Whammy Bar Tricks


New member
Hey all,
Thought to start a thread to share/discuss whatever whammy bar tricks we have... Its always good to know and learn. ;)

Note: This applies to ANY whammy system you have.

I'll start first...

I like to utilise quick, small scoops in many situations... esp when playing octaves ala Vai... or when do hammer-ons, ala Micheal Romeo. When doing scooped when hammer-on-ing ( 8) ) I like to have a good dose of echo then I'll play the initial note, then just before I hammer-on, I'll scoop the bar and release as I hammer-on. It can be done slow or fast and makes a VERY effect... can be used when sliding too...

I'll try to share more when I have the time... at work now. Heh.
Nice one, I tend to always use that trick, I think Vai calls them Grace Notes, you can do them by tapping your whammy bar downwards (lowering pitch) and flicking it backwards (raising pitch). It gives each note you play a slight modulation in pitch. VERY NICE WITH SLIDES!

Here are my contributions...
Number one.
I think Stach calls this the Down the lizard throat, starting from a low note, slide it upwards the neck. Do this and push down your whammy bar at the same time trying to maintain the pitch of your original note.

Number two.
An old take from Eddie Van Halen, hammer on and pull off between two notes continuously while at the same time divebombing or just dipping the whammy bar down in between hammer ons and pull offs.

Number three.
Flutter! Pick a note, flick the edge of the whammy bar, depress it slightly then quickly let go, causing your trem to vibrate slightly for a short bit, the vibration will transfer to your picked notes as well. Vai does a good show case of this trick on Blue Powder. But make sure your trem arm is screwed tight with your bridge assembly...or else you'll hear a very ugly thud. Not very good for rock star persona or getting women to throw panties on stage.

Number four.
A modification of the conventional natural harmonic divebomb, I'll use the High G note harmonic found on the 3rd string 5th fret as an example. Crank it up, lot's of nice gain, and trebles too, switch to the bridge pickup for that super mean evil tone. Now pick the 3rd string 5th fret natural harmonic, divebomb with the righthand, and while the pitch goes down, tap the whammy bar repeatedly with the lefthand. WHAT FUN! :lol:

Number Five.
Whammy bar perfect pitch. You can actually construct whole melody lines with the whammy bar. Think of it as a fretless guitar, or a pitch wheel found on keyboards. Pressing down lowers pitch, pulling up increases it, let your imagination run wild, just make sure you're in tune. Something I have yet to even begin to get right. Examples of this can be found very much in Vai's song Frank, where there's a whole melody line done with the whammy bar.

Number Six.
I don't really know what to call this. Switch to your bridge pickup, use your lefthand this time to do random divebombs and your picking hand to do artificial harmonics for a random tonal splendour.

Number Seven.
Michael Lee Firkins style. He makes his guitar solo like a slide guitar, no slides here, just a floyd rose type whammy bar. Think of it this way, try the noraml licks with a slide, focusing on how the pitch varies when you're using a conventional slide. Try to do that exact same thing with the whammy bar. It ain't easy, I've never been able to execute it perfectly.

Just experiment. Before I got a guitar with a locking nut type whammy aka. Floyd type, I used a Les Paul with a fixed bridge. For the longest time I hated the damn Whammy bar, often leaving it in my case, using my floating bridge guitar like a fixed bridge. Silly yes? It's there, the possibilities are seemingly endless! :)

Hope this helps.

The more you share the more the sun will shine :D
hey... glad to see a fellow whammy-er! :)

Actually for Number 6, you can be controlled with your harmonics and play it like Mattias Elkundh... dip your whammy, then hit the strings with your picking hand to sound of a natural harmonic, then release. Mattias played tunes like that... check out his version of Smoke on the Water. Mastery of harmonics!

Yeah, number 7 is hard, HARD. Most of the time, we use our whammy for the occasional dive bomb.. actually, it can do so much more and complete control of the bar, is a skill on its own.

Lets see... ah! A variation of my previous post.... actually, the above mentioned technique is pretty common.. dipping the whammy between notes... it would be interesting to do the opposite! Instead of a dip before your hammer-on, you pull up then release. Makes for a nice change in sound as the audience definately expects a dip if you are already doing a series of dips.
another van halen style is to turn the arm to the right until it faces out, then pick a note and subsequently press the arm slightly down...

saw it on ultimate guitar 8)

Something like what Joe Satch likes to do - he will play a riff, then b4 ending the riff, he will use his whammy bar to bend the notes super high or low to make a very weird sound (usually u can hear it goes very high to very low).

Hmm feel free to correct my mistakes if i'm wrong :)
A divebomb is strictly a note which goes from its original pitch to flat out low.

You do it by picking the particular note, then depressing your whammy bar until the strings start flapping away, causing nauseating tones which your neighbours will love you for.
Satch doesn't exactly do the divebomb. He lowers the bar with his left hand and with his left thumb, touches the strings at the "sweet spots" then strikes it with the picking hand and sounding a natural harmonic, then bringing the bar back up to pitch and beyond. It's called the wee wee. :D
no 1 mentioned dimebag's flick string, harmonic, rip whammy trick?

sounds cool but have yet to try it... need fr bridges... lol
SoulJah said:
A divebomb is strictly a note which goes from its original pitch to flat out low.

You do it by picking the particular note, then depressing your whammy bar until the strings start flapping away, causing nauseating tones which your neighbours will love you for.

flapping away??

will i need a floyd rose tremolo locking system for that? cuz it sounds like it could snap the string. i have a ibanezgsa60, and its got a whammy bar, except that it doesnt have a floyd rose..

My favourite crazy, unmelodic whammy trick is to depress the bar randomly with my arm (near the elbow area) while executing some 2-handed tapping stuff.

Try it!

Dimebag's squeal is very easy to perform, great trick.

Its on youtube too, he explains it before one of the concerts.

Dude, come, when you in whammy mood, i lend u my Ibanez Saber with the venerable edge trem. Go CRAZY!!!
Shredcow, its edge pro trem or edge trem? just curious.

when i borrow my friend's LTD Kirk Hammet Signature, ill use the whammy alot.
Stuff I Like to do with a whammy:

Use it like what vai did for the intro of the audience is listening on g3 live in tokyo(He hastes it when i do tt!)

Whenever i bend up on the fretboard, bend down the whammy arm and vice versa(retarded trick!)

While playing normally, instead of using a pick, whack the whammy bar like the retard that i am.(Rather rool i think)

While doing tapping, use my elbow to whack the whammy bar. (crazy sound!)

tts most of it! will post more when i can remember
j_m_s said:
Shredcow, its edge pro trem or edge trem? just curious.

My guitar has the original Edge.

Later came the Edge 2 (single locking), lo pro edge then your Edge Pro, Edge II, EdgeIII incarnations.
The Herman Li Elephant trick -

First turn off your volume.
Hit the harmonics on the 5th fret of the D string, and the 7th fret on the G string, lower the bar a bit, then roll up the volume which pulling up the whammy bar and raising the pitch of the notes. Sounds like an elephant
one trick i developed back when i was using mi floyd was like dis

1) fret the 15th fret harmonic all the strings, den abuse the bar downwards

not really much of a lick-trick, more for lyk rhythmic stylings

another wierdo 1 ain't as cool,

2) tremolo pick an open string with the bar lowered, den slowly raise it with your left hand, den when your done, use you picking hand to slide down the neck

3) another cool 1 is ala vai, juz abuse the bar and scare the crap out of any none guitarist around you, den when your done, play an open g chord and tell them your guitar is still in tune(haha, most of the time mine still is)
just play a pinch harmonic at the 12th fret, g string and pull up.. scream.. and the elephant thing can be done by fretting the g b and e strings at the twelfth fret, picking them and diving a bit then pulling up all the way...