This article is part of our more extensive Guitar Builders’ Glossary of Terms.
A hollow-bodied guitar with an arched (domed) top and back. The top and back are often carved to achieve the arch. In some cases, many thin veneers are glued together in a press over a pre-shaped “buck” to create the arch. Can be either acoustic or electric. A Gibson ES-125 is an example of an electric archtop guitar.
Strips of plastic, wood, etc glued to the edges of a guitar’s top, back, fretboard or headstock. Binding adds a decorative element but also serves to protect the edges of two adjoining surfaces.
An f-hole (or soundhole) is an opening in the body of a guitar, usually on the top. The original intent was to allow acoustic instruments to project sound more effectively. The name “F-hole” comes from the sound holes shaped like the stylized letter “F” on violins.
A solid body guitar is just that; solid. It does not have chambers or any hollow cavities. A solid-body guitar is often referred to as a “slab body”. A Fender Telecaster is an example of a solid body.
Thinline generally refers to a guitar that has a thin chambered or hollow body that features an f-hole (or two). The “thin” part is in contrast to a full-depth (thick?) body like an acoustic guitar.
In woodworking, veneer refers to thin sheets of wood usually less than 1/8″ (3mm) in thickness. Veneers are often made from figured woods and glued to the surface of more plain-looking wood. Guitars often have veneers glued to the face of a body or headstock.
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