"Axe" for 'guitar'?

Nancy Elliott nelliott1 at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Apr 21 05:54:10 UTC 2000

The professional (instrumentalist) musicians I know and/or perform with on
the West Coast refer to ANY of their instruments as an "axe." This can
include bowed & plucked strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion instruments,
and keyboards. There is a sense that it still basically means a guitar and
that the extension to other instrument families is playful.  A similar thing
is the use of "horn" for non-brass instruments, which I have heard
frequently in the West and the Midwest for a long time.

Nancy Elliott
Southern Oregon University
nelliott1 at earthlink.net

> From: Mark A Mandel <mam at WORLD.STD.COM>
> Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 00:12:53 -0400
> Subject: "Axe" for 'guitar'?
> On Thu, 20 Apr 2000 Keris asked:
> #OK, on-topic(ish) question - when and by whom was the term 'axe' first used
> #for a guitar?  Was it (and is it) used specifically for an electric guitar?
> #Which make/model inspired it?
> Good one. I'll ask ADS-L.
> Ideas or knowledge, my fellow scholars, for the benefit of my fellow
> music-lovers?
> -- Mark A. Mandel
> (shooting from home this time)

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