Whammy bars are some of the most entertaining tools we are allowed to play with on our guitars. That being said, they are also very sensitive and when abused can damage your guitar and send your intonation on the fritz.
Have no fear; we’re here to teach you some safe whammy bar tricks that won’t jeopardize your tremolo system.
Before we get into the tricks though, you need to do a little observing, and possibly some maintenance. Check what kind of whammy bar your tremolo system has. If you have a Floyd Rose locking system, chances are you have a locking whammy bar that is tightened into a secure placement.
If you have a regular bar, this isn’t bad; in fact, I personally prefer them. Just make sure that your whammy bar is pushed in securely and that the teeth have been grabbed (the small groove at the end of your whammy bar hooks into the system when pushed in properly.)
Next, take a look at your tremolo system. If it is rusted and grimy, it is best you clean it first. This way you can be sure your tremolo system isn’t damaged before you go yanking on it. If your tremolo system is damaged, it is important you get it fixed, or replace any missing pieces before learning whammy bar tricks. Putting stress on a damaged or incomplete tremolo system can cause further issues with it. Best to be safe than sorry.
Once your guitar maintenance work is complete, it’s time to learn some neat whammy bar tricks.
Our first technique is the ever-popular dive. The way this technique works is by pushing your whammy bar firmly downwards towards your strings. What this does is it lifts your tremolo system towards the neck which in turn loosens the strings as they are brought closer to the nut.
It is important that you use a firm, even pressure. Don’t jerk the bar downwards! Unless you have a professional guitar technician whose job is to clean up after you, you won’t be having fun after a few jerks as you’ll have to reset your tremolo.
This is one of the coolest whammy bar tricks. The goal here is to make your note bounce, so first, you have to play a note. This technique is achieved by taking your whammy bar and firmly pushing it downwards and backward (pointing toward the tail end of your guitar.)
Once down, release your whammy bar. If done correctly, the whammy bar will bounce in its housing and your tremolo system will jiggle, causing the note to fluctuate. Do not do a flutter if your tremolo system is not set up properly as it will wreak havoc on your tremolo system.
Our final technique is what I like to call the shriek. Play an open harmonic on the fifth fret of the G, B, or high E string. You can also combine notes as well. The way the shriek is achieved is by performing an anti-dive. This means instead of pushing the bar toward the string, you will pull it away from the strings. When done correctly, your guitar harmonics should heighten, or ‘shriek.’
Now that you know a few whammy bar tricks, go try them out. Not only are they fun, but they can add some cool dynamics to your songs. Have fun!
Jamplay is the GREATEST online guitar lesson resource that offers step-by-step videos in HD. They cover ALL genres of guitar styles and have exhaustive content for guitar players of any skill level.
Jamplay also features a growing collection of instructional videos that is updated each week. Furthermore, they also offer detailed tutorials for members to learn well known songs with the help of accurate, interactive tablatures and song visualizations.
p.s: We have created a special deal for our readers. Get your exclusive Jamplay promotional code here…