Learning Guitar Slang Made Easy

At any stage of learning to play the Guitar, you will undoubtedly become a part of the musicians circle. Common interests bring people together in both song and conversation. Guitarists share thoughts on the concepts of music, how they improve their techniques and different music styles they are trying out. If you are newer to the scene, you will come across some Guitar Terms that you are not familiar with. Smiling and nodding will get you by for a short while, however its best to avoid the awkward moment with an understanding of Guitar Slang.

The word Slang is referring to a singular word or sequence that represents a particular name, item or topic. Although these phrases are considered informal, they are regularly used in common groups or circles. Interestingly, the original defining world can sometimes become lost and ultimately replaced with the Slang version of it. This applies to almost any subject you can think of. Music covers a wide range of themes including Guitar playing.

Guitar Slang

Ax or Axe There is some debate as to how this term started. It references a physical Guitar and could have originally referred to a Simmons Ax bass. Others believe it was from the nickname of a saxophone.

Example – “Don’t forget to bring your Ax tonight!”

BPM “Beats Per Minute” is the tempo beat of a song. The goal is to raise your Guitar playing speed to match that of the song you are playing. The measured meters and BPM go hand in hand while learning.

Example – “I’m playing at 100 BPM; my goal is to get to two.”

Tabs – This term is short for tablature. It is a quickened way to learn specified chords for songs. The tabs correlate with the differing strings providing placement and sequence for the notes.

Example – “Here is the Tab for the song we wrote”

Lead – Taking Lead plays opposite of the rhythm Guitarist to form a cohesive sound. Unless you have only one who can play Lead in a group, alternating the priorities provide well rounded practice sessions.

Example – “Will you take Lead for this song?”

Lick – The notes of a song that are used for a solo part or filler section. A Lick has some leeway that can be altered without repositioning the whole piece allowing for a little more creativity than the Riff.

Example – “I have an idea for the lick of the next song”

Riff – Mostly instrumental, the riff is the consistent sequence of notes that stays the same for the duration of the song. Steady and sure, it is important the Riff does not deviate too far from the intended notes.

Example “We have to work on the Riff, there was too much variation.”

Shredding – This term works in conjunction with “killing it” and “smokin”. The put all you have into playing the piece you are working on is determined as shredding or shred.

Example “Man, that guy was shredding that Guitar!”

Take your time, look through our short list and try to incorporate these terms in your professional speech – it is safe to say this could help you appear more knowledgeable.