.

    Five-fret stretches are common in rock, blues, and in classical music, and are most common on guitar, but they are theoretically possible on other fretted stringed instruments.

    String skipping

    String skipping is a guitar-playing technique that is used mainly for solos and complex riffs in rock and heavy metal songs.

    Bridge (Right) hand techniques

    Hybrid picking

    Hybrid picking is a guitar-playing technique that involves picking with a pick and one or more fingers alternately or simultaneously. Hybrid picking allows guitar players who use a pick (plectrum) to perform music which would normally require fingerstyle playing. It also facilitates wide string leaps (e.g. from the sixth string to the second string, etc) which might otherwise be quite difficult. The technique is not widespread in most genres of guitar playing (though notable exceptions exist), but is most often employed by country and bluegrass flatpickers who play music which occasionally demands fingerstyle passages.

    Palm mute

    The palm mute is a playing technique for guitar and bass guitar executed by placing the side of the picking hand below the little finger across all of the strings very close to the bridge and then plucking the strings with the fingers while the damping is in effect. This produces a muted sound. The name is a slight misnomer, as the muting is usually performed by the side or heel of the hand.

    Palm muting is a standard technique used in classical guitar performance and by electric guitarists who play with a pick. Palm muting is so widely used as to be idiomatic in heavy metal, and particularly in thrash, speed and death metal, but it is often found in any style of music that features electric guitars with distortion in the signal's preamplification stage. It is responsible for the characteristic "chugging" sound of distorted guitar music. Palm muting can also be used in conjunction with a wah pedal to produce the distinctive scratching sound often heard in disco music.



    Rasgueado (also called Rajeo, Rasgueo or Rasgeo in Andalusian dialect and Flamenco jargon) is a guitar finger strumming technique commonly associated with flamenco guitar music. It is also used in classical and other fingerstyle guitar picking techniques. The rasgueado is executed using the fingers of the strumming hand in rhythmically precise, and often rapid, strumming patterns.


    In music, a strum or stroke is a note performed on the strings of a string instrument such as a guitar. The term arises from an action commonly used to play string instruments, which may be "struck"/"stroked", ie, plucked or strummed, by brushing one's fingers over, or strumming, the strings.

    Flat picking (single picking, plectrum picking)

    Alternate picking

    Alternate picking is a guitar playing technique that employs strictly alternating downward and upward picking strokes in a continuous run, and is the most common method of plectrum playing. If this technique is performed on a single note at a high speed, then it may also be referred to as tremolo picking.


    Crosspicking is a technique for playing the mandolin or guitar using a plectrum or flatpick in a rolling, syncopated style across three strings. This style is probably best known as one element of the flatpicking style in bluegrass music, and it closely resembles a banjo roll, the main difference being that the banjo roll is fingerpicked rather than flatpicked.

    A typical element of the technique is the use of three pitches played repeatedly within a four-pulse rhythm. This results in a continual shifting of the pitches vis-a-vis the accented pulse. The three pitches are usually played on three adjacent strings—one per string. The pick direction can vary, depending on the required emphasis and the melody.


    Downpicking is the technique used by musicians that perform on plucked string instruments in which the plectrum, or pick, is moved in a downward motion, relative to the position of the instrument, against one or more of the strings to make them vibrate.

    Economy picking

    Economy picking is a guitar-playing technique for a guitarist who uses a pick. A hybrid of sweep picking and alternate picking, economy picking involves using alternate picking except when changing strings. In this case the guitarist changes to sweep picking, picking in the direction of travel: an upstroke if changing to a lower (pitch) string, a downstroke if changing to a higher (pitch) string. The aim is to minimize movement in the right hand, and avoid the motion of "jumping" over a string prior to picking it, as often occurs in alternate-picking. Thus the picking pattern of an ascending three-note-per-string scale would be: D-U-D-D-U-D-D-U-D, and the descending pattern would start just like alternate picking (up stroke first): U-D-U-U-D-U-U-D-U-U.


    Flatpicking is a technique for playing a guitar using a guitar pick (also called a plectrum) held between two or three fingers to strike the strings. It can be contrasted to fingerstyle guitar, which is playing with individual fingers, with or without wearing fingerpicks.

    Pick slide

    A pick slide or pick scrape is a guitar technique most often performed in the rock, punk or metal music genres. The technique is executed by holding the edge of the pick against any of the three or four wound strings and moving it along the string. As the pick moves across the string, the edge of the pick catches the string's windings in rapid succession causing the string to vibrate and produce a note. This rapid rattling of the pick's edge against the windings also gives the resulting note a grinding or grating quality.

    Pick tapping

    Pick tapping (or 'Pick Trilling') is a fast guitar playing technique wherein the pick (or plectrum) is used to sharply fret notes on the instrument's fretboard. In some ways it is similar to regular 'one-handed' tapping, except that the sharp edge of the pick is specifically used to sound the notes rather than the tip of the finger. Because of the strength and accuracy needed to perform regular tapping using the fingers only, pick tapping can often be used as an alternative to produce a noticeably sharper and louder sound (even without the heavy use of distortion). Generally, it is easier to tap more rapidly with the pick than the finger, which makes pick tapping a preferable method to produce extremely fast sequences of trills.


    Sweep picking is a technique used on the guitar in which a 'sweeping' motion of the pick is combined with a matching fret hand technique in order to produce a specific series of notes which are fast and fluid in sound. Despite being commonly known as sweep picking, both hands essentially perform an integral motion in unison to achieve the desired effect.

    Finger picking (multiple picking)

    Apoyando: rest stroke

    Apoyando is a method of plucking used in both Classical guitar and Flamenco guitar known in English as 'Rest Stroke'. (A direct translation of 'Apoyando' from Spanish would be "resting". Rest stroke gets its name because after plucking the string, the finger rests on the adjacent string after it follows through, giving a slightly rounder, often punchier sound (contrast with tirando). The apoyando stroke is not intuitive so is rarely used by beginners. Most players will use the tirando or 'free-stroke' and will have difficulty in managing the apoyando.

    Towards the very end of the 20th century up till today, many professional classical guitarists developed a strong preference for tirando; and have moved away from thinking of apoyando as the main basic principle of guitar technique.

    Chicken picking

    Chicken picking (or chicken pickin') is a lead guitar style or technique used in country, rock,and metal music where the plucked strings are pulled outward (i.e., away from the fretboard instead of parallel to the fretboard) by the fingers of the left hand and the note played immediately dampened by increasing the pressure of the left hand's finger on the fret. (Burrows 1995, p.60)

    Fingerstyle guitar (including Travis picking)

    Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers, as opposed to flatpicking (picking individual notes with a single plectrum called a flatpick) or strumming all the strings of the instrument in chords. The term is often used synonymously with fingerpicking (although fingerpicking can also refer to a specific stylistic subset; see below). Music arranged for fingerstyle playing can include chords, arpeggios and other elements such as artificial harmonics, hammering on and pulling off with the fretting hand, using the body of the guitar percussively, and many other techniques. Fingerpicking is the standard technique on the classical or nylon string guitar, but is considered more of an unusual or specialised technique on steel string guitars and electric guitars.


    Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers, as opposed to flatpicking (picking individual notes with a single plectrum called a flatpick) or strumming all the strings of the instrument in chords. The term is often used synonymously with fingerpicking (although fingerpicking can also refer to a specific stylistic subset; see below). Music arranged for fingerstyle playing can include chords, arpeggios and other elements such as artificial harmonics, hammering on and pulling off with the fretting hand, using the body of the guitar percussively, and many other techniques. Fingerpicking is the standard technique on the classical or nylon string guitar, but is considered more of an unusual or specialised technique on steel string guitars and electric guitars.

    Pattern picking

    This style is commonly played on steel string acoustic guitars. Pattern picking is the use of "preset right-hand pattern[s]" while fingerpicking, with the left hand fingering standard chords.


    Picados are the flamenco scales of a guitar (see Flamenco guitar), or a guitar playing technique where musician plays scale passages by alternating the index and middle fingers. Picado is normally executed apoyando (with rest strokes). It is often used rapidly to play a melody.

    Tirando: free stroke

    Tirando is a method of plucking used in Classical guitar and Flamenco guitar. Tirando is Spanish for "pulling." In English, it is also called a "free stroke"). After plucking, the finger does not touch the string that is next lowest in pitch (physically higher) on the guitar, as it does with apoyando).

    Since the end of the 20th century, many professional classical guitarists prefer tirando, and have moved away from thinking of apoyando as the basic principle of guitar technique.

    Percussive techniques

    Golpe: finger tapping (flamenco)

    Golpe has multiple meanings, as described below:

    In music, golpe can mean

  • Golpe (guitar technique) is a Flamenco guitar technique where one uses the fingers to tap on the soundboard of the guitar, from the Spanish "golpe", meaning to strike.
  • Golpe (cuatro pattern), the percussive strummed patterns of the cuatro.
  • Tambour: string striking

    Tambour (also called tambor or tambora, written in music as tamb.), is a technique used in Flamenco guitar and classical guitar which is designed to emulate the sound of a snare drum (Span. tambor). It is achieved by using a flat part of the hand, usually the side of the outstretched right thumb, or also the edge of the palm below the little finger, and sounding the strings by striking them rapidly just inside the bridge of the guitar. If performed incorrectly, the effect is similar to a right-hand apagado, or dampening of the strings.

    Slapping: A variety of techniques

    In music, the term slapping is often used to refer to two different playing techniques used on the double bass and on the (electric) bass guitar.

    Head (Left) hand techniques

    Double stop

    A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument (like a marimba) or stringed instrument (for example, a violin or a guitar). In performing a double stop, two separate strings are depressed ("stopped") by the fingers, and bowed or plucked simultaneously (without a string change).

    A triple stop is the same technique applied to three strings; a quadruple stop applies to four strings. Double, triple, and quadruple stopping are collectively known as multiple stopping.

    Finger vibrato

    Finger vibrato is vibrato produced on a string instrument by cyclic hand movements. Despite the name, normally the entire hand moves, and sometimes the entire upper arm. It can also refer to vibrato on some woodwind instruments, achieved by lowering one or more fingers over one of the uncovered holes in a trill-like manner. This flattens the note periodically creating the vibrato.

    Left-hand muting

    Left-hand muting is a performance technique for stringed instruments, where the vibration of a string is muffled by the left hand. There are two variants of it. Left-handed musicians would perform this technique with the right hand, not the left.

    Slide guitar

    Slide guitar or bottleneck guitar is a particular method or technique for playing the guitar. The term slide refers to the motion of the slide against the strings, while bottleneck refers to the original material of choice for such slides: the necks of glass bottles. Instead of altering the pitch of the strings in the normal manner (by pressing the string against frets), a slide is placed upon the string to vary its vibrating length, and pitch. This slide can then be moved along the string without lifting, creating continuous transitions in pitch.

    Lap slide guitar

    A lap slide guitar is a general term often used to describe any guitar played on the lap with a slide or steel.

    Lap slide guitars are generally one of three types:

  • Acoustic resonator guitars
  • Electric lap steels
  • Conventional acoustic guitars designed or adapted for this style of playing.
  • The latter type are now the least common of the three types of lap steel guitar, despite having been developed before the lap steel and resonator guitars. Acoustic lap steel guitars are generally the quietest of the three; however, renewed interest in acoustic instruments in the 1990s associated with improving amplification techniques and interest in vintage and historical musical instruments has led to a resurgence in interest in the distinctive sound of these instruments.

    Legato techniques


    Hammer-on is a stringed instrument playing technique performed (especially on fretted string instruments such as guitar) by sharply bringing a fretting-hand finger down on the fingerboard behind a fret, causing a note to sound. This technique is the opposite of the pull-off. Passages in which a large proportion of the notes are performed as hammer-ons and pull-offs instead of being plucked or picked in the usual fashion are known in classical guitar terminology as legato phrases. The sound is smoother and more connected than in a normally picked phrase, due to the absence of the otherwise necessity to synchronize the plucking of one hand with the fingering on the fretboard with the other hand; however, the resulting sounds are not as brightly audible, precisely due to the absence of the plucking of the string, the vibration of the string from an earlier plucking dying off. The technique also facilitates very fast playing because the picking hand does not have to move at such a high rate, and coordination between the hands only has to be achieved at certain points. Multiple hammer-ons and pull-offs together are sometimes also referred to colloquially as "rolls", a reference to the fluid sound of the technique. A hammer-on is usually represented in guitar tablature (especially that created by computer) by a letter h. A rapid series of alternating hammer-ons and pull-offs between a single pair of notes is called a trill.

    Legato technique (includes rolls and trills)

    In musical notation the Italian word legato (literally meaning "tied together") indicates that musical notes are played or sung smoothly and connected. That is, in transitioning from note to note, there should be no intervening silence. Legato technique is required for slurred performance, but unlike slurring (as that term is interpreted for some instruments), legato does not forbid rearticulation. In standard notation legato is indicated either with the word legato itself, or by a slur (a curved line) under the notes that are to be joined in one legato group. Legato, like staccato, is a kind of articulation. There is an intermediate articulation called either mezzo staccato or non-legato.


    A pull-off is a stringed instrument technique performed by plucking a string by "pulling" the string off the fingerboard with one of the fingers being used to fret the note.


    Tapping is a playing technique generally associated with the electric guitar, although the technique may be performed on almost any string instrument. There are two main methods of tapping: one-handed or 'ordinary' tapping, and two-handed tapping. Tapping may be considered an extended technique, in that it is executed by using one hand to 'tap' the strings against the fingerboard, thus producing legato notes, often in tightly synchronized conjunction with the other hand. Tapping usually incorporates pull-offs or hammer-ons as well, where the fingers of the left hand play a sequence of notes in synchronization with the tapping hand. For example, a right-handed guitarist might hammer down on fret twelve with the index finger of the right hand and, in the motion of removing that finger, pluck the same string already fretted at the eighth fret by the little finger of his/her left hand. This finger would be removed in the same way, pulling off to the fifth fret. Thus the three notes (E, C and A) are played in quick succession at relative ease to the player.

    Harmonic techniques

    Artificial Harmonics

    To produce an artificial harmonic, a stringed instrument player holds down a note on the neck with the non-dominant hand, thereby shortening the vibrational length of the string, uses a finger to lightly touch a point on the string that is an integer divisor of its vibrational length, and plucks or bows the side of the string that is closer to the bridge. This technique is used to produce harmonic tones that are otherwise inaccessible on the instrument. To guitar players, one variety of this technique is known as a pinch harmonic.

    Tap Harmonic

    Tap harmonic is a technique used with fretted string instruments, (usually guitar). It is executed by tapping on the actual fret wire most commonly at the 12th fret, but also can be executed by tapping any of the fret wires with proper technique. It can also be done by gently touching the string over the fret wire instead of tapping the fret wire if the string is already ringing.

    Guitar parts and accessories



    A capo, or, rarely, capo tasto (from Italian capo, "head" and tasto, "tie or fret") is a clamp-like device used on the neck of a stringed instrument to shorten the strings, hence raising the pitch. It is frequently used on guitars, mandolins, and banjos. G.B. Doni first used the term in his Annotazioni of 1640, though capo use likely began earlier in the 17th-century. Alternative terms are capo d'astro and capodastro, also Italian. Various styles of capos use different mechanisms, but most use a rubber-covered bar to hold down the strings, clamped with a strip of elastic or nylon, a cam-operated metal clamp, spring clamp, or screw clamp.

    Guitar pick

    A guitar pick is a plectrum used on stringed instruments such as guitars. One material is generally used on a pick, among these are plastic, rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, wood, metal, glass, and stone. They are often shaped in an acute isosceles triangle with the two equal corners rounded and the third corner rounded to a lesser extent.


    Neck-through or neck-thru (or in full form neck through body) is a method of electric guitar or bass guitar construction that involves extending the piece (or pieces, in a laminate construction) of wood used for the neck through the entire length of the body, essentially making it the core of the body. The strings, fretboard, pickups and bridge are all mounted on this piece. So-called "ears" or "wings" (i.e. side parts of the body) are glued or laminated to the central "stick". The "wings" may be bookmatched in order to give a symmetrical appearance, and are often cut from one piece of wood.


    Slide guitar or bottleneck guitar is a particular method or technique for playing the guitar. The term slide refers to the motion of the slide against the strings, while bottleneck refers to the original material of choice for such slides: the necks of glass bottles. Instead of altering the pitch of the strings in the normal manner (by pressing the string against frets), a slide is placed upon the string to vary its vibrating length, and pitch. This slide can then be moved along the string without lifting, creating continuous transitions in pitch.

    Tremolo arm (Whammy bar)

    A whammy bar, tremolo arm/bar, or vibrato arm/bar is a component of a guitar, used to add vibrato to the sound by changing the tension of the strings, typically at the bridge or tailpiece. The whammy bar enables the player to quickly vary the tension and sometimes the length of the strings temporarily, changing the pitch to create a vibrato, portamento or pitch bend effect.

    Electronic tuner

    An electronic tuner is a device used by musicians to detect and display the pitch of notes played on musical instruments. The simplest tuners use LED lights to indicate approximately whether the pitch of the note played is lower, higher, or approximately equal to the desired pitch. More complex and expensive tuners indicate more precisely the difference between offered note and desired pitch.

    Tuners vary in size from units that can fit in a pocket, clip on an instrument, sit on a table-top, all the way up to 19" rack-mount units. The more complex and expensive units are used by instrument technicians, piano tuners and luthiers.

    Cable (Electric, some Acoustics)

    A cable is two or more wires running side by side and bonded, twisted or braided together to form a single assembly. In mechanics cables, otherwise known as wire ropes, are used for lifting, hauling and towing or conveying force through tension. In electrical engineering cables used to carry electric currents. An optical cable contains one or more optical fibers in a protective jacket that supports the fibers.

    Electric cables discussed here are mainly meant for installation in buildings and industrial sites. For power transmission at distances greater than a few kilometres see high voltage cable, power cables and HVDC.

    Guitar amplifiers

    Distortion (guitar)

    Distortion, overdrive and fuzz are effects applied to the electric guitar, the electric bass, and other amplified instruments such as the Hammond organ, synthesizers, harmonica and even vocals by electronically clipping the signal. This adds sustain and additional harmonics to the signal.

    The most subtle types of distortion add a "warm" thickness to the original tone, used in electric blues, for instance, while more extreme types range from the noisy, buzzy sound of a 1960s fuzzbox to the screaming, "bite", "grit", and "crunch" of a late 1980s thrash-style distortion pedal and the hard-edged distortion featured in noise music, hardcore punk, industrial, grunge, and metal. A fuzzbox (or fuzz box) boosts and clips the signal sufficiently to turn a standard sine wave into a waveform much closer to a square wave. This gives a much more distorted and synthetic sound than a standard distortion or overdrive. Fuzz boxes also tend to have lower mid frequencies than other distortion types.

    Guitar amplifier

    A guitar amplifier (or guitar amp) is an electronic amplifier designed to make the signal of an electric or acoustic guitar louder so that it will produce sound through a loudspeaker. Guitar amplifiers also modify the instrument's tone by emphasizing or de-emphasizing certain frequencies and adding electronic effects.

    Power attenuator (guitar)

    In conjunction with an electric guitar amplifier, a power attenuator is used to divert and dissipate some or all of the amplifier's excess or unneeded power in order to reduce the volume of sound produced by the speaker.


    A preamplifier (preamp), or control amplifier, is an electronic amplifier that prepares an electronic signal for further amplification or processing. The preamplifier circuitry may or may not be housed separately from the device for which a signal is being prepared.

    Guitar effects

    Effects unit

    Effects units are electronic devices that alter how a musical instrument or other audio source sounds. Some effects subtly "color" a sound, while others transform it dramatically. Effects can be used during live performances (typically with electric guitar, keyboard, or bass) or in the studio. While most frequently used with electric or electronic instruments, effects can also be used with acoustic instruments and drums. Examples of common effects units include wah-wah pedals, fuzzboxes, and reverb units.

    Compression (electric guitar)

    Compression (or more technically Dynamic range compression)is a subtle effect primarily for electric guitar where the highest and lowest points of the sound wave are "limited". This boosts the volume of softer picked notes, while capping the louder ones, giving a more even level of volume. This is frequently used in country music, where fast clean passages can sound uneven unless artificially "squashed".

    Chorus effect

    A chorus effect occurs when individual sounds with roughly the same timbre and nearly (but never exactly) the same pitch converge and are perceived as one. While similar sounds coming from multiple sources can occur naturally (as in the case of a choir or string orchestra), it can also be simulated using an electronic effects unit or signal processing device.

    Delay (audio effect)

    Delay is an audio effect which records an input signal to an audio storage medium, and then plays it back after a period of time. The delayed signal may either be played back multiple times, or played back into the recording again, to create the sound of a repeating, decaying echo.

    Fuzz (electric guitar)

    Distortion, overdrive and fuzz are effects applied to the electric guitar, the electric bass, and other amplified instruments such as the Hammond organ, synthesizers, harmonica and even vocals by electronically clipping the signal. This adds sustain and additional harmonics to the signal.

    The most subtle types of distortion add a "warm" thickness to the original tone, used in electric blues, for instance, while more extreme types range from the noisy, buzzy sound of a 1960s fuzzbox to the screaming, "bite", "grit", and "crunch" of a late 1980s thrash-style distortion pedal and the hard-edged distortion featured in noise music, hardcore punk, industrial, grunge, and metal. A fuzzbox (or fuzz box) boosts and clips the signal sufficiently to turn a standard sine wave into a waveform much closer to a square wave. This gives a much more distorted and synthetic sound than a standard distortion or overdrive. Fuzz boxes also tend to have lower mid frequencies than other distortion types.

    Flange (electric guitar)

    Flanging is an audio effect produced by mixing two identical signals together, with one signal delayed by a small and gradually changing period, usually smaller than 20 milliseconds. This produces a swept comb filter effect: peaks and notches are produced in the resultant frequency spectrum, related to each other in a linear harmonic series. Varying the time delay causes these to sweep up and down the frequency spectrum.

    Phaser (electric guitar)

    A phaser is an audio signal processing technique used to filter a signal by creating a series of peaks and troughs in the frequency spectrum. The position of the peaks and troughs is typically modulated so that they vary over time, creating a sweeping effect. For this purpose, phasers usually include a low frequency oscillator.

    Reverb (Reverberation)

    Reverberation is the persistence of sound in a particular space after the original sound is removed. A reverberation, or reverb, is created when a sound is produced in an enclosed space causing a large number of echoes to build up and then slowly decay as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air. This is most noticeable when the sound source stops but the reflections continue, decreasing in amplitude, until they can no longer be heard. The length of this sound decay, or reverberation time, receives special consideration in the architectural design of large chambers, which need to have specific reverberation times to achieve optimum performance for their intended activity. In comparison to a distinct echo that is 50 to 100 ms after the initial sound, reverberation is many thousands of echoes that arrive in very quick succession (.01 – 1 ms between echoes). As time passes, the volume of the many echoes is reduced until the echoes cannot be heard at all.

    Sustain - Infinite guitar

    The Infinite Guitar was created by Michael Brook, as a way of allowing an electric guitar note to be held with infinite sustain (hence the name). It consists of an electronic circuit that takes the signal from a standard guitar pickup, amplifies it, and feeds it back into a separate pickup coil. When set up and used correctly, the result is a continuous sustained note that can be used as is, or treated to create new sounds or emulate traditional instruments.


    The EBow or ebow (brand name for "Electronic Bow" or Energy Bow) (often spelled E-bow in common usage) is a hand-held, battery-powered electronic device for playing the electric guitar, invented by Greg Heet in 1969. Instead of having the strings hit by the fingers or a pick, they are moved by the electromagnetic field created by the device, producing a sound reminiscent of using a bow on the strings.

    Overdrive/distortion terms

    Brown sound

    Brown sound and similar can mean:

  • A brown note, a supposed sound frequency which when loud enough can loosen people's bowels
  • Brownian noise, a random signal
  • Brown sound, a guitar tone achieved by the use of Marshall amplifiers
  • Brown Note Records, a record label
  • Crunch

    Crunch may refer to:

  • Nestlé Crunch, a brand of candy and ice cream produced by Nestle
  • Crunch (exercise), a strength training exercise for the abdominal muscles
  • Crunch (album), an album by Impellitteri
  • Crunch (book), a book by Jared Bernstein
  • Crunch Bandicoot, a fictional character in the Crash Bandicoot video game series
  • Crunch Fitness, a chain of American health clubs
  • Crunch (programming block), a collection of television programs, aired on YTV during Saturday mornings
  • John Draper, a Vietnam War veteran and computer programmer
  • Crunch, a character in the children's novel The Cowardly Lion of Oz
  • Le Crunch, the name of the rugby test match between England and France
  • Crunch time, in video game programming, unpaid overtime usually prior to a deadline
  • Syracuse Crunch, ice hockey team based in Syracuse, New York
  • Crunch (computer term), the act of using data compression routines
  • Gain

    In electronics, gain is a measure of the ability of a circuit (often an amplifier) to increase the power or amplitude of a signal from the input to the output. It is usually defined as the mean ratio of the signal output of a system to the signal input of the same system. It may also be defined on a logarithmic scale, in terms of the decimal logarithm of the same ratio ("dB gain"). A gain greater than one (zero dB), that is, amplification, is the defining property of an active electronic component or circuit, while a passive circuit will have a gain of less than one.

    Distortion (guitar)

    Distortion, overdrive and fuzz are effects applied to the electric guitar, the electric bass, and other amplified instruments such as the Hammond organ, synthesizers, harmonica and even vocals by electronically clipping the signal. This adds sustain and additional harmonics to the signal.

    Overdrive (music)

    Because they are often designed to operate off of low voltages such as a 9 volt battery, overdrive and distortion pedals typically use transistors to generate distortion. Classic examples include the Ibanez Tube Screamer and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. A few more modern effects pedals incorporate valves; usually these still run at voltages that are below the valve's design specifications, resulting in a "starved plate" configuration that some people feel generates harsh and buzzy distortion. Distortion pedals usually also provide signal gain, which can be used to drive the input stage of the pre-amplifier harder, resulting in further distortion and, in some cases, higher volume.

    Wah-wah pedal

    A wah-wah pedal (or just wah pedal) is a type of guitar effects pedal that alters the tone of the signal to create a distinctive effect, intended to mimic the human voice. The pedal sweeps the peak response of a filter up and down in frequency to create the sound (spectral glide), also known as "the wah effect."

    Guitar software

    Amplitube (guitar software)

    AmpliTube is guitar amp and effects modeling software manufactured by IK multimedia, an Italy-based company which also operates from Sunrise, Florida. The latest version of this product is AmpliTube 3.

    Guitar Pro

    Guitar Pro is a multitrack editor of guitar and bass tablature and musical scores, possessing a built in MIDI-editor, a plotter of chords, a player, a metronome and other tools for guitarists and musicians. It has versions for Windows, Mac OS X (Intel processors only), and Linux and is written by the French company Arobas Music.

    G7 (guitar software)

    G7 is a computer program for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh for writing guitar music and songs, developed by UK software company Sibelius Software and based on the Sibelius notation program.

    Power Tab

    Power Tab Editor is a free tablature authoring tool created by Brad Larsen for Windows. It is used to create guitar, bass and ukulele tablature scores, among many others. The current version uses the *.ptb file format.

    The Power Tab Editor is able to import MIDI tracks, and can export to ASCII Text, HTML, and MIDI formats. In addition, individual sections may be exported as bitmap files.


    RiffWorks is a guitar recording and online song collaboration program for MacOS and Windows. RiffWorks is designed and developed by Sonoma Wire Works. The program includes guitar effects, drum tracks, an online music collaboration system, and the ability to post songs to its online community,


    Guitar Freaks

    GuitarFreaks (ギターフリークス) (also GUITARFREAKS, abbreviated GF) is a music video game series produced by Konami. The player uses a controller to simulate the playing of an electric guitar. The game consists of music predominantly from rock and roll and J-Pop genres, and is now in its 19th version, GuitarFreaks V7, which was released in March 2010. "Guitarfreaks V8" has been announced to be released on February 2011.

    A spin-off series, GuitarFreaks XG was released in Japanese arcades on March 10, 2010, which added two more buttons to the fret bar.

    Guitar Hero

    The Guitar Hero series (sometimes referred to as the Hero series) is a series of music video games first published in 2005 by RedOctane and Harmonix Music Systems, and distributed by Activision, in which players use a guitar-shaped game controller to simulate playing lead, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar across numerous rock music songs. Players match notes that scroll on-screen to colored fret buttons on the controller, strumming the controller in time to the music in order to score points, and keep the virtual audience excited. The games attempt to mimic many features of playing a real guitar, including the use of fast-fingering hammer-ons and pull-offs and the use of the whammy bar to alter the pitch of notes. Most games support single player modes, typically a Career mode to play through all the songs in the game, and both competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes. With the introduction of Guitar Hero World Tour in 2008, the game includes support for a four-player band including vocals and drums. The series initially used mostly cover version of songs created by WaveGroup Sound, but most recent titles feature soundtracks that are fully master recordings, and in some cases, special re-recordings, of the songs. Later titles in the series feature support for downloadable content in the form of new songs.

    Frets on Fire

    Frets on Fire (FoF) is a free, open-source Finnish music video game created by Unreal Voodoo. Players use the keyboard to play along with markers which appear on screen, with the aim to score points, achieve a high point multiplier, and complete a song. Frets on Fire was the winner of the Assembly 2006 game development competition.

    The game is written in the Python programming language, and is licensed under the GNU General Public License, although the game incorporates other free and open-source code under other licenses. The game's included song files and some internal fonts are proprietary, and their redistribution is not permitted outside of the Frets On Fire executable.


    Rock Band is a series of music video games developed by Harmonix Music Systems and MTV Games, and distributed by Electronic Arts for the Nintendo DS, iOS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360 game systems. The series, inspired by Harmonix's previous efforts on the Guitar Hero series, allows up to four players to simulate the performance of popular rock music songs by playing with controllers modeled after musical instruments. Players can play the lead guitar, bass guitar, and drums parts to songs, as well as sing into a USB microphone. Players are scored on their ability to match scrolling musical notes while playing instruments, and by their ability to match the singer's pitch on vocals.

    Guitar community

    Golden Guitar

    The Golden Guitar is one of the many "big" attractions that can be found around Australia. Located in Tamworth, New South Wales, the monument is one of the best-known points of interest in New England New South Wales. It is also a major attraction during the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

    Guitar magazines, web-sites and other media

    Guitar Player

    Guitar Player is a popular magazine for guitarists. It contains articles, interviews, reviews and lessons of an eclectic collection of artists, genres and products. It has been in print since the late 1960s and during the 1980s under Editor Tom Wheeler the publication was extremely influential in the rise of the vintage guitar market and saw explosive growth. Wheeler would go on to author "American Guitars", a large, glossy volume that for a decade in the pre-Internet era was considered the bible of vintage guitars. The magazine is currently edited by Michael Molenda. Guitar Player is a part of the Music Player Network.

    Guitar World

    Guitar World is a monthly music magazine devoted to guitarists. It contains original interviews, album and gear reviews and guitar and bass tablature of approximately five songs each month. The magazine is published 13 times per year (12 monthly issues and a holiday issue).

    Total Guitar

    Total Guitar is a monthly magazine based in the United Kingdom. The magazine is the best selling guitar magazine in Europe.

    The magazine is owned by Future Publishing, who publish many other magazines ranging from drums and video games to mountain bikes and knitting magazines.


    Ultimate Guitar Archive, also known as or simply UG, is a large guitarist community website known for its large amount of guitar and bass tablature, reviews of music and equipment, interviews with notable musicians, online written and video lessons, and forums. It was started on October 9, 1998 by Eugeny Naidenov - a student of economic faculty of Kaliningrad State University, Russia.

    Young Guitar Magazine

    Young Guitar Magazine is a popular Japanese guitar magazine which is respected by musicians from around the world for its seriousness and dedication to cover only music that is considered "pure" metal and rock 'n roll.


    A guitarist is a musician who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar while singing.

    Vintage Guitar (magazine)

    Vintage Guitar is a guitar magazine, published monthly since 1986. Some of the writers for the magazine include Seymour W. Duncan, George Gruhn, and Wolf Marshall. The content of the magazine focuses on new and vintage acoustic and electric guitars (including bass guitars), amplifiers, and Guitar effects.

    The magazine publishes an annual price guide review, which details the current market values of thousands of collectible instruments. Regular features are expert technical articles, new music reviews, new gear reviews, and celebrity instrument collections.

    Guitar festivals

    Crossroads Guitar Festival

    The Crossroads Guitar Festival is a music festival and benefit concert first held in 2004 and again in 2007 and 2010. The festivals benefit the Crossroads Centre founded by Eric Clapton, a drug treatment center located in Antigua. The concerts are also intended to be a showcase for a variety of guitarists. All were hand-picked by Eric Clapton himself, who addressed the 2007 audience, saying that each were some of the very best, and those who had earned his respect.

    Darwin International Guitar Festival

    The Darwin International Guitar Festival is held once every two years at the Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. The festival attracts many Australian guitarists including Karin Schaupp, Saffire, and Slava Grigoryan. Many international stars, such as John Williams, also attend.

    Australian composers such as Richard Charlton, Peter Sculthorpe and Nicholas Routley are also features of the festival.

    Output festival

    The Output Festival is Dutch tri-annual music festival which focuses on experimental, contemporary electroacoustic music related to the electric guitar.

    Guitar methodologies

    Guitar Craft

    Guitar Craft (GC) was a series of guitar and personal development classes, founded and often presented by Robert Fripp, who is best known for his work with King Crimson. The Introduction to Guitar Craft (2004) describes GC as three things:

  • A way to develop a relationship with the guitar;
  • A way to develop a relationship with music;
  • A way to develop a relationship with oneself.
  • In the wider guitarist community, GC was best known for having introduced the New Standard Tuning, Fripp's term for the guitar tuning that came to him in 1983 (C, G, D, A , E, G low to high), and that he had personally switched over to by 1984. In GC itself the tuning was only one tool used towards a wider aim of re-directing the student's guitar playing from scratch.

    Slang and other terms

    Axe - A Guitar

    An axe (or ax) is a tool with a metal blade, commonly used to split wood, also historically used as a weapon.

    Fret buzz

    Fret buzz is one of the many undesirable phenomena that can occur on a guitar or similar stringed instrument. Fret buzz occurs when the vibrating part of one or more strings physically strikes the frets that are higher than the fretted note (or open note). This causes a "buzzing" sound on the guitar that can range from a small annoyance, to severe enough to dampen the note and greatly reduce sustain. Sometimes, fret buzz can be so minute that there is only a small change in the tone (timbre) of the note, without any noticeable buzzing. Fret buzz can be caused by different things:

  • Low action
  • Improperly installed frets (frets are too high)
  • Strings too loose
  • Improper relief of guitar neck
  • Fret buzz is evident in some famous recordings; an example is "Friends" by Led Zeppelin (although this example is undoubtedly caused by alternate open tunings that reduce string tension). In some metal songs, such as "My Last Serenade" by Killswitch Engage, the guitars are tuned to Dropped C and the low tension of the strings are used to create fret buzz by the bass player, to create a dirty sound.

    Guitar battle or guitar duel

    A guitar battle (or guitar duel) is where two or more guitar players take turns soloing, either with or without a rhythm section. The purpose of the guitar battle is to determine who among each of the guitar players present is the most proficient on the instrument. Often, it begins with the guitarists trading licks and phrases, while gradually increasing the complexity of the technique used. A guitar battle can be said to be over when one guitarist outplays (either through skill, endurance or the other guitarist(s) acknowledging that they cannot win) all the other guitar players present. This is also known among guitarists as a "head-cutting" duel.

    Jam (music)

    A jam session is a musical act where musicians play (i.e. "jam") by improvising without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements.

    Jam sessions are often used to develop new material, find suitable arrangements, or simply as a social gathering and communal practice session. Jam sessions may be based upon existing songs or forms, may be loosely based on an agreed chord progression or chart suggested by one participant, or may be wholly improvisational. Jam sessions can range from very loose gatherings of amateurs to sophisticated improvised recording sessions intended to be edited and released to the public.

    See all musical glossaries:

    Published - February 2011

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