For years, whammy bars, or what we generally call tremolo bars, have been helping guitarists to scale up or down their music. Along with it, with whammy guitars, there are no issues while increasing or decreasing vibrato. But, what will you do if your electric or bass guitar has no whammy bar? In most of cases, the guitars do not come with built-in whammy bars. So, what’s the solution to it? So, can guitars have whammy bars?
Yes., you can install it on all guitars that support a whammy or tremolo bar. What you need to do is get a good whammy bar for your guitar, look to a proper guide to install it, and you are good to go.
Now, if you are looking to know more about Whammy bars and your guitar, we have a deal for you. Below, we are going to offer you an ultimate guide about whammy bars and how you can install them on your guitar. So, follow the article to the end, and we will help you learn everything about whammy bars.
What Is A Whammy Bar: A Brief 101
A whammy or the tremolo bar is a vibrato system that allows a guitarist to change the pitch of the music without any extra pedals or instruments. A whammy bar is installed just above or bridge alongside the strings of the guitar.
A whammy bar simply bends the strings to increase or decrease the vibration created by strumming. Though whammy bars are not an essential element of your guitars, they are something that you can never replace with intense vibrato. These small bars allow you to bend down your strings, helping you create a unique and fused guitar sound.
A whammy bar is usually used by those who love to produce rock, country, and soul music. So, if you’re one of those who love such kind of music, you must have a whammy bar on your guitar’s bridge.
Who Invented The Whammy Bar And Why?
The very first whammy, or the tremolo bar, was invented by Don Kauffman. He is thought to be the founder and the first-ever user of the whammy bar. The reason behind inventing the whammy bar is quite simple. Don Kauffman was trying to stimulate the pitch manipulation available with steel guitars at that time.
Along with it, the first even hand-operated unit of a whammy bar was used on Rickenbacker’s Capri line of guitar in the ’50s. Since then, a whammy bar has turned out to be one of the most in-demand elements for any electric guitar that wants to experience rock music.
How To Install A Whammy Bar?
Installing a whammy bar is not a hard nut to crack. However, to install it with perfection, you need to be an expert. But, if you have no idea about installing a whammy bar, we are here to help. Below, we have given a compact yet informative guide to help you install a whammy bar with ease.
1- Check Your Guitar Bridge
One of the most important things to check while installing a whammy bar is the bridge of your guitar. Most of electric guitars have a designated hole for you to install a whammy bar.
So, if your guitar has a hole for a whammy bar, things are going to be easy. However, if your guitar bridge has no place for your whammy bar, it will be hard to install the bar.
Almost all of the fixed bridges and some of the movable bridges do not have a place for attaching a whammy bar. Fixed bridges do not need a whammy bar as they can work better without it. However, if you need a whammy bar in all conditions, it will help if you change the bridge of your guitar.
This is the best way to install a whammy bar if the original bridge of your guitar has no whammy bar hole. But, keep this in mind if you have a fixed bridge, we would not suggest you install a whammy bar. Fixed bridge guitar works better even without whammy bars.
2- Screw In The Whammy Bar Into The Whammy Bar Whole
Now, if you have located the place where you will be installing the whammy bar, it’s time to install the whammy bar. For this, what you need to do is get a good whammy bar and screw it into the whole. The bottom of a whammy bar is designed to work as a screw. So, you just need to place it over the hole and rotate it.
You need to ensure that you are not screwing it so tight that it affects the bridge of your guitar. Gently screw it, and you are good to go rock with your guitar on stage.
3- Sound Check: A Crucial Step
Once you are done installing the whammy bar on your guitar, it will help if you check the sound before moving on. Most of the time, the whammy bar is not attached well, and this creates a bad sound while playing. And this is something you would never like to face.
So, after installing the bar, plug your guitar into the amp and check the sound. If the sound is good and the bar is working fine, then well and good. However, if the guitar buzzes or creates a lousy sound, you should reinstall the bar, and if the issue still persists, it’s better to change the bar. This is how you will be able to install a whammy bar with perfection.
Why Do We Use Whammy Bar On Guitar?
One of the main reasons why we use a whammy bar on guitar is to increase or reduce the vibrato. Along with it, the whammy bar helps to scale up or down the music created by your guitar. In short, a whammy bar bends the strings to reduce or increase tension over them.
By bending the strings of the guitar, the whammy bar possesses the power to reduce or increase the vibrations created by each string. This is how it helps to create a unique sound that you would love to hear from your guitar.
Along with it, this must not go without saying that by bending the strings of your guitar, the whammy bar also changes guitar notes. And this is thought to be one of the best functions of a whammy bar. So, if you are also thinking of experiencing such things, install a whammy bar.
Will Whammy Bar Make Your Guitar Out of Tune?
Yes, a whammy bar will make your guitar out of tune. This is one of the very few lacunae of a whammy bar. When a whammy bar is pulled or pushed, it bends the strings of your guitar. And, when the strings are bent, their size is altered.
So, if you are using a whammy bar continuously, it will make your guitar out of tune. When the strings are stretched to their limit, it will be hard for them to stay in tune. So, with a whammy bar, you will have to tune your guitar a lot.
Can Any Guitar Have a Whammy Bar?
The answer to this can be yes and no at the same time. It is true that all guitars may have a whammy bar, but it is not good to install a whammy bar on all guitars. There are people who use a whammy bar only on electric guitars, and some use them on bass guitars, which is fine too.
However, we have seen many guitarists installing a whammy bar on a semi-acoustic guitar. This is something that can ruin the sound of your guitar. A -semi-acoustic or acoustic guitar is not meant to own a whammy bar.
But, if you install a whammy bar on them anyway, the sound will be compromised. So, it is good to install a whammy bar on any electric guitar. But, if you are going to do it with a semi-acoustic guitar, it is something that will ruin your guitar in most cases.
Will a Whammy Guitar Affect Your Guitar?
It is a common misconception that a whammy bar affects the average life of your guitar’s bridge and strings. Many still think that if they install a whammy bar, the strings of the guitar will break quickly. However, there is no such thing as that.
In no way a whammy bar affects your guitar. A whammy guitar does not affect the life of your strings or bridge. So, if you were not installing a whammy bar due to these reasons, go and install it quickly.
The only issue after installing a whammy bar is that the guitar goes out of tune so often. The whammy bar bends the strings, and this is what affects the tuning of your guitar. So, you must keep in mind that if you are installing a whammy bar, you will have to tune your guitar more than ever.
Is It Possible To Have A Whammy Bar On Bass Guitar?
Certainly, a whammy bar can be installed on a bass guitar. In history, many of bass guitarists can be seen using a whammy bar. So, if you’re thinking of installing a whammy bar on your bass guitar, do the needful things, and you are good to go.
However, there are a few things that you need to know if you are going to install a whammy bar on a bass guitar. When compared to electric and even acoustic guitars, a bass guitar has way thicker strings. So, it is certain that the pressure on the whammy bar on a bass guitar will be more than on any other guitar.
This is something that keeps many guitarists away from using a whammy bar. On a bass guitar, it is quite hard to have a finely working whammy bar for a long period. So, it is possible that you will have to replace the whammy bar a lot if you are using it on a bass guitar.
To conclude, we can surely say that guitars can have a whammy bar if you want them to. Whether you want to install a whammy bar on an electric guitar or a bass guitar, there is no issue with it.
What you need to do is get the right guide about installing a whammy bar, and you are good to go. Also, it is good to know that whammy bars have no side effects on your expensive guitars. However, if you want to know more about whammy bars or find anything missing, do let us know. We’re always here to assist you in resolving all of your mysteries relating to whammy bars and guitars.