3/4-size guitarA smaller than normal guitar with shorter strings and less space between frets.
actionA term referring to the height of the strings above the frets and fretboard.
altered and open tuningsThe result of changing the tuning of one or more strings from standard EADGBE.
alternate pickingPicking in alternate directions (down-up-down-up).
arpeggioA broken chord, usually played evenly low to high and back again.
arrangementThe setting of an original or standard tune for a given solo instrument or group of instruments
barre chordFrom the French term barré. The technique of placing the left hand index finger over two to six strings in the fingering of a chord. The great advantage of using barre chords is that they are "moveable shapes" that can be applied at practically any fret.
bendingThe act of pushing or pulling a string sideways across the a fret to raise the pitch of a note by a half to full tone or more. Used extensively in rock and blues playing as well as in jazz.
capoA mechanical barre that attaches to the neck of a guitar by means of a string, spring, elastic or nylon band, or a lever and thumbscrew arrangement. The capo can be used to raise the key of a song to suit a vocalist as well as to lower the action and shorten the string length.
chordThree or more notes sounded simultaneously.
chorus (of a tune)Strictly speaking, the portion of a song lyric or melody that is repeated, often with other voices joining in. In jazz improvisation, however, "playing a chorus" would mean taking a turn improvising over the tune's chords progression.
closed voicingThe term "voicing" refers to the vertical arrangement of the notes of a given chord. "Closed voicing" places the member notes as close together as possible, no matter the inversion as opposed to "open voicing" which spreads the member notes of the chord at larger intervals.
cutawayA concave area generally in the upper right bout of a normal right-hand guitar that allows the player easier access to the high frets.
dropped-D tuningThe practice of lowering the sixth string (E) by a whole tone, one octave lower than the fourth string.
finger picksBanjo-style picks that fingerstyle guitarists use when playing steel-string instruments.
fingerstylePlaying with the fingernails or fingertips with or without fingerpicks as opposed to playing with a flatpick.
flatpickA triangular or teardrop-shaped piece of nylon or plastic used to pluck or strum guitar strings. Flatpicks are available in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and thickness.
footstoolA small adjustable stool used to raise the height of the guitar.
hammer-onA note sounded literally by "hammering" down with a left hand finger, often performed in conjunction with a note first plucked by the right hand on the same string.
harmonicsChime-like sounds achieved in two ways: 1) natural harmonics - by touching a string at any equidistant division of the string length (typically 5th, 7th, and 12th fret), directly above the fret with left hand, and striking hard with the right-hand fingers or pick near the bridge where there is more string resistance; or 2) artificial harmonics - touching a string with the index finger of the right hand twelve frets higher than any fretted note and plucking the string with either the thumb or third finger of the right hand.
intervalThe distance between two notes.
inversionStructuring a chord with a note other than the root as the lowest note.
lead guitarThe part played by a guitar soloist in a rock band
modulateTo change keys within a piece of music
open voicingA manner of chord construction in which the member notes are broadly separated. See closed voicing above.
pentatonic scaleA five-tone scale used often in rock.
pickingPlucking or producing a sound on the guitar in general, either with the fingers or a flatpick. Sometimes refers to playing a single-note melody line.
p i m aletters derived from the Spanish names for the fingers of the right hand: pulgar (thumb), indice (index), medio (middle), and anular (ring). Used to indicate fingering.
plectrumAnother name for a flatpick.
positionsA reference to placement of the left hand index finger at various frets.
power chordA chord consisting of the first (root), fifth and eighth degree (octave) of the scale. Power chords are typically used in playing rock music.
pull-offThe opposite of a hammer-on. Performed by plucking a note with a finger on a higher note and pulling parallel to the fret to sound a lower note on the same string.
rhythm guitarRhythmic strumming of chord backup for a lead player, singer, or ensemble.
setupThe adjustment of the action of a guitar for optimal playing characteristics.
slideA plastic or glass tube placed over the third or fourth finger of the left hand and used to play "slide" or glissando effects in rock and blues and other forms of traditional music.
standard tuningThe guitar is generally tuned EADGBE low to high.
string winderA swivel device with a handle with a fixture that fits over the tuning keys.
strummingPerformed with a pick or the fingers. Generally consists of brushing across 2-6 strings in a rhythmic up and down fashion appropriate to the tune being played.
tablature or tabA system of writing music for fretted instruments whereby a number or letter appears on lines representing the strings, indicating the fret to be played.
transcriptionTo write a solo, note for note, off of a recording.
transposeTo change the key of a piece of music by a specific interval.
tremoloA technique performed with either a very rapid down-up movement of the pick or a pami plucking of the fingers.
triadA three-note chord.
tunerAn electronic tuning device.
vibratoTo vibrate by slightly altering a pitch higher and lower.
voicingThe arrangement of the member notes of a chord, or placement of the melody or bass line within a harmonic progression.