15+ Slang Words For Guitar (And How To Use Them)

Think of any musical instrument and say it out loud. It wouldn’t be surprising to know that you thought of the guitar. The guitar is the quintessential musical instrument. It is so popular because of its use in mainstream music and its flexibility. Did you also know that there are various slang words for guitar? 

We compiled a list of slang words to refer to the guitar or guitar-related stuff down below. Some of them are very silly while others are quite witty. You might learn a thing or two regarding guitars so enjoy reading!

Slang Words for Guitar (in Alphabetical Order)

Archtop

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A slang for a specific kind of guitar popular with jazz musicians. As implied, it is an acoustic guitar with an arched top.
  • Example: Jim Hall, back in the day, could play an archtop so amazingly that you wouldn’t realize that you’re already dancing.

Ax

Meaning:

  • (Noun) The most famous slang for guitar. It came from the world of jazz and originally was used for the trumpet.
  • Example: Jimi Hendrix’s ax could be sold for $1 million bucks. That just defines how famous and influential he was as a musician.

Dirty

Meaning:

  • (Noun) This slang refers to an overdriven sound that comes from a guitar that gets increasingly distorted. This is usually used in rock music. 
  • Example: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin starts out smooth like a lullaby but becomes dirty and hard at the end. It started that trend.

Fuzz

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A specific type of “dirty” to some. Fuzz is mainly used for guitar sounds that are “fuzzy” or are aggressive and clipped. 
  • Example: Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” made good use of fuzz. It completed the aura of the song and made it iconic.

Gat

Meaning:

  • (Noun) The New Zealand slang for guitar.
  • Example: I bought myself a Gibson gat. It is quite expensive but it sounds divine.

Gitfiddle

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A slang referring to the guitar. Famously used in the south, southeastern parts of the US. It has become somewhat obsolete.
  • Example: Grandpa’s gitfiddle is a classic one. It is made from a good type of wood and was signed by Elvis.

Keppi

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Literally meaning “stick.” This Finnish slang is often used as well for the guitar.
  • Example: My keppi is out of tune. I should make the adjustments before the gig. 

Lick

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A melody that is very catchy like the “riff.” It doesn’t necessarily need to be repeated.
  • Example: Brian May of Queen played licks that become memorable but were composed within minutes.

Pots

Meaning:

  • (Noun) The knobs on an electric guitar. Comes from the word “potentiometer” which are resistors that adjust the current by turning. 
  • Example: My ax has broken knobs. I don’t know if I’ll be able to play.

Riffs

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Melodic tunes played on the guitar akin to “licks.” However, riffs are often meant to be repeated.
  • Example: The Beatles had some wild riffs for its time. You can’t stop playing them in your head.

Rig

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Refers to the entire guitar set-up or musical instruments, including accessories. 
  • Example: Matty has some sick rig at home. He was able to write some famous songs, which allowed him to invest in his rig. 

Shred

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To play the guitar in an impressively fast and somewhat aggressive manner. 
  • Example: Barry shredding his guitar was the best part of the talent show. Who knew he could play the guitar like that?!

Six-String

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Another slang for guitar. This term was popularized by Bryan Adams’s “Summer of 69.”
  • Example: I played an old six-string from my Pa. It was old but it sounded beautiful.

Veslo

Meaning:

  • (Noun) The Russian slang for guitar. It directly translates to “paddle.”
  • Example: My veslo is pretty cheap but I had a good time with it. I was able to play very well because of countless hours of practice with it. 

Viola

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Latin American countries often used this slang for the guitar, even though the viola is actually used for another musical instrument related to the violin.
  • Example: I can’t play the viola after my hand got beat up from the fall.

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