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James Neil Smith
This section describes the terms used in the construction of a guitar.
- Classical Guitars - are characterised by their shape — modern guitar shape, or historic guitar shape. Its strings — traditionally made of gut, but today primarily nylon, the bass-strings additionally being wound with a thin metal thread. The instrumental technique — the individual strings are usually plucked with the fingers or the fingernails, as opposed to using a plectrum or pick. Its historic repertoire, though this is of lesser importance, since any repertoire can be and is played on the guitar.
- Fingerboard - also known as a fretboard on fretted instruments, is a part of most stringed instruments. It is a thin, long strip of wood that is laminated to the front of the neck of an instrument and above which the strings run. In the playing of such an instrument, a musician presses the strings down towards it in order to change their vibrating lengths, causing changes in pitch. This is called "stopping" the strings.
- Flamenco Guitars - are made of cypress and spruce, which accounts for its characteristic body colour, and is lighter in weight and a bit smaller than a classical guitar, to give the sound a "brighter" and percussive quality. Volume has traditionally been very important in Flamenco construction, as guitarists needed to be heard over the sound of the dancers' nailed shoes.
- Fretwire - this is what is commonly called hard nickel-silver wire (the actual composition is primarily of copper and nickel, with small amounts of other metals). This is the standard material most often used in fretted instruments.
- Luthier - is someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments. The word luthier comes from the French word for lute, "luth". The craft of lutherie is divided into two main categories: stringed instruments that are plucked or strummed, and stringed instruments that are bowed.
- Machine Head - also called a tuner, gear head, or tuning machine, is part of a guitar for tensioning and tuning a string, usually located at the headstock. A headstock has several machine heads, one per string. Non-geared tuning devices as used on violins, violas, cellos, lutes and Flamenco guitars are known as tuning pegs.
- Rosettes - a traditional style mosaic rosette is made up of hundreds, or thousands of tiny squares of colored veneer in intricate design patterns. This graphic centerpiece is outlined by pinstripe lines that are also made of veneer, cut into strips and wrapped together to make concentric circles. There are many painstaking steps in the preparation of these elements. It is a time consuming, detail oriented, and labour intensive process.
- Tonewood - is the term generally used to designate wood with recognized and consistent acoustic qualities when used in the making of musical instruments. The type of wood used on a guitar, is a much debated factor contributing to its tone. It is rare that a musical instrument is made entirely of a single kind of wood. Since sound is generated through vibration, the instrument's primary wood is selected for the particular characteristics of its vibration.