Understanding Guitar Lingo – The Language of the Guitar

It is very hard when you are learning something new, there are so many things to remember in the process of learning the guitar, but it is important to get to know the lingo. Those words that everyone seems to know what they mean except you. Don’t feel bad, this has happened to everyone when they started learning, it will just take a little time and you will feel comfortable with the guitar lingo.

Guitar lingo starts with the names of the guitar parts and includes the other words that relate to the music, chords and notes.

Here we go, read, learn and inwardly digest guitar lingo.


The largest part of the guitar is the Body, also known as the sound box and you will find it comes in various shapes and sizes. The body of an acoustic guitar is hollow while an electric guitar body is mostly solid or semi solid.


This is the top of the guitar and holds the keys where you tune the guitar and is connected to the neck of the guitar.


There is a small rod with indents that hold the guitar strings in place, it is situated between the guitar neck and the head.


The long section holding the fret board between the headstock and the body is the neck.

Fret board

There are small metal rods dividing the fret board into different notes. It depends on the type of guitar as to how many frets in the fret board. The fret board on a modern electric guitar usually has 20-22 frets.


The bridge is found on the guitar’s body, it elevates the guitar strings to enable them to produce a vibration that help with the sound resonance, this is important to the way the guitar sounds.


Usually found on electric guitars, it is an electronic device, acts as a microphone to pick up the strings vibrations converting them into electric impulses.


This is the speaker box that magnifies the electric guitar sounds.


A Capo is the device which is attached to the fret board allowing a chord to be played in a different key.

The above relates to the guitar itself, below are some of the words you will find that relate to the guitar music, chords and notes. You may have heard the words but don’t know where they fit in.


Parts of a song, musical pieces are referred to as guitar riffs.


This comes about through what is called an effects box or can happen through amplifiers, so that the sound is heard as more natural.


You may have heard of this as guitar tabs. These are music written especially for the guitar translating the notes and other music symbols to guitar frets. This is one you should quickly become familiar with and it is very useful in learning to play the guitar.


When the guitar string is bent slightly at a fast rate the sound it produces is a longer resonating sound, this is known as vibrato.


This is a technique used to create an adlib lead or add to the song’s rhythm by removing notes from a certain chord.


This is a small plastic device that is used to play the guitar strings.

Whammy bar

You may have heard a guitarist make his guitar “cry”. if you did then he was using a whammy bar. This bar is attached to the bridge of electric guitars and bends the pitch of the notes.


When the strings are hit one by one with either the fingers or a pick this is called plucking. This technique gives a more definite note and can be much a softer sound.

Palm mute

When a player wants to be able to get a distinct tone he may mute the strings with his picking hand while strumming. The punk rock world like this one.

There are many other words relating to the guitar, the above are the most common, the other ones you will learn as you go along. For starters, master these and you will be a long way in front.

So there you are, a good start to learning guitar lingo. Write them down, print them out but most importantly, get to know them and enjoy learning to play the guitar.