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Guitar Tech Dictionary

        When working on guitars (or amps) many terms come up that are not found in standard dictionary. We call this page the 'Techtionary'. Here are listed the full names of some of those acronyms so commonly heard in the guitar & amp shop and music stores.


 ALNICO - Aluminum Nickel Cobalt
Many guitar pickup magnets use an alloy containing Aluminum(Al), Nickel(Ni) & Cobalt(Co).

 Bakelite - Developed in 1905 by Leo Baekeland it was the first plastic made from synthetic components. It was used on guitars for single layer pickguards, backplates and even some lever switches in the 50's and 60's. Harder and more durable than the softer plastics that later became standard Rickenbacker even made some spanish guitars and ukeleles in the 30's & 40's.

 CES - Cutaway Electric Spanish - Gibson designation for cutaway arch tops with pickup.

 C.F. Martin - Christian Frederick Martin

 Cobalt - a silver-white metallic element with a faint pinkish tinge. Primarily used as the metal, in the preparation of magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength alloys.

 CRL - CentraLab

 CTS - Chicago Telephone Supply. Now known as CTS Corp, CTS started in 1896 as Chicago Telephone Supply Company. In the 1940s they developed a precision potentiometer for radar units. Today, one of the many products made are the pots found on many guitars and amps.

 EMG - Electro-Magnetic Generator - Originally called Dirtywork Studios, EMG's Rob Turner designed the active pickup with a self contained preamp circuit.

 ESP - Electric Sound Products

 H.P.L. - High Pressure Laminate - Layers of kraft paper glued together with the top layer being of decorative. Used by Martin on some of their lesser expensive models. Similar to Formica.

 Laminated Top - A guitar top made of multiple layers of wood topped off with a thin layer that is visually pleasing. Mostly used on acoustic and archtop guitars. Often stronger than solid tops, laminated tops are not as responsive acoustically.

 Lever/Blade Switch - Type of switch used on Stratocaster & Telecaster guitars.

 Luthier - A maker of stringed instruments. From the French word meaning "Lute-Maker".

 Microfarad - Capacitor value equalling One millionth of a farad. Symbol: µF

 Pewter - A metal alloy traditionally 85–99% tin, with the remainder consisting of copper, antimony, bismuth and sometimes lead.

 Richlite - Made from recycled paper and phenolic resin.

 SKB - Sanderson Kottman Brown

 Stratabond - Plywood made by Rutland Plywood Corporation. Dyed wood Veneers used for necks on some guitars.
Stratabond Neck

 Unified Thread Standard - A two number system used in the United States to identify screw thread size.
 - 1st Number is the *Major Diameter.
 - 2nd Number is the number of threads over a distance of 1 inch. (EX: 1/4-20)
    Note: smaller screws use a gauge number - 0,1,2,3,4,6,8,10.
 * Major Diameter - outside diameter measuring on the outside of the threads.
 * Minor Diameter - the shank diameter measuring in between the threads.



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