So you may be looking to get a new guitar. You may want one with a whammy bar. (The whammy bar is the rod that sticks out from the guitar which you push up and down to get certain effects). Perhaps because you have watched Eddie Van Halen or someone else use a guitar with a whammy bar (or tremolo bar as they are also known). There are a lot of things you can do with guitars that have a whammy bar and there are a lot of advantages to having one. However there are also things that need to be considered before you buy a guitar with a bar.
I remember when I had been playing for a couple years and I wanted to get another guitar. I really liked Joe Satriani at the time and Steve Vai also was impressive to me. People told me a Floyd Rose type bridge would be the best system to use. So I got myself a guitar with a Floyd Rose tremolo system.
But I was faced with certain issues which I had not seen coming. If I had known these issues exist before I bought the guitar, It would have saved me a lot of headaches. This article should help you avoid going through the same thing.
Here are the advantages of playing a guitar with a whammy bar:
– You are able to play in ways which you are not able to do without a whammy bar. This is really powerful if you are into Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Van Halen or any other guitarist that uses guitars with bars. If you like to play their songs, you cannot truly play their songs and solos without a bar.
– This opens up a lot of options for creativity. You will be able to incorporate whammy bar phrasing into your solos which you would not be able to do as easily or in the same ways without it. You can also have different kinds of rhythmic riffs using the bar. Listen to Dimebag Darrell from Pantera to see examples of how he would incorporate the bar into riffing.
– It sounds really cool if you are into that kind of playing!
But there are also some disadvantages:
– You will have problems with using multiple tunings on the guitar. If you like to use a lot of different tunings this is difficult to do with a guitar with a whammy bar. This is because of the way you tune guitars like this and how it is set up. You can only have 1 tuning properly set up to the guitar, to change the tuning you would have to change the setup in so many ways including getting different strings, adjusting the truss rod and a lot more.
– It can be expensive using multiple tunings on guitars like this. The only way to have multiple tunings on guitars like this is to have multiple guitars set to one tuning each and if you do not have the money it can be limiting.
– Tuning in general is a lot less straightforward than on a normal guitar. It can be done of course, but it is harder to get used to, it takes longer and it is generally speaking a pain in the ass.
– There are other things with the whammy bar that you will have to adjust. If you want to make it so the whammy bar doesn’t move around when you are not using it, you will have to adjust it often.
– Changing strings on guitars like this is a hassle. If you break a string of if the strings have to be replaced it is a lot more time consuming and difficult to do. Unless you get a guitar tech to do it for you but that can cost quite a bit.
So as you can see there are things you have to learn and things to consider. It is sometimes frustrating so if you do not really like the sound that much, don’t get a guitar with a bar. But if you absolutely love the sound the rewards are worth it.
About the author: Jake Willmot has been into playing guitars with whammy bars ever since he got into Pantera and Van Halen. He also likes Joe Satriani and Steve Vai so it is not hard to see where he got his love for whammy bar playing from! If you want to play guitar like this, Jake Willmot is also a guitar teacher in Exmouth so if you live there, you are in luck!