Using a Whammy Bar
There are two types of whammy bars; one type is attached to what is called a non locking tremolo, which is a type of bridge that allows the musician to make the pitch higher or lower on the guitar. The other type is a locking tremolo which only allows the player to make the pitch lower on the guitar.
NOTE: using a whammy bar with a guitar that doesn’t have a truss rod (most likely a locked tremolo) could cause your guitar to fall out of tune. Whammy bars can also snap strings if they are pulled on hard enough, make sure to use caution when using a Whammy bar.
Here are a couple of techniques that a variety of guitarists from Eddie Van Halen to Neil Young use in their playing.
Dive Bomb- Makes the guitar have a low sounding pitch that resembles a bomb dropping and you can hear this mostly in modern metal music and some Jimi Hendrix songs, especially his version of the Star Spangled Banner.
1. Play a single note, natural harmonic, or artificial harmonic
2. If it is a harmonic, take your hand off of the fret board
3. Push down on the whammy bar
4. Release the pressure on the whammy bar so the bridge or tremolo can be at its normal spot.
Whammy- Bar Harmonics- This makes a screaming sound in the guitar and is used by Tom Morello, Alexi Laiho, and Randy Rhodes. To get a more specific idea of what it would sound like, check out Promenade by Street Sweeper Social Club.
· 1. Play an artificial or natural harmonic
· 2. Remove your finger from the fret board quickly
· 3. Pull down and up on the whammy bar while the note is playing
· 4. It will make a really distinct screaming sound.