How to Install Whammy Bar on an Electric Guitar?

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Stevie Ray Vaughn, Kirk Hammett, and Jimi Hendrix are household names because of being exceptional guitarists.

However, they also have something else in common: using the tremolo bar, popularly known as the whammy.

That should tell you something about the significance of a whammy bar.

However, you must install it before you can enjoy what it offers.

How to install a whammy bar on an electric guitar depends on whether it is threaded or non-threaded.

If the guitars have vibrato systems, installing a threaded whammy bar on it requires inserting it into the hole meant for it before screwing it clockwise and only stopping upon experiencing some resistance.

On the other hand, installing a non-threaded whammy bar is as easy as pushing it into its rightful place.

Let’s learn more about installing a whammy bar on an electric guitar.

How Important is a Whammy Bar?

A tremolo or whammy bar is a vibrato system that enables a guitar player to change the music pitch without needing additional instruments or pedals.

Strumming creates vibrations, and that’s where the whammy bar comes in.

It will decrease or increase these vibrations by bending the guitar strings.

The Guitar sound they produce is fused and unique upon bending down these strings.

No wonder those who produce soul, country, and rock love whammy bars.

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Nevertheless, it isn’t a requirement for your Guitar to work, but the huge difference it makes is indisputable.

How Do You Install a Whammy Bar on an Electric Guitar?

There are various ways of installing a whammy bar on an electric guitar, and here is a discussion of your options;

How To Install a Whammy Bar on a Stratocaster

Since whammy bars were initially designed for Stratocasters, installing the bar on one is quite easy.

After all, Stratocasters usually come with a bridge needed to install a whammy bar.

The process includes inserting the whammy bar into the bridge hole meant for it.

Since it is often threaded, you will screw it clockwise until you notice some resistance.

The unthreaded counterpart only requires you to push the right bar, and screwing it is unnecessary.

Whereas you can screw an unthreaded whammy bar loosely or tightly, most guitarists highly recommend the latter.

How To Install Whammy Bar on a Solid Guitar

Solid Guitar, popularly known as SG, is a later model from Gibson.

Initially, some SG models came with preinstalled tremolo bridges, but their quality was pathetic.

However, that’s no longer the case since you can install various bridges on an SG, including the Vibramate, Bigsby, and Floyd Rose.

What matters is installing a model suitable for your SG guitar’s design.

If you choose the Bigsby bridge, follow these steps to install a whammy bar on an SG;

  • Remove its strings
  • Unscrew before removing its stock bridge
  • Clean the SG
  • Screw the Vibramate adaptor into the stock bridge’s holes to attach it
  • Go to the Guitar’s bottom and remove its strap button
  • The Vibramate has a space for the bridge, and that’s where you should connect the Bigsby one
  • Find the Bigsby’s tapered end and screw it into the strap button’s hole
  • Lift the Bigsby’s tremolo arm
  • Find the washer and it over the tremolo arm’s screw-loke extended section near its attachment to the main bridge.
  • Put the included spring on a receptacle where the arm’s screw-like extended section rests.
  • Lastly, remove the tremolo arm.
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However, the procedure is only necessary if the bridge’s tremolo arm is unattached.

How To Install Whammy Bar on Les Paul

It is no secret that Les Paul is also from the Gibson.

Equally important, this Guitar doesn’t have a vibrato system; thus, it is necessary to modify it to add one.

Besides, some of its models allow you to install a Floyd Rose bridge.

Unfortunately, this bridge requires you to drill holes which explains why most guitarists choose the Bigsby bridge on Les Paul.

Installing the Bigsby bridge on your Les Paul is no different from how you do it on an SG.

How to Install a Whammy Bar on a Telecaster

If you have a telecaster, the most recommended vibrato or tremolo system is the Super-Vee Maverick Telecaster Tremolo System.

It was an improvement of the Stratocaster’s Super-Vee Bladerunner to make it ideal for a telecaster.

Another option is the Maverick Telecaster, designed for a telecaster, which won’t alter its outer appearance after installation.

However, you need guitar construction and woodwork skills to pull this installation off.

Alternatively, look for a guitar expert to assist you because its routing process is quite complex.

You may also not own the necessary tools since they are uncommon.

Do Whammy Bars Fit All Electric Guitars?

You can install a whammy par on the musical instrument if you own an electric guitar.

However, besides being an electric guitar, it also needs the correct bridge to support that installation.

For instance, the bridge should allow you to screw the tremolo bar into it and bend accordingly.

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In this case, the suitable bridges are the Floyd Rose and the fixed bridges.

The former bends in two directions, whereas the latter bends in one.

So, if your electric Guitar lacks any of the two bridges, you must replace the existing one.

Fitting these bridges will require you to drill holes before doing so.

Therefore, if you don’t know how to proceed, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional guitar technician.

How Do You Know If Your Guitar Can Have a Whammy Bar?

The bridge of your Guitar determines whether you can install a whammy bar on it.

If you are wondering what a guitar bridge is, that’s the part close to the bottom of its body.

It is also where the guitar strings end and should be held.

You will find a small hole in the bridge if your Guitar can have a whammy bar.

However, if it lacks the hole, don’t give up until you consult a guitar technician since the experienced ones could help you improvise.

Equally important, you may not need to install a whammy bar on your Guitar if it comes with one preinstalled.

Nevertheless, remember that such bars are permanent and hence non-removable.

References

https://youtu.be/cdiMxQXs2iM

https://frontmanphilosophy.com/install-whammy-bar/

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