Whammy Bars, Pinch Harmonic, And Guitar Noises: What Makes Electric Guitar Different

Tommaso Zillio

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Do you have a whammy bar on your guitar? Do you know how to use it? Or maybe you think that the whammy bar is just a cheap trick and it's not what "real music" is all about?

If there's one thing that many electric guitar players are in danger of (especially Jazz players, BTW) is to focus too much on the "scales and chords" talk and forget what instrument they have in their hands. These are also the kind of musicians that avoid completely the use of a whammy bar.

Incidentally, let me point out that chicks dig whammy bar tricks. (If you are a girl, then just slinging a guitar will already make you desirable to 95% of the male population... whammy bar tricks may induce seizure and fainting in your audience so use with care)

But coming back to playing the guitar like a guitar: you should not use your electric guitar like a piano, or a violin, or a saxophone. I'm not saying that you shouldn't or cannot learn from these instrument... I'm saying to not lose sight of the uniqueness of your instrument!

I'm not even saying that you should not study your scales and chords (hey, I DO sell a course about scales on my website)... I'm saying that sometimes you need to know all your scales options, and sometimes a dive bomb is what the doctor ordered.

If Hendrix, Van Halen, and Steve Vai taught us something, is that all that noise that distortion produces is NOT a problem, but an opportunity. Can you harness it? Can you make music with it? Can you wow your audience with with? Damn sure you can.

In the video below I explain a few whammy bar "dirty tricks" to a young player to make his playing more energetic. I'm betting that you don't know all of them... and I'm just scratching the surface here:

Have you seen the student's face at the end of the video? Now grab your guitar by the whammy bar, and make some noises too.

NOTE: I already published an article about natural and artificial harmonic on the guitar so if you have any problems or doubt about harmonics, check it out!


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