Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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Guitar Manufacturing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abalone – the “pearly” interior shell-lining of the same-named mollusk, frequently used for inlay and other decorative purposes; especially prized is the small “green heart” abalone.

 

Action – the distance of the strings from the playing surface of the fingerboard; thus, “high” action means the strings are raised farther away from the fingerboard, and “low” actions means they’re closer to the fingerboard;  qualitatively, “good action” is a matter of personal preference, but, generally speaking, lower action is easier to play.

 

Active Pickups – are pickups and electronics that use electricity to enhance the direct sound coming out of the pickups.

 

Amplifier – is an electronic device for amplifying voltage, current or power; a guitar amplifier boosts the signal from a pickup or microphone.

 

Attack – is when a single musical note is played on a instrument, and it forms a tonal “envelope” with a beginning and an end; the attack is the first portion of a note’s envelope, the point at which it starts at relative silence and reaches its maximum volume.

 

Bear Claws – most visible on light-colored tops, these are small “swirly” irregularities in the grain pattern, usually a few inches in length and one to two inches in diameter; unless cosmetic uniformity is a critical concern, bear claws are often visually striking and lend the instrument some personality; this anomaly got its name from loggers, who would peel back bark to look for marks reminiscent of those made by a bear sharpening its claws on the tree trunk (this would be the edge-on view of what we see in the guitar top). 

 

Binding – the frequently decorative strips of plastic, wood, fiber or other flexible materials used to strengthen the edges of the guitar, where the top and back meet the sides; also “purfling” or “edging”.

 

Board Feet – a unit of measure one foot long, one foot wide and one inch thick (or its equivalent); in surfaced lumber, the board foot is taken from the lumber before surfacing.

 

Bolt-on Neck – refers to the use of bolts or screws to secure the joint formed where the neck meets the body instead of the more traditional dovetail joint and glue; popularized by Fender for electric guitars, and by Taylor for acoustic guitars.

 

Bookmatching – refers to the matching of two pieces of wood used for the top or back of a guitar; the two pieces are cut from the same billet of wood, then “opened” (as one would a book) to create a mirror image on either side.

 

Bout – the curved portions above (upper bout) and below (lower bout) a guitar’s “waist;” from a frontal prospective, the upper bout would be the guitar’s “shoulders” and the lower bout would be its “hips”.

 

Bottleneck – both a style and a technique; mostly associated with blues guitar, it involves sliding a smooth metal, glass or plastic bar or tube along the strings to create a “slurred” or “glissando” effect; the term originates from the days when blues musicians would use the broken neck of a bottle for the same purpose.

 

Bracing – the splayed pattern of supportive wooden struts that strengthen the top and back of a guitar and affect tone; “scalloped” braces are those that have been shaved or carved to lighten the guitar and/or allow for tone-producing flexibility, especially on the top of the guitar; also “strutting”.

 

Bridge – s plate of wood or other material attached to the soundboard of a guitar, below the soundhole; the bridge serves to anchor the strings and, in conjunction with the saddle, conducts the vibrations or energy from the strings into the soundboard.

 

Bridge Pins – the little spike-like pegs that fit into holes on the bridge of a flat-top acoustic guitar to secure the strings; commonly made of plastic but other materials such as ebony may be used.

 

Burl – large, dense, heavy, frequently gnarly outgrowths on trees (e.g. walnut) whose fancy, compressed grain figures, when sliced, make them ideal for exotic wood veneers; commonly used as decorative material on the consoles and dashboards of expensive automobiles; burls frequently are harvested during the process of cutting down dead trees for guitar tonewood.

 

CAD/CAM – CAD is an acronym for the “computer-aided design” software used in art, architecture, engineering and manufacturing to assist in precision drawing.  CAM stands for computer-assisted manufacturing.   Both can be used in guitar manufacturing.  CAD, specifically 3D geometry graphic software can be used to design guitars.  All computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) Fadal fixtures, shaper jigs, side benders, body molds, inlay patterns and every part of the guitar (especially the neck and neck pocket) can be drawn in a computer using some type of 3D graphics program.  After the geometry is drawn, CAM toolpath programs are written to actually carve, cut and shape the parts, using CNC machinery that include the Fadals, lasers and NC routers. 

 

Capo – a device temporarily clamped to the fretboard to “barre” the strings across any of the lower fret positions, thus creating “open” strings on higher fret positions and enabling the performer to play in different keys.  Capos come in all types and configurations (some are adjustable to barre only certain strings).  Using one also lowers the action and sometimes affects intonation.

 

Catalyst – a substance that modifies and increases the rate of a chemical reaction without being consumed in the process; catalysts play a part in the making of our finish material.

 

Cellulose -   the main constituent of all plant tissues and fibers, used in the manufacture of many fibrous products, including paper, textiles and explosives; derivatives of cellulose can be used in finishing products.

 

Center Strip – the vertical seam on the back of the guitar, formed where the two book-matched pieces of wood are glued together; frequently dressed with a decorative material to match or complement the binding. 

Cites – stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (of wild fauna and flora); this organization, which boasts a membership of 145 countries, bans commercial international trade in an agreed-upon list of endangered species and regulates and monitors trade in others that might become endangered.  The 1992 CITES treaty prohibited the harvesting and exportation of coveted Brazilian rosewood.  Although this coveted tonewood is not indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, the rapid depletion of the species and the lack of a re-forestation program eventually led to a treaty by which Brazil is prohibited from harvesting and exporting its rosewood.  The Brazilian rosewood encountered in the guitar industry should be wood harvested before the treaty that has been curing in log form for many years.

 

CNC – Computer Numerically Controlled milling machines, also known by the brand name Fadal, which have a margin of error as low as one ten-thousandth of an inch; they enable manufacturers to cut and shape guitar parts and thus build guitars with much greater precision than is possible working by hand alone.

 

Cold Checking – the web-like or checkerboard pattern of fine cracks in a guitar’s finish, frequently caused by expansion and contraction due to extreme cold or heat.

 

Compensated Saddle – A saddle set at a specific angle (and with the B-string slot pre-adjusted) for optimal intonation, as opposed to a “straight” saddle.

 

Compound Dovetail – when describing a certain kind of neck-joint favored by traditional guitar makers.  “Compound” refers to it being dovetailed in two directions simultaneously; the mortise-and-tenon is dovetail shaped, so it will slide in, and it’s wedge-shaped, so that when it slides in it eventually hits bottom; without question, this makes a very strong wood joint; unfortunately, the glue-joint is buried up inside that connection, so removing the neck can be problematic.

 

Countersink – is to set the head of a screw at or below the surface of a material.

 

Cross Grain – means having the grain or fibers running diagonally, transversely or irregularly; also known as “silk”, this is a characteristic visible on some spruce tops that gets a lot of misplaced attention; it is not a flaw.

 

Cutaway – is a curved indentation in the upper, treble-side bout near the neck which allows access to the upper frets; a “Venetian” cutaway is rounder and smoother; a “Florentine” cutaway comes to a sharper point (requiring a miter joint) and is more complex and labor-intensive.

 

Dampit – is a tube or hose-like soundhole humidifier that is suspended inside the guitar’s sound chamber, where it can release moisture in discreet amounts to prevent or counteract the effects of drying caused by low relative humidity.

 

Decay – is the decline in the level of volume or reverberation of the “envelope” of a musical note in which the envelope goes from maximum to some mid-range level; also, the rate of that decline (see attack).

 

Dovetail – is the combination of a flaring tenon and the mortise into which it tightly fits to make an interlocking joint between two pieces (as in wood); dovetail neck joints are favored by traditional makers.

Dreadnought – is a large body, thick-waisted acoustic guitar pioneered by Frank H. Martin and Harry Hunt in the early 1900’s.  Today the term is used generically to describe that body style.

 

End Block – is a piece of hardwood affixed to the inside, tail-end of a guitar, intended to provide structural support and reinforcement where the sides come together, as well as an anchor for the end pin; also called “tail block”.

 

End Pin – is a raised button, usually metal, seated in a hole in the middle of the “butt” or outside tail-end of the guitar, to which a guitar strap can be fastened; if the guitar is outfitted with a pickup, the end pin also can serve as a “jack” (entry hole) for the plug on an electrical cord.

 

Feedback – is the usually annoying sound produced when a string or microphone picks up and amplifies its own signal from a loudspeaker; because of their nature, some tonewoods used to make acoustic guitars are more prone to this problem than others.

 

Fingerboard – is the thin piece of wood that forms the smooth playing surface of the neck and which features saw-cut slots that hold the frets; ebony, rosewood and other dark hardwoods are commonly used; also “fretboard”.

 

Fingerjoint – is a joint similar to the “scarf” joints that have been used on classical guitars for years.  Fingerjoints are so named because they look like interlocking “fingers”; such a joint used to connect a peghead to a neck actually increases the strength of that area. Tests have shown it is just as strong as, if not stronger than, solid wood.  Fingerjoints allow better utilization of neck woods by making it unnecessary to cut a neck and peghead from a single piece of wood and because there is no heel in the way from the start, like there is with a one-piece neck, frets can be “pressed in” rather than pounded in, thus producing a far more accurate fret job and opening up possibilities for using other types of fret wire.

 

Figure – the distinctive pattern produced by a wood’s grain, annual rings, rays, coloration or knots. 

 

Finish – is a material used in the final treatment or coating of a surface such as that on a guitar.

 

Flatpick – is a small, flat object, usually plastic, held between the thumb and forefinger or index finger and used to strike the strings of an instrument; also know as a pick or plectrum.

 

Flat-Sawn – refers to wood that has been cut perpendicular to the rays; the log is first sawed in half, then each half is mounted so that it moves up and down against a knife, slicing is parallel to the center line and at a tangent to the growth rings in the tree. (see quarter-sawn)

 

Flat Top – is a steel string guitar with a flat soundboard.

 

Florentine – see “cutaway”.

 

Fret Markers – are inlays commonly set at the third, fifth, seventh, nine and 12th frets (and higher on some guitars) intended to provide the player with a quick visual reference for positioning along a fingerboard.  These can range from simple, utilitarian squares or dots made of wood, metal or pearloid, to ornate designs or symbols made from more exotic materials.

 

Frets – are the rounded metal strips hammered into sloths on the fingerboard and spaced at precise intervals so as to produce specific pitches when the strings are depressed against them.

 

Gig Bag – is a soft, padded, relatively “lightweight” travel bag, usually but not exclusively used for casual transportation of guitars or other instruments.

 

Grain – is a term that refers to the direction or orientation of wood cells, particularly the fibrous element.

 

Grain Filler – also known as “paste filler”, this is a thick substance used for filling open-grain woods and for staining necks; traditionally a brown, oil-based paste, filler is applied to al guitars (except maple and spruce) to fill the wood pores in preparation for finish spraying; this paste not only fills the pores, it also homogenizes the color variations in such woods as rosewood, walnut and koa. 

 

Guitarron – is a large, deep-bodied bass instrument held like a guitar, boasting as many as six strings and used primarily in mariachi and other forms of Latin folk music.

 

Hardwoods – the woods derived from angiospermous trees, as distinguished from coniferous trees; angiospermae are broad-leaf trees that produce fruits and flowers and are deciduous, meaning that in temperate zones they shed their leaves every autumn; with the exception of coniferous spruce and cedar, the woods used normally to make guitars.

 

Harmonics – are the bell-like upper tonal components of a note, relative to the fundamental, most easily heard at certain points on the fingerboard by lightly attacking a string directly over a fret but without fretting it.

 

Headstock Overlay – is a usually thin decorative or contrasting design, article or material such as rosewood or ebony, positioned to cover a guitar’s headstock or peghead.

 

Heartwood – is the older, harder, non-living central wood of a tree that has ceased to conduct sap and serves the sole function of support; heartwood is created as the sapwood moves farther away from the active growth region of the tree and dies; it is usually darker, denser, less permeable and more durable than the surrounding sapwood.

 

Heel – is the part of the neck that widens to joint the body; usually with a concave curvature to accommodate the hand so that the guitarist can reach the upper frets.

 

Heel Block - is a piece of hardwood affixed to the inside of the guitar where the neck joins the upper body, for the purpose of providing structural support and reinforcement; also “head block” or “neck block”.

Heel Cap – on some guitars, this is the decorative veneer used to cap the small, triangular tip of the heel.

 

Humidity – see “Relative Humidity”.

 

Hygrometer – is an instrument used to measure relative humidity levels in guitar cases and other instrument storage areas.

 

Inlay – are decorative designs on the fingerboard, the peghead and/or the body of a guitar; usually, the patterns are cut into the wood and filled with such materials as abalone, oyster, mother-of-pearl, plastic light metals, etc.

 

Intonation – as a general music term, this refers to the ability to play or sing on pitch; for the purposes of guitar manufacturing, intonation refers to how a given instrument plays in tune with itself; a guitar string should produce the same note played as a harmonic at the 12th fret as it does when you fret that string at the same place; when a repairperson setting up a guitar puts in on a scope (strobe tuner) that compares the 12th fret harmonic with a fretted 12th fret note, he’s checking the “intonation”.

 

Isolate sealer – is a preliminary coat used before the application of a past filler on some models; most of the tonewoods will accept a filler without undue prepping, one exception being rosewood.  Rosewood’s natural oils make it resistant to finish.

 

Kasha, Dr. Michael – is a practicing physicist whose theories about tone production in acoustic guitars have influenced a number of contemporary luthiers, including Steve Klein and the late Richard Schneider (who taught Kasha Design Master Classes in Carlsborg, WA); in simple terms, Kasha believe that the sound chamber of an acoustic guitar is more friendly to some frequencies than to others, and his structural designs attempt to bring all available frequencies into better balance to product richer tonalities.

 

Kerfing -  tapered or wedge-shaped strips of wood glued around the inside seams of a guitar to add strength and stability where the sides meet the top and back; “kerfed” means articulated with closely spaced slits that render the wood strip flexible; also “lining”.

 

Kerfing Clamp – is a metal clamp designed by Bob Taylor (Taylor Guitars) and Matt Guzzetta to more evenly and firmly hold the kerfing in place during the gluing process; traditionally, luthiers have used and many continue to use, ordinary clothespins.

 

Kiln Drying – is the process of achieving and stabilizing a wood’s desired moisture content by placing it in temperature-controlled “ovens” where excess moisture is removed by heat.

 

Lac – is a resinous secretion of the lac insect (found in southern Asia); used in making shellac.

 

Lacquer – is a synthetic coating made by dissolving nitrocellulose or other cellulose derivatives together with plasticizers in a mixture of volatile solvents.  There is no such thing as a “natural lacquer” as all lacquers are combinations of the above.

 

Laminated – when used to describe an acoustic guitar, this refers to the use of think plies of wood glued together to form a top, back and/or sides (as opposed to “solid wood”); frequently used on less expensive guitars.

 

Lapped – in machining to “lap” means to polish an object to perfect flatness; other words used to describe this process include “flattened” and “mated”.

 

Lutherie – is the craft of guitar making; the world of guitars and guitar making.

 

Luthier – is a maker of lutes, violins and other stringed instruments, especially acoustic guitars.

 

Marbling – are the natural color variations (usually light brown streaks) frequently found in ebony; some manufacturers stain or paint ebony black to mask these striations.

 

Miter Joint – is a joint formed by pieces matched and united upon a line bisecting the angle of junction, as by the beveled ends of two pieces of molding, especially when the pieces form a right angle.

 

Monomer – is a molecule that can be chemically bound as a unit of a polymer; also, a chemical compound that can undergo polymerization, which is a chemical reaction in which two or more molecules combine to form larger molecules that contain repeating structural units. 

 

Mortise-and-Tenon – is a type of joint or juncture used to connect two pieces of material; a mortise (or mortice) usually is a rectangular cavity in a piece of wood, stone or other material shaped to receive a tenon; conversely, a tenon is a projection on the piece to be attached, shaped to fit the mortise.

 

Mother-of-Pearl – is the lustrous interior lining of certain mollusks, frequently used for inlays, fret markers and other decorative work; may also be referred to as “pearl”.

 

Mustache Bridge – refers to a bridge whose shape suggests a handlebar moustache.

 

Neck Angle – is the angle of the neck in relation to the body; on acoustic instruments, the degree of neck pitch often determines the longevity of the guitar in regard to strength.

 

Neck Joint – is the place on the guitar where the neck attaches to the body.

 

Neck Profile – is the width and shape of a guitar neck. 

 

Neck Reset – is an operation undertaken specifically to return a guitar to factory specs, and more generally to maintain the structural integrity of a guitar over its long life; usually necessary only after many years of use.

 

New Technology Neck (NT NECK) – In a new-tech or NT neck, the fingerboard extension does not lie on the guitar top, but is set into a precision cut slot on the guitar tope, where it is secured to the interior blocking system; this leaves the fretboard independent from and unaffected by changes in the body caused by humidity, etc;  underneath the fingerboard is a half-inch of the neck wood, supported by special blocks inside the body cavity; special “spacers” are available that enable a repairperson to adjust the action to the player’s playing style or preference in a matter of minutes and to accommodate changes in humidity while on the road;  the new three-piece neck features a stacked heel and a Fingerjoint at the peghead; the NT neck design renders the neck-joint stronger and more adaptable, more easily accessible and helps to conserve wood.

 

Nitrocellulose – is a pulpy or cotton-like polymer derived from cellulose treated with sulfuric and nitric acids and used in the manufacture of explosives, plastics and solid monopropellants; nitrocellulose lacquer is the common, traditional finish used on guitars.

 

Notation – is a written system of notes, figures and symbols used to represent musical tones and dynamic values in composition.

 

Notch Filler – is a fixed-level, variable-frequency filter found on some preamps that isolates a specific frequency (usually in the low-mids area of the tonal spectrum) to eliminate feedback or unwanted resonance from the body of the guitar.

 

Nut – is the strip of bone, metal or synthetic material that acts as a spacing guide for the strings where the neck joins the headstock; like the saddle, the nut also affect tone, in this case by conducting the strings’ vibrations into the neck (see “Tusq”).

 

Nut Slots – are the notches on a guitar’s nut that hold the strings in place.

 

Oligomer – is a polymer that consists of two, three or four monomers.

 

Orange Peel – is the “porous” appearance of a guitar’s surface that results from the finish soaking into the wood’s pores over time; usually this happens when intermediate steps were not taken to close the wood pores using a “filler” prior to applying the finish coat. 

 

Organic – means having properties associated with living organisms (i.e. oil, wood, fiber).

 

Passive Pickups – are pickups that don’t use electricity to enhance the direct sound coming out of the pickups.

 

Pearloid – synthetic mother-of-pearl made by mixing plastic and pearl dust.

 

Peghead – see “headstock”.

 

Pick, Plectrum – is a small, thin device, made of ivory, wood or plastic, used to pluck a stringed instrument.

 

Pickguard – is a very thin plate usually made of synthetic material that is glued to the soundboard below the treble side of the soundhole, ostensibly to protect the finish from scratches and gouges; some manufacturers put pickguards on both sides of the soundhole.

 

Pickup – in guitar manufacturing, this is a coil wound with fine wire that converts the sound produced by guitar strings into electrical signals.

 

Plasticizers – are any of the various substances added to plastics or other material to keep them soft or pliable (see “lacquer”).

 

Playability – is the ease with which an instrument can be played, relative to the player’s comfort and the effort required to product the desired result.

 

Polyester – any of a number of synthetic resins, produced chiefly by a reaction of dibasic acids with dihydric alcohols.  In guitar finishing it refers to a basic chemical makeup and has a many variations as the term “human” has in referring to people.

 

Polymer – any of numerous natural or synthetic compounds consisting of up to millions of repeated linked molecular units, each being a relatively light and simple molecule.

 

Preamp – is an electronic device designed to amplify extremely weak electrical signals before they are fed to additional and usually more powerful amplifier circuits; any such signal-boosting device; short for “preamplifier”.

 

Purfling – sometimes referred to as “Marquetry”, purfling frequently comprises two or more type of binding strips whose surfaces, when laminated, create a specific design; se “binding”.

 

Quartersawn Wood – is a log cut into quarters lengthwise along its axis, parallel to the rays (the lines the run out from the center of the log); quartersawn tonewood is the preferred wood for guitar making due to its stability and uniform figure. 

 

Radius – is a line segment extending from the center of a circle or sphere to the circumference or bounding surface, or the circular area defined by a stated radius.

 

Relative Humidity – Humidity is a state of usually invisible moisture in the air;  relative humidity (RH) is the amount of moisture in a given volume of air as compared to the amount that it is capable of holding, and measured as a percentage; if the RH is 30%, that mean the air is holding 30% of the moisture it is capable of holding; as air temperature increases, so does the air’s capacity to hold moisture; if the air temperature rises and its moisture content (humidity) stays the same, then the relative humidity becomes a lower percentage;  when the temperature inside a building is raised, as so often is the case in the winter, the RH indoors will drop; the only way to re-establish the proper RH is to add moisture to the air; this can be done with a humidifier.

 

Resin – any of a number of clear or translucent substances, either from plant origin or synthetics, used in producing lacquers, adhesives, plastics, polyesters, epoxies, silicones etc.

 

Rosette – is a decorative inlay around the soundhole, frequently consisting of designs in several concentric circles.

 

Runout – is the orientation of wood cells being other than parallel to the edge (face) of the board; often difficult or impossible to detect visually, severe runout can be detrimental to strength and sound transmission (also known as “slope”).

 

Saddle – is a strip of bone, metal or synthetic material that fits into a slot on the bridge and acts both as a spacing guide for the strings and together with the bridge as a conductor of the vibrations or energy from the strings into the soundboard (see “Tusq”).

 

Saddle Pickup or Piezo Transducer: - a transducer is a device that is actuated by power from one system and supplies power, usually in another form, to a second system; a piezo transducer is place under a guitar’s saddle, where it pick up vibrations from the strings, after which the signal is boosted and then controlled by one tone and one volume control on the upper side of the instrument.

 

Saddle Slots – are the notches on a guitar’s saddle that hold the strings in place.

 

Scale Length – describes the total length of a vibrating open string; a formula is applied to the scale length to determine fret positions, with the 12th fret being the half-way point; most flat-top, steel-string acoustic guitars have a scale length of between 24 and 26”; string tension increases with scale length.

 

Scallop – see “bracing”.

 

Seasoning (Wood) – is the removal of water and the removal and/or hardening of less volatile materials such as oils, fats, resins and gums as well as the structural changes that take place over time.

 

Shim – is a thin, often tapered piece of material used as a leveler or filler between such materials as wood, stone and metal; the removable, interchangeable “spacers” used to achieve specific neck angles in new-tech neck joints are a form of shim.

 

Shiplap – is wooden sheathing in which the boards are rabbetted so that the edge of each board laps over the edges of adjacent boards to make a flush joint ( a rabbet is a channel, grove or recess cut out of the edge or face of a surface, usually to enable one edge to receive another, as in paneling.)

 

Signal Chain – is the connected sequence of preamps, amps, equalization components, effects boxes, mixers, routers, microphones, speakers and other equipment that carry and process the sound of a guitar from instrument to audience.

 

Silica Gel Packs – Silica gel is an effective desiccant or drying agent; sugar-packet sized silica gel packs are used to reduce moisture levels in small, confined areas such as food containers and cases containing sensitive photographic equipment and musical instruments; under conditions of high relative humidity it is advisable to leave several of these packets in one’s guitar case; to ensure that they don’t exceed their moisture-holding capacity and become ineffective, it is wise to replace them every few months during prolongs periods of high humidity.

 

Soundboard – is the tope of an acoustic guitar; also referred to as “belly”, “plate”, “table” and “deck”.

 

Soundhole – is a large hole in the soundboard, usually directly under the strings designed to increase sound projection.

 

Slider Units – are electronic devices added to a guitar to enable the player to adjust tone and volume via slide controls; guitars with slider units, such as the Fishman Prefix Pro Blend, are built with a veneer patch installed in the guitar’s side to strengthen the area where the hole is cut.

 

Softwoods – are coniferous (cone-bearing) trees with evergreen needles or scale-like leaves that grow in cool, temperate northern regions; also known as Gymnospermae.

 

Solvent – is a material capable of dissolving another substance.

 

Soundhole Pickup – unlike a saddle pickup, this is mounted inside the soundhole of the guitar.

 

Strap pin – like its counterpart the end pin, this is a raised button to which a guitar strap can be fastened; usually attached to the hell, the neck area near the heel or les commonly the side of the guitar body nearest the heel; also called a “strap button”.

 

Sweet Spot – that point in the process of setting up a guitar, positioning the saddle, adjusting the neck angle etc. where the builder feels that the instrument will function at its optimal level.

 

Synthetic – is produced by a synthesis of elements or materials, especially not of natural origins; man-made.

 

Tablature – is a method for transcribing music that shows the positions of notes on the frets and strings, usually identified by the letter-name of the chord; also known as “tab”.

 

Tail Strip – is the thin line of wood that runs down the middle seam on the outside butt-end of a guitar body; a decoration where the two halves of the back are joined; also known as “backstrip” and “end joint”.

 

Tenon – is a projecting member in a piece of wood or other material for insertion into a mortise to make a joint.

 

Tone Transfer – is the transfer of tone from a guitar neck into the body cavity through the neck joint.

 

Transcribe – is to make a written copy of songs or music in either notation or tablature form.

 

Transducer – is a device for transferring energy from one form to another, used to describe a form of pickup used for amplifying acoustic instruments.

 

Truss Rod – is a dowel-like rod, sometimes made of hardwood or graphite but more commonly of steel, which is fitted lengthwise into a neck to counteract the pull caused by string tension.

 

Truss Rod Cover – is a small piece of wood or other material used to cover the opening where one gains access to the truss rod for the purpose of making adjustments.

 

Truss Rod Wrench – is a tool used to adjust the truss rod in a guitar neck.

Tuners – this refers to the pegs, attached to the headstock, that are used to wind, tighten and/or loosen strings; also called “tuning heads”, “tuning pegs”, “friction pegs” and “machine heads”.

 

TUSQ – is a synthetic simulation of “bone” or “ivory.

 

12 fret / 14 fret Neck – this refers not to the number of frets on a fingerboard, but to the fret at which the neck joins the body.

 

Variable-Tolerance Parts – “tolerance” refers to the amount of permissible deviation from factory-specified structural dimensions; a manufacturer who allows flexibility regarding variation from a standard makes “variable tolerance” parts.

 

Veneer – is one or more very thin sheet of wood that literally are sliced from a log and used to cover other material (commonly plywood) to create the illusion of “solid” wood. 

 

Venetian – see “cutaway”.

 

Volatile – means evaporating readily at normal temperatures and pressures.

 

Waist – is the inward-curving middle of a guitar.

 

X-Bracing – Martin originally invents “X” bracing, so named because the main brace form an “X” shape across the inside surface of the guitar; it served as a significant line of demarcation between the traditional, fan-braced classical guitar and the modern steel-strung guitar.

 

Zip Kicker – is an accelerator for cyanoacrylate or “super glue” adhesives which can be applied either before or after the glue.


 

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