Wachsend (German) growing

Während (German) during

Wah-wah in jazz, an onomatopoetic term that describes the undulating sound produced by alternating dampening, then restoring, a portion of a tone, for example, on electric guitars through the use of an electronic device, placed on the floor and operated with the player’s foot

Wah-wah pedal foot operated device used by an electric guitarist and bassist which modulates the output by removing low frequencies and boosts high frequencies producing the characteristic wah-wah effect

Waist a narrowing in the middle of the body of an instrument, resulting in a shape like an hourglass, typically found in string instruments

Walking bass a bass line that moves steadily in a rhythm contrasting to that of the upper parts; in jazz, a walking bass usually moves by steps played on bass or piano, with each note usually having the duration of a quarter note

Walnut A wood of rich brown color with occasional black streaks. It produces a striking instrument with a crisp, dry tone, a strong fundamental and with age is very stable. Black Walnut is gray in color, often with contrasting tan center strips. Peruvian Walnut is dark chocolate brown color and often with interesting, broad, dark lines. Mayan Walnut is very even colored and straight grained and is very easy to work. The color is a light-mocha with contrasting dark gray grain lines. See see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Waltz a simple triple time dance; the dance generally has an introduction, a number of different melodies, before finishing with a coda; harmonically, the dance has one strong chord on the first beat, with two weaker chords on the second and third beat, this pattern repeated from bar to bar

Walzer (German) waltz

Walzertempo (German) waltz-time

Wandindi Kenyan guitar

Wankend (German) wavering, shaking

Wärme (German) warmth

Washtub bass folk instrument made from an overturned washtub (the resonator), broom handle (the neck), and a single string, the tension on the string being provided by pulling back and forth on the handle

Wassail a drinking festival often mentioned in Christmas carols

Wassoulou a musical style from Mali typified by a strong Arabic feel

Water-Based Lacquer With personal health and environmental concerns the long-term trend is moving away from solvent-based finishes on guitars.  In response, many manufacturers set a goal to create a lacquer with all of the positive characteristics of current solvent-based lacquers but without the hazardous, toxic solvent base. Water-Based Lacquer is environmentally friendly and produces “acceptable” results. see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Watsa-watsa popular Malagasy dance rhythm influenced by music from Mozambique and Congo


Wechseln (German) to change

Wechselnote (German) changing note

Weg (German) away, off

Wehmut (German) sorrow

Wehmuth (German) sorrow

Wehmütig (German) sorrowful

Wehmüthig (German) sorrowful

Weich (German) soft, tender, light, minor

Weinend (German) wailing

Weinlied (German) drinking song

Wenge As the price of Indian Rosewood has increased, African Wenge has become a more viable alternative wood. The color is chocolate brown with evenly spaced black veins. Wenge is heavier than either Indian or Brazilian Rosewood and is stiffer, but softer, with large pores. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Wenig (German) little

Werden (German) to become

Werdend (German) becoming

Were a Muslim style of music performed most often as a wake-up call for early breakfast and prayers during Ramadan celebrations

Western Red Cedar Wood used for a guitar soundboard that is not as stiff as the spruces, which makes it ideal for lower tension or smaller bodied instruments. It has a warmer tone with excellent bass response and will produce a mature tonal quality more quickly than a spruce top. Color varies from light reddish to a light chocolate brown. see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar


Whammy Bar a pitch bending device that moves the bridge on a guitar

Whole Step (American) a whole tone

Whole Tone the interval of a major second

Whole Tone Scale six note scale where the interval between successive notes is a whole step. see Musical Scales


Wie (German) as, like, as if

Wie anfänglich (German) as at the beginning

Wieder (German) again

Wiederholung (German) repetition

Wiegend (German) rocking, swaying

Wiegenlied (German) lullaby, berceuse, cradle-song

Wienerisch (German) Viennese


Wohlgefällig (German) pleasant, pleasantly

Wolf a false note on a stringed instrument the result of an unintentional resonant response

Wood Grain The arrangement, direction, or pattern of the fibrous tissue in wood. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Woofer part of a speaker system designed to handle the low frequency parts of the signal

Word painting musical depiction of words in text, so that the music tries to imitate the emotion, action, or adjectival description in the text, a device used often in madrigals and other works of the Renaissance

World music music where influences from more that one cultural tradition intermingle, first made popular in the 1980s

Wound Strings The fourth, fifth, & sixth strings of the guitar. see How to Change Classical Guitar Strings

WoW (German)  work without an opus number,indicating works that were either unpublished or were not assigned an opus number by the composer


Wuchtig (German) weighty

Wunsch (German) wish

Würde (German) dignity

Würdig (German) dignified

Wut (German) rage

Wütend (German) raging, furious

Wuth (German) rage

Wüthend (German) raging, furious

Wüthig (German) raging, furious

Wütig (German) raging, furious