How to Tighten the Whammy Bar

Written by matthew anderson
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A whammy bar allows a guitarist to manipulate the string tension on a guitar with a tremolo bridge. This is used to create a variety of effects typically only seen in more advanced guitar work. The tightness of a whammy bar determines how easily the bar moves around when attached. Gravity will cause a loose whammy bar to swivel in the socket so that the bar hangs straight down. A tight whammy bar will stay in place within the hole.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Guitar with tremolo bridge
  • Teflon washers

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  1. 1

    Pull the whammy bar straight out of the tremolo bridge on the guitar.

  2. 2

    Remove any of the washers that appear old or damaged. The washer will pull right off if you push open the slit.

  3. 3

    Replace the damaged washers with new Teflon washers. Push them into the slot near the end of the whammy bar where you removed the original washers.

  4. 4

    Push the bar into the hole on the tremolo bridge of the guitar. Spin it around in the hole to see if it is adequately tight. You are finished if it is. Otherwise, remove it from the guitar.

  5. 5

    Add another Teflon washer into the slot.

  6. 6

    Push the bar into the hole in the tremolo bridge. Spin it around to check to see if it is tight enough. Keep adding more washers one at a time until the bar is sufficiently tight.

Tips and warnings

  • The tightness of the whammy bar can only be adjusted in guitars with a push-in tremolo bridge design, such as the Ibanez Edge or Floyd Rose. Screw-in tremolo bridges, such as the vintage bridge used by Fender, cannot have the tightness altered.
  • Do not attempt to add more washers than easily fit in the slot at the end of the whammy bar. This could cause the whammy bar to jam when placed into the tremolo bridge. You could potentially damage the guitar or pull the strings out of tune if you try to force it into or out of the hole.

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