Guitar Terms Explained

The height of the strings above the fret board.
Alternating bass
A style of playing where the right hand alternates between two or more strings.
A chord played one note at a time.
A sub division of time in music.
Bar line
A vertical line which shows the end of a bar of music.
Bass-strum style
A right hand technique which involves picking a bass note then strumming the rest of the chord.
A horizontal line which shows two eighth or sixteenth notes belonging to the beat shown on the bottom of the time signature.
A sub division of time usually felt as the pulse within a piece of music.
The main part of a guitar (not the neck).
A group of three or more notes played simultaneously.
Chord chart
A diagram which shows a chord progression.
Chord progression
A sequence of chords played one after another.
Count in
A count at the start of a piece of music to show when to start and how fast to play (usually the top number on the time signature).
Double bar line
Two vertical lines which show the end of a section or piece of music.

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Down stroke
Right hand movement from top to bottom.
Eighth beat
A beat half as long in time as a quarter beat.
Electric guitar
A guitar which can be electrically amplified (usually with a solid body).
A right hand technique which involves using some or all your right hand fingers.
Lower in pitch.
Four/four time
A time signature of four quarter beats in one bar of music.
Fret board
The front side of a guitar neck which contains the frets.
The vertical metal bars on a guitar fret board.
Placing a finger next to a fret.
Guitar tablature
A system of reading and writing guitar music (abbreviated to TAB).
Half beat
A beat twice as long as a quarter beat.
To bring two or notes together in harmony.
Two or more notes sounding simultaneously.
The part of a guitar situated on the end of the neck which houses the machine heads.
Machine heads
Used for tuning up each string and housed on the headstock (sometimes referred to as tuning heads or tuning keys).
A succession of musical notes played one after another (usually the most recognizable tune of a song).
The part of a guitar which houses the fret board.
Nylon string guitar
An acoustic guitar which has three nylon strings.
A string played with no left hand fingers fretting any note.
An electromagnet housed underneath the strings on an electric guitar which produces a signal to be amplified by a guitar amplifier.
Plectrum A small triangular shaped piece of plastic used for striking the guitar strings with the right hand.
Quarter beat
A sub division of time in music twice as long as an eighth beat.
Repeat sign
Two dots placed before a double line indicating the repeat of a section of music.
A sequence of events played with the right hand on a guitar which gives a piece of music a distinct beat.
Rhythm notation
A system of reading and writing music which shows rhythm.
Higher in pitch.
A rhythm of which each main beat is divided into three smaller beats (prominent in blues music).
Sound hole
The hole in the front of an acoustic guitar body from which the sound is projected.
Steel string guitar An acoustic guitar which has all steel strings (usually four wound and two plain ones).
The vertical line in music or rhythm notation which appears above or below a note or rhythm.
Used to hold the guitar while in standing position.
A technique where the right hand plays the noted of a chord simultaneously either with down or up strokes.
A rhythm in music in which the down beat is felt slightly longer than the up beat (sometimes called a shuffle).
The speed of a piece of music.
Three/four time
A time signature of three quarter beats in one bar of music.
Three quarter beat
A beat which is one and a half times as long as a half beat.
A curved line which shows two notes of the same pitch joined together and played as one with the time value of both.
Time signature
A sign at the beginning of a piece of music (looks like a fraction) which shows how many beats in each bar (top number) and how long each beat lasts (bottom number).
Truss rod
A curved metal bar implanted into the neck of a guitar used to adjust the amount and direction of bend in the neck.
Twelve/eighth time
A time signature of twelve eighth beats in one bar of music.
Up stroke
Right hand movement from bottom to top.
Part of the body of a guitar which is smallest in dimension from top to bottom.
Whole beat
A beat in music which lasts for a whole bar in music with a time signature of four/four.

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