The Banjo Glossary Project 2018  
Monday, December 10, 2018

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Glossary Term
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Cantilevered Fingerboard

A "Cantilevered Fingerboard" is designed so that the upper end of the fingerboard is elevated, or cantilevered, to avoid having it touch the top of an archtop, f-hole guitar, mandolin, violin or... read more

A Capo is a simple device that clamps on a stringed instrument's neck to raise the pitch of all the strings at once. This allows the string musician to play in different keys without the need to... read more

Celluloid is the plastic material often used on vintage stringed instruments for binding, pickguards and tuner buttons. Celluloid (cellulose acetate or cellulose nitrate) is the oldest of the plastic... read more

The term "checking" refers to naturally-occurring cracks in wood, ivory, applied finishes, etc. A "check" occurs in wood as it cures and loses moisture. The outer sections of the log dry first and the... read more
Chipboard Case

A Chipboard Case is perhaps the most inexpensive hardshell case available, and is made of reinforced cardboard with an exterior protected by thin water-resistant vinyl coating. These cases are... read more
Chromatic The word "Chromatic" , as a musical term, refers to the chromatic scale which uses all twelve notes (half steps) in the octave as opposed to eight used by the diatonic scale. In common banjo parlance,... read more
Chubby Dragon The Chubby Dragon is a famous headstock inlay of engraved mother of pearl which graced the pegheads of the higher grade Bacon FF Professional banjos early in this century, These instruments are among... read more
Clamshell Tailpiece

The "Clamshell Tailpiece" is so named because, well, it resembles a clam shell. The simple design can accept either ball-end or loop-end strings, anchored underneath the humped flap which flips up... read more
Classical Guitar

A Classical Guitar is characterized as being a medium-sized acoustic body with twelve frets clear of the body. Classical guitars always have nylon rather than steel strings, and a slotted rather than... read more
Clawhammer Clawhammer is a banjo playing style that consists of a downstroke, where the top of the fingernail of the index or middle finger strikes a string or strings and the thumb catches on the fifth string.... read more
Clown Barf

Much like "Turtleoid" or "Mother of Toilet Seat," "Clown Barf" is one of those names that really works. Many luthiers know instinctively what it is, and get a bit of a chuckle from both the name and... read more
Cluck The Cluck or Chuck sound is a percussive sound produced by almost simultaneously striking the string with one finger and damping it with another. Almost everyone who does this has a method that works... read more
Compensating Bridge

Most bridges on acoustic fretted instruments are straight. Occasionally stringed instruments may have intonation problems as you go up the neck and play the lower strings. There are various causes... read more
Computer Numerical Control (CNC)

Computer Numerical Control (often referred to as "CNC") is the method by which a computer is used to precisely control various aspects of manufacturing. CNC is often used to replicate the same... read more
Coordinator Rods Gibson Mastertone banjos and most other Bluegrass-type banjos use one or two coordinator rods instead of a dowel stick to connect the neck to the pot. On these instruments, two threaded bolts protrude... read more
Cross Brace or X-Brace

The "X-Brace" or "Cross Brace," is the major component of the steel string guitar's top bracing system, developed by Martin in the 1840s. It gets its name because the major braces in this design... read more

Simply stated, a "Cutaway" is a section of an acoustic instrument body's side walls that is designed to allow the player easier access to the higher frets over the body. The body of such an instrument... read more