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Glossary

Basswood

Type of wood.

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Bracing

The wooden strips used inside the soundboard of string instruments. The soundboard bracing has to reliably take up the tension of the strings. Soundboards which are designed to be too stiff do not resonate; soundboards which are too weak cannot withstand the string tension in the long run. Concert guitars and Western guitars have completely different concepts. The soundboard bracing is the core aspect of a guitar design and plays the dominant role in its sound. See also "Spanish design".

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Binding

Edging of the neck, body and/or headstock. In concert guitars usually made of fine wood chips, in acoustic guitars, usually plastic, wood or mother-of-pearl.

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Bolt-on neck

The bolt-on neck offers a shorter sustain than the glued neck (the tone fades away more quickly).

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 Curved soundboard

(in Spanish concert guitars and well designed Western guitars) See under Spanish design" in our guitar tip section

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Cutaway

Shaping of the body so that the soloist can reach the upper frets and thus also play the higher ranges on the fretboard.

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Distortion

a) Analogue distortion is generated by deliberate overmodulation of the pre-amp stage. This adds extra harmonics to the sound. Distortion is a permanent feature of the rock and metal sound which can also be generated (imitated) by digital means.

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Ebony

Type of wood

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Effect system

Today these are almost exclusively digital systems which can change a signal deliberately into specific parameters. Effects include reverberation, delay, chorus, phaser and flanger.

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 Fibreglass bows

The better alternative to very cheap wooden bows. Simple wooden bows simply do not have the tension to counteract the horsehair cover. In addition, when being tightened they often deflect to the side so that they no longer play properly. Fibreglass is a homogeneous material offering a constant quality as otherwise only known in expensive wooden bows while not varying in weight. They are also far more resistant to breakages than wooden bows. This is worth taking into account particularly where children are concerned.

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Floyd Rose

Tremolo by clamping the strings to the saddle and to the bridge, tremolo with practically no mistuning. Permits greater changes in tone pitch than vintage tremolos. Tuned with a fine tuner on the bridge. But you can never change strings without tools.

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Fretboard

The board glued to the neck of string instruments to which the strings are pressed while playing; this shortens the strings and raises the tone pitch.

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Humbucker

Pick-up with 2 coils to suppress humming.

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Inlays

Decorations to embellish the instrument, frequently made of mother-of-pearl.

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Kerfing

In conventional acoustic instruments, the base and sides are glued together using wooden strips (kerfing). The kerfing is used to enlarge the gluing surface of the base/soundboard and sides.

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Notch Filter

The notch filter is a special EQ for integrating an extremely thin, deep cut in the previously defined frequency curve. The notch filter partly or completely eliminates interference frequencies (e.g. feedback, hum looping).

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Phantom feed

Some amplifiers or mixers offer an active power supply for connected instruments/microphones. This is required by many capacitor microphones.

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Pick-Up

A coil wound with fine wire that converts the sound produced by guitar strings into electrical signals.

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Piezo

Pick-up with piezo crystals for uniform pick-up of the vibrations at the bridge to convert them into electrical vibrations. The piezo pick-up is usually placed under the bridge inlay.

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Pre-Amp

Some pick-up systems can be operated on a passive and active basis. The active systems have a pre-amp, usually with a miniature mixer (in the guitar) for an additional impact on the sound. Active systems offer a far better, stronger output signal so that less power is required in the output stage without amplification of the output stage's own noises as well.

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 Response

The ability of a stringed instrument to convert the energy invested by picking the strings into a tone. The lighter the soundboard of a stringed instrument, the better the response. Instruments which are too heavy and stiff only produce a quiet sound. For guitars see under "Spanish design".

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Rosette

Circular decoration around the sound hole.

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Rosewood

Type of wood.

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Saddle

A strip of bovine bone as guide and contact surface of the strings at the head end of the neck. The saddle terminates the vibrating part of the string.

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Scale length

Unique dimension used by instrument makers for string instruments. Refers to the distance in cm between the upper and lower saddle (the two contact points of the strings). The scale length can also be referred to as the vibrating string length. The right children's size can be found here > Sizes table

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Sides

Refers to the side walls of string instruments.

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Single Coil

Pick-up consisting of one single coil, very susceptible to interference, but with a "meatier" sound than the Humbuckers.

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 Softcase

Super lightweight case. Consisting of hard foam with stitched cover and rucksack straps together with a large music compartment. Offers far better protection than expensive bases and cheap plywood cases (risk of splintering). > to the product description

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Soundboard (Top)

The upper side of the body with the sound hole. The soundboard is the most important part of the body for the vibrations and sound of the guitar to develop.

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Sustain

Holding a tone for its full time value.

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 Transducer

The new Transducer Pickups use a foil or gauze with the properties of a capacitor. Such systems are available in a sophisticated form for example from L.R.Baggs (gauze) >> or Fishman (gauze) >> and B-Band (foil) >>. The gauze/foil consists mainly of three layers. The two outer conductive layers cover an inner so called electret layer. The string and soundboard vibrations change the distance of the outer layers which results in a change in capacitance like in a condensor microfone. The result is a high-quality and authentic sound reproduction which is far superior to the classical piezo system. It produces a soft, pleasant and well balanced sound. String sliding noise are almost inaudible. Transducers are certainly much prefered to piezo systems.

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Pegs

Tuning screws on the headstock.

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