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Guitar Dictionary | p


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A symbol used to represent the thumb on the picking hand. It is part of the pima labelling system.

Full Article on: pima labelling

An amplifier that is used by vocalists and instruments that are miked up.

A technique that involves resting the picking hand on the strings (near the bridge) to cut off any resonance, creating a percussive sound. Used mainly in various forms of rock music.

Full Article on: palm muting

Looking at modes that are derived from the same scale but having each mode in the same key. It provides a good way of seeing the different interval patterns.

Synonymous With: Altered View

Full Article on: modes - part 2

A chromatic note which is outside the scale but used quickly in passing to add diversity to a section of music. Used by blues and lead guitarists a lot.

Pickups that convert the direct sound to an electrical signal without the signal being enhanced, as opposed to active pickups.

A piece of equipment used to activate guitar effects via a foot operated switch. Pedals can have built in effects (wah pedals, distortion pedals etc.) or be linked to a separate effects unit.

A guitar played horizontally, on which, a steel bar is used as a slide. Commonly called the Hawaiian Guitar because it was invented and popularised by the Hawaiians.

Synonymous With: lap steel guitar, steel guitar, Hawaiian Guitar

The section of the guitar attached to the top of the neck. Used to hold the machineheads.

Synonymous With: Headstock

Full Article on: anatomy of the guitar

A scale containing five notes per octave, existing as minor or major. The minor pentatonic scale has become the most widely used scale amongst rock guitarists and defines the typical sound of a rock guitar solo.

Full Article on: scales - major pentatonic, scales - minor pentatonic

An interval of 12 semitones.

Full Article on: intervals

An interval of 7 semitones.

Full Article on: intervals

An interval of 5 semitones.

Full Article on: intervals

When two of the same note, at the same pitch, are played simultaneously.

A guitar effect that produces Doppler-like sounds by varying delay and notch filtering.

  1. Small, thin object used for plucking or strumming the strings.
  2. The sounding of a guitar string with a plectrum or finger.

Synonymous With: Flat Pick, Plectrum, Pluck

Full Article on: how to hold a plectrum

Plastic or metal flat cover that protects the guitars finish from scratches. Pick guards are attached to the body of the guitar just below the pickups.

Synonymous With: Scratchplate

A technique where the pick is firmly dragged across the strings. Can be done to provide emphasis on the highest note and can sometimes contain muted strings. A similar technique to arpeggiated chords.

Synonymous With: Rake

The scratching along the strings with the side of the pick. Usually the lower three strings, scraped up or down. Creates a screeching sound.

Synonymous With: pick slide

Full Article on: pick scrapes

The scratching along the strings with the side of the pick. Usually the lower three strings, scraped up or down. Creates a screeching sound.

Synonymous With: Pick Scrape

Full Article on: pick scrapes

An individual string sounded with a plectrum or finger.

Synonymous With: Plucking

Full Article on: strumming

The sounding of a guitar string with a plectrum or finger.

The hand that holds the plectrum or plucks the strings with fingers. A persons dominant hand is usually used as the picking hand although many left-handers choose to play right-handed guitars.

Full Article on: hand labelling

Controls which pickup, or combination of pickups, are turned on.

Synonymous With: toggle switch

Electromagnets that are located on the front of the body. They produce a magnetic field that is disturbed by vibrations in the air (caused by the strings) which in turn alters the signal that is sent through a cable to the amp. The amp then receives the signal and amplifies it. There are two types of pickup: single coil pickups and humbuckers.

Instructions found on tablature that indicate which picking hand fingers should be used. It uses the symbols p, i, m, a and c to direct a specific finger picking pattern. p = thumb i = index finger m = middle finger a = annular finger c = little finger

Full Article on: pima labelling

A technique achieved by striking the string with the pick and thumb tip in the same motion. Produces a note up to two octaves higher.

Full Article on: pinch harmonics

The frequency of a note (how high or low it sounds). The A directly above middle C is 440 Hz. This is called concert pitch.

A sound processor. Digitally increases/decreases signal pitch without affecting other factors.

The level of skill and effort needed to play a particular guitar. Can be subject to personal taste.

Small, thin object used for plucking or strumming the strings.

Synonymous With: pick, flat pick

Full Article on: how to hold a plectrum

The sounding of a guitar string with a plectrum or finger.

Synonymous With: Pick

Full Article on: strumming

An individual string sounded with a plectrum or finger.

Synonymous With: Picked

Full Article on: strumming

The sounding of a guitar string with a plectrum or finger.

Synonymous With: Picking

Full Article on: strumming

The fret at which your index finger based. For example, if a riff requires you to use you index finger to play a note on the 5th fret then you can play any note on 6th, 7th or 8th fret with other fingers without movng index finger. This would be called playing in the fifth position.

Produces extra gain to increase output signal level.

Contains only the root and the fifth notes, and so is not minor or major. Used for an aggressive or cold sound.

Full Article on: powerchords

Short for preamplifier, circuits that increases low-level input signals before they reach the power amp.

Synonymous With: Preamplifier

See Also: Power Amp

A bend is made before the string is plucked and usually released to create a drop in pitch.

Synonymous With: reverse bend, ghost bend

Circuits that increases low-level input signals before they reach the power amp.

The Spanish term for thumb on the picking hand. It is part of the pima labelling system, abbreviated by the symbol 'p'.

Synonymous With: p

See Also: indice, medio, anular, chico

Full Article on: pima labelling

A way of sounding a note without plucking. The opposite of a hammer-on. Hold the frets marked in tab and pluck, releasing the fret finger(s) to sound the lower held notes.

Full Article on: pull-offs

The underlying rhythm to a piece of music. Distinct from the word beat (beat can mean a unit of time as well as an underlying rhythm).

Strips of binding found on acoustic guitars that are frequently used as decoration.