Whammy bar

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Description:
A whammy bar, tremolo arm/bar, or vibrato arm/bar is a component of a guitar, used to add vibrato to the sound by changing the tension of the strings, typically at the bridge or tailpiece. The whammy bar enables the player to quickly vary the tension and sometimes the length of the strings temporarily, changing the pitch to create a vibrato, portamento or pitch bend effect.

Instruments without this device are called hard-tail. The term vibrola is also used by some guitar makers to describe their particular whammy bar designs. The whammy bar began as a mechanical device for more easily producing the vibrato effects that blues and jazz guitarists had long produced on arch top guitars by manipulating the tailpiece with their picking hand. However, it has also made many sounds possible that could not be produced by the old technique, such as the 1980s-era shred guitar "dive bombing" effect.

Since the regular appearance of mechanical whammy bars in the 1950s, they have been used by many guitarists, ranging from the gentle inflections of Chet Atkins to the exaggerated twang effects of early rocker Duane Eddy to the buoyant effects of surf music aficionados like The Ventures, The Shadows and Dick Dale to art rock innovator Frank Zappa. In the 1960s and '70s, vibrato arms were used for more pronounced effects by the psychedelic guitarist Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy...
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