Whammy Bar Tricks

In this free rock guitar lesson by Peter Vogl we will learn rock licks and sounds using the whammy bar (also called the whang or tremolo bar). There are a variety of sounds and tricks used when playing rock, so set up your amp with lots of distortion and let’s get started. In this video we will use the backing track "rock song in E", which is track 15 from the Let's Jam! Blues and Rock CD.


Watch the lesson: Quicktime



The first sound is the dive bomb. This is created by playing an open string and then depressing the whammy bar way down. There is a trick to this technique. When doing a dive bomb, pull off from somewhere on the string such as the 2nd fret and then dive bomb. It really doesn’t matter where you pull off from. The pull off enables you use the whammy bar without worrying about picking.

whang bar lick 1

Let’s add a second part. Dive bomb down on the 6th string and then come up on the 3rd string.

whammy bar lick 2

Let’s try another whammy bar lick. Start a trill, in this case at the 5th fret second string. Now depress the whammy bar and then let it come back up.

tremolo bar lick 3

Here’s a 3rd trick that requires playing harmonics. Play 2 harmonics at the 12th fret on the 4th and 3rd string, now play 3 harmonics at the 7th fret on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings. Now play 1 harmonic at the 5th fret 3rd string, and depress and release the whammy bar. Here is the whole lick.

Now let’s hear these licks in context with track 15 of the Let's Jam! Blues and Rock CD. That’s our lesson on rock licks and sounds using the whang bar. I hope you’ve learned some new tricks. My name is Peter Vogl and I will see you again soon.

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Watch sample clips from this lesson.

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