The Guitar Acronym and Abbreviation List

Guitar Abbreviations and Acronyms

Guitar acronyms! Do you know the difference between an MIM and an MIJ Fender? Are you wondering if you need an HSS or HSH set up in your next purchase? Or maybe you can’t decide whether or not you like a QMT better than an FMT?

If these guitar abbreviations are confusing the hell out of you then you’ve come to the right place my friend!

I have listed below some of the more common guitar acronyms and abbreviations that you might find used around the internet on brand pages, news sites, and forums.

Guitar Acronym & Abbreviation Glossary

ABCDEFGHIJKLM
NOPQRSTUVWXYZ

A

AA, AAA, etc – Grading System for Woods (generally figured wood tops)
AANJ – All Access Neck Joint
AH – Artificial Harmonic
ALNICO – An Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt alloy that gives magnetic pickups their unique sound
AT – Arch Top

B

BK – Black (A Southpaw’s Favorite Finish Color Apparently)
BKP – Bare Knuckle Pickups (A Brand of Guitar Pickups)
BPM
– Beats Per Minute
BTO – Build To Order (Custom Taylor Acoustics)

C

C – Cutaway
CE – Cutaway Electronics (An Electro-Acoustic Guitar with a Cutaway)
CIJ – Crafted in Japan
CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Relevant for Guitars Made With Certain Woods)
CNC
– Computer Numeric Controlled
COA – Certificate of Authenticity
CS – Coil Split
CS – Custom Shop
CT – Coil Tap
CV – Classic Vibe (Range of Guitars by Squier)

D

DC – Double Cutaway Body Shape (e.g. A Gibson SG)
DI – Direct Injection
DSP – Digital Sound Processing

E

EADGBE –  Standard Tuning
EBMM
Ernie Ball Music Man (manufacturer)
EHX – Electro Harmonix (Pedal Brand)
EMG – Electro-Magnetic Generator (Pickup Brand)
ERG – Extended Range Guitar
ES – Electric Spanish (Type of Guitar Made By Gibson)
ESPElectric Sound Products (Guitar Brand)
EQ – Equaliser

F

FET – Field-Effect Transistor (Used in Certain Types of Guitar Pedals)
FL – Fretless
FMICFender Musical Instruments Corporation
FMT – Flame Maple Top
FB – Fixed Bridge
FGD – Free Guitar Day
FMT – Flame Maple Top
FR – Floyd Rose
FSR – Factory Special Run (Fender Limited Edition Models)
FT – Flat Top

G

GAR – Gear Acquisition Remorse
GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome
GCGuitar Center
GOTW – Guitar of the Week
GMC – Green Multi-Color (Famous Ibanez Swirl Finish)

H

HB – Humbucker (Pickup Style)
HH –
2 Humbucker Pickup Configuration
HNGD – Happy New Guitar Day
HO – Hammer On
HSC – Hard Shell Case
HSH – 
Humbucker, Single Coil, Humbucker Pickup Configuration
HSS – Humbucker, Single Coil, Single Coil Pickup Configuration
HT – Hardtail

I

IEM – In-Ear Monitors

J

J-Bass Fender Jazz Bass

K

KPA – Kemper Profiling Amplifier (A Popular Digital Guitar Amplifier That Captures The Sound and Feel of Real Tube Amplifiers.

L

LE – Limited Edition
LH – Left Handed
LP – Les Paul
LPJ – Les Paul Junior
LS – Long Scale (Basses)
LSD – Lead Singer’s Disease
LTHB – Light Top, Heavy Bottom (String Gauge)

M

MFX – Multi-Effects
MHS – Matching Headstock
MIA – Made in America
MIC – Made in China
MII – Made in Indonesia
MIJ – Made in Japan
MIK – Made in Korea
MIM – Made in Mexico
MM – Music Man (Brand)
MOP – Mother of Pearl
MS – Medium Scale (Basses)

N

NAD – New Amp Day
NAMM – National Association of Music Merchants
NBD – New Bass Day
NGD – New Guitar Day
NH – Natural Harmonic
NPD – New Pedal Day
NOS – New Old Stock (A New Guitar That Has Been in a Store’s Stock a Long Time)
NT – Neck-Thru

O

OD – Overdrive
OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
OFR – Original Floyd Rose
OHSC – Original Hard Shell Case

P

PA – Public Address
PAF – Patent Applied For (Pickup Style)
P-Bass
– Fender Precision Bass
PG – Pick Guard
PH – Pinch Harmonic
PM – Palm Mute
PO – Pull Off
POS – Piece of S#!&
POTS – Potentiometers (Volume & Tone Pots)
PRSPaul Reed Smith (Brand)
PU – Pickups
PUPS – Pickups

Q

QMT – Quilted Maple Top

R

RG – Roadstar Guitar (Ibanez Guitar Series)
RI –
Reissue
RIG
– Respected Internet Guitarist
RR – Randy Rhoads (Jackson Series)
RTFM – Read the F*#%ing Manual

S

SB – Sound Board
SB – Sunburst
SC – Single Coil (pickup)
SC – Single Cutout (guitar body style)
SD – Seymour Duncan (Brand of Guitar Pickups)
SG – Solid Guitar (Gibson SG)
SS –
2 Single Coil Pickup Configuration
SS – Short Scale (Basses)
SS – Solid State (Amps)
SSC – Soft Shell Case 
SSS – 3 Single Coil Pickup Configuration
ST – String Thru
STD – Standard
SUAPYG – Shut Up And Play Your Guitar

T

TAB – Tablature
TOM – Tune-O-Matic (Bridge Style)
TRAIN – Tune, Relief, Action, Intonation, Noodle. A Logical Order for Setting Up Your Guitar.
TRC – Truss Rod Cover
TRS – Tip-Ring-Sleeve (A Type of Audio Connector)
TS – Tip-Sleeve (Another Type of Audio Connector)
TS – Ibanez Tubescreamer

U

UV – Universe (7-String Version of Ibanez JEM)

V

VB – Violin Bass (Höfner Model)
VT –
Very Thin (Höfner)
VOS
– Vintage Original Specs
VST – Virtual Studio Technology (Software Interface for Integrating Audio Synthesizer and Effect Plugins with Audio Editors and Recording Systems)

W

WH – White

X

XLR – External Line Return. While not specific to guitars, XLR connectors are used in audio equipment for balanced audio signals, including connections for microphones, PA systems, and some high-end acoustic-electric guitars that might feature XLR outputs for direct connection to PA systems or recording interfaces.

Y

YJM – Yngwie J. Malmsteen (A Shred Guitarist Known for his Neoclassical Metal Playing Style)

Z

ZPS – Zero Point System
ZR
– Zero Resistance

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Neal
Neal has been playing guitar (left-handed!) for over 20 years, and has also worked in various roles within the guitar retail industry since 2012. In his spare time he loves to travel, ride bikes, and suck at videogames. More Info