The Banjo Glossary Project 2019  
Thursday, March 21, 2019

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Glossary Term
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Fan Brace

The "standard" bracing pattern for the tops of classical guitars is known as "fan bracing" because of the several small braces that radiate from just below the soundhole toward the end of the guitar.... read more
Ferrule The Ferrule is a square, slightly tapered metal sleeve that fits over the small end of the dowel stick. It's function is decorative and it usually only appears on high quality instruments.

F-Holes are soundholes shaped vaguely like the script lower case letter "f" and are found on violins, arch top guitars, mandolins and other acoustic instruments. The F-Hole has been a standard of the... read more
Fiberskyn Head Fiberskyn banjo heads, manufactured by Remo, are made from the same basic material (Mylar) as standard plastic heads with the addition of Tyvek fused to the surface to increase the weight and mimic... read more
Fifth String

The term "Fifth String" almost always refers to the short drone string unique to a five string banjo and American fretted instruments. Lots of instruments have fifth strings, but the banjo's fifth... read more
Fifth String Capo

A Fifth String Capo is a capo designed specifically for the 5th string of a 5-String Banjo. This specialized capo addresses the unique problem posed when a capo is used across the lower four strings... read more
Fifth String Nut The fifth string nut is a small, usually cylindrical post of bone, ivory or pearl that serves as a guide and bearing surface for the fifth string as it comes from the tuning peg. Some instruments use... read more
Fifth String Peg The fifth string peg is the tuning device for the fifth string. On most modern instruments this is a geared tuner that is inserted into the side of the neck. the string post sticks up from the tuner... read more

The hard front surface of an instrument neck against which the strings are pressed to form different notes is called the "fingerboard." It is the part of the neck over which the strings pass and are... read more
Fingerboard Extension Fingerboards usually terminate against the side of the stretcher band where the neck meets the pot. Some banjos have a fingerboard that is slightly higher and is allowed to extend over the head. This... read more
Fingerpick (Finger Pick)

A Fingerpick is a pick worn on the finger to maximize efficiency and tonal projection. A variety of Fingerpick designs and brands are available for both fingers and thumb. Fingerpicks are made either... read more
Fingerrest (Finger Rest)

A Fingerrest (Finger Rest) is an elevated support for the fingers of the picking hand and is primarily found on arch top guitars and mandolins. It is much like a pickguard except that it is elevated... read more
Fingerstyle (Finger Style)

As the term implies, "Fingerstyle" picking is a style of guitar playing using the fingers, rather than a flatpick, and most often with a flattop steel strung guitar which offers a clear tone and is... read more
First String

Usually, the string thats tuned highest With very few exceptions, the first string is the string at the treble edge of the fingerboard. Its the string thats tuned the highest, the first your hand... read more
Five Star Stewart MacDonald produces a line of banjo parts and accessories including strings and heads and tuners under this name.
Flamed, Tiger or Fiddleback Maple

As the term implies, "Fiddleback Maple" is highly figured maple frequently used for the sides, necks and back plates of acoustic musical instruments. Fiddleback Maple has even, parallel curls or... read more
Flamenco Guitar

A Flamenco Guitar is a nylon strung guitar similar to a classical guitar. The main difference is the choice of wood for the back and sides. In order to emphasize the percussive and bright sounds... read more
Flange Many resonator banjos use a metal flange to cover the gap between the rim and the resonator wall. Some are individual pieces that fit between the nut and the bracket shoe. Others use two or three... read more
Flat Head The classic Bluegrass banjo has what is known as a Flat Head tone ring. Whereas the archtop ring has it's highest point on the inside of the ring, the flat head is tallest on the outside, directly... read more
Flatpick (or Flat Pick)

A Flat Pick is simply defined as a pick that's flat. They come in a huge variety of shapes, colors, materials, thickness and flexibility. Flatpicks are grasped between the thumb and forefinger and... read more
Flattop Box

The terms "Flattop Box," "Flattop" and "Box" are slang which refer to an acoustic guitar body, especially a dreadnought used for flatpicking. The term initially descended from guitar makers and... read more
Flesh Hoop A plastic banjo head has a molded in bead around the outside edge to give the stretcher band purchase. When calf skin is used, a wire hoop called the flesh hoop is folded into the skin to provide the... read more
Flight Case

As the name implies, a "Flight Case" is designed to offer maximum physical protection for a musical instrument or music equipment. Flight Cases are the heaviest and strongest travel case you can... read more
Flowerpot One of the peghead inlay patterns made famous by the Fairbanks/Vega company. It most often appears on the Fairbanks Whyte Laydie Style No. 3 Tu-ba-phone (made by Vega) but also is found on the Style... read more
Flying Eagle The flying eagle inlay pattern is an Art Deco stylized pattern used by the Gibson company. It is also known as Reno style because of Don Reno, whos banjo neck was inlaid with this pattern.
Frailer A Frailer is a banjo that is used for frailing or clawhammer. The term is often employed to describe a banjo that is old, simple and playable but otherwise nondescript.
Frailing Frailing is a style of banjo playing that involves striking down on the string with the back of the index or middle fingernail, catching the fifth string with the thumb, then releasing it. The basic... read more
Fretboard See: Fingerboard
Fretless A fretless banjo is one that has no frets. Usually they are open back banjos that are played in the clawhammer style. The earliest banjos in the eighteenth and nineteenth century lacked frets. The... read more

Frets are little metal wire bars that cross the fingerboard with a cross section not unlike a mushroom. They are pressed into slots in the fretboard and serve as hard contact points for the strings... read more