The whammy bar could be the key to unlocking your voice on the guitar – learn 5 ways to make it work for you

Jeff Beck performs at DTE Energy Music Theater on July 31, 2018 in Clarkston, Michigan.
(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

GUITAR SHOWCASE 2023: The whammy bar, or the vibrato arm, comes in many different guises, each with its own unique way of altering the pitch of your guitar strings. The Vibrola system designed by Doc Kauffman and introduced back in the 1920s, suffered from poor tuning.

Paul Bigsby developed his well-known vibrato as a more stable unit to replace the troublesome Vibrola. In the 1950s, Leo Fender came up with the industry standard floating design, before Floyd Rose and Kahler, with their double-locking systems, came to the attention of guitarists who liked to abuse their whammy bars while keeping their guitars in tune. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Simon Barnard

Simon is a graduate of the UK's Academy of Contemporary Music and The Guitar Institute, and holds a Masters degree in music. He teaches, examines and plays everything from rock to jazz.