The Best Whammy Bar Guitar for 2019
It is referred to as “Tremolo”, “Whammy Bar” and sometimes also known as “Floyd Rose”. The “Vibrato” which is another one of its names is a handle-bar system which is an accessory used to switch the guitar playing. Some guitarists have contended that these accessories are an impediment to their particular style and that might be true. The tremolo bar or the whammy bar can be a problem if you’re not familiar to its location and can create some unbelievable effects and sounds that cannot be played or are next to impossible to produce. So are you looking for the best whammy bar guitar out there?
Les Paul Guitar with a Bigsby – What’s So Great About It
The Bigsby can be spotted on a guitar almost immediately. It’s impossible to miss. Some people have described the piece to be absolutely stunning. Some people equate having a Bigsby on the guitar to have expensive and customized wheels on your car or wearing an exclusively crafted piece of jewelry. This device also lends a great deal of support to the guitar. A Bigsby can be taken off a guitar and put a Tune-O-Matic or a regular stop-bar on the instrument. You can put the Bigsby back on the guitar afterward. A Bigsby on a Les Paul guitar need not be an indelible feature unless you keep it that way.
The Top 5 Les Paul Guitars with Whammy Bars
The maple top is the best feature of the Les Paul Supreme Florentine. What you get is AAAA grade maple. It’s absolutely remarkable. When you see the cost of this guitar, the AAAA grade maple is an essential component of that. This guitar can be on par with a Paul Reed Smith ’10 Tops’ which a lot of enthusiasts yearn for. At the back of the guitar, the same grade maple cap with a similar finish is there too. This is not seen often on any guitar. The center is mahogany which has a polished coating which is clear and which looks super creamy. It is interceding on both sides by two caps of blue. It is visually magnificent in every way. The color finish and the double caps give it a great look too. This is a Gibson 2015 guitar all the way.
2. Gibson Custom Les Paul Axcess Standard: With a Floyd Rose system on it, this guitar can play a range of musical genres. Common with all these systems, there is a locking nut which checks that the guitar stays in tune for a long time. The conventional Les Paul neck design, with the neck heel and parts at the back and the neck joint have been shaped to furnish a heel-free feel. It also has a good reach and excellent playability. This allows you to take it right over the top. With a chambered body this guitar has a thinner body than is common for a Les Paul. This piece is a wonderful combination of playability and versatility.
3. Gibson Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess: This is one of the most versatile Les Paul’s ever manufactured. This is less expensive than the Axcess Standard and has some innovative features. It is a groundbreaking piece with the all-important components such as the contour, access heel, the whammy bar with a locking nut and stands out from the ordinary. The ghost pickups on this guitar make it sound very much like an acoustic steel guitar. This instrument is a modern technological marvel. This is not a cheap guitar and covers many bases and produces different tones than any other instrument you can think of. It can be used for all styles and genres of music.
4. Gibson Les Paul Fort Knox: This model was a limited edition from 2016. This is not an expensive guitar and also comes with a Bigsby vibrato. It has a gold top which reminds you of the 50s, and this particular finish is unique. All the parts on this guitar are gold including the Bigsby, the top, back, the frets and the tuning machines. The strap lock and switch tip is gold too. This is a complete visual delight for any aficionado. It also has a Vibramate which make string changing easier.
5. Gibson Collector’s Choice #14 1960 Les Paul “Waddy Wachtel”: Waddy Wachtel is an eminent American guitarist and is famed for his work with musician Keith Richards. If you are a rock music lover, then you have heard of his work. A famous blues-rock guitarist, Waddy has played two guitars – one would be a Stratocaster and the other a 1960 Gibson Les Paul. This guitar has a thin neck and has a pair of Custom Bucker humbuckers fitted on it. These pickups use a fixed number of turns to produce the tone people adore. They are unique to this guitar. The Bigsby on this instrument does not have a vibramate. This one’s old school albeit celebrated Les Paul guitar.
Main Features of an Exceptional Tremolo or Whammy Bar System
The Design of the System – The system design can have quite an influence on how it is available in the market. Extremely user-friendly and easy to install, it does not match well with certain types of guitars. It is also known to be one of the finest locking tremolo system versions ever created. An ordinary Floyd Rose is made up of several parts and even though it is one of the most well-liked tremolo systems, it can be categorized as complicated.
The Range of the System- The range of your tremolo system specifies the points of pitch you reach. These include the highest and lowest points. The tautness of the guitar strings and the basic arrangement of the handle are the two primary factors which decide the range. Some vibrato or tremolo systems let you indicatively displace the pitch. You can’t carry out this technique with any tremolo system without chancing to break a string or more which is why you should look out for a solid tremolo system in which the range is ancillary.
Tuning Strength of the System- Switching the playing action on the guitar means that your strings are likely to be pulled from their uniform positions. This will lead to shifts in tuning but most often they will go back to where they originally were. You should think about a tremolo system which won’t be so tough on the strings. The “Floyd Rose” is one of the well-built tremolo systems and this is owing to a good reason. This system completely overturns the gears or heads on your guitar by locking the guitar strings in a secure position. There are six screws which won’t allow you to stop tuning. A good tremolo system will never hinder your guitar’s tone. Another feature easy to install is hipshot and features many kinds of bending. If you’re looking for a fine balance between tuning strength and other aspects, your best choice would be a Wilkinson VSVG – which is a multi-faceted tremolo system which features an outstanding design.
The Longevity of the System – Every tremolo system is made up of a surplus of smaller components. Each part is important and if any one of them is broken, it impedes the whole system. It’s up to you – as your choice determines which tremolo system is sturdy enough for you. Guitarists who use the whammy bar often require a strong and durable tremolo system. Another alternative may be deciding on an uncomplicated system like Bigsby B7.
How the Whammy Bar or Tremolo Works
To decide whether a whammy bar or tremolo is important to your guitar playing, understand what it does and why. Back in the 60s and 70s, the tremolo systems available were unreliable unless used for modest vibrato techniques. That is why bridges like the Bigsby Vibrato and Fender Synchronized Tremolo were devised. Famed guitarists were trying to make the Fender tremolo be in tune with vigorous use. Using graphite and other types of lubricants at friction points or directing string pull could prove to be successful. One of the main reason guitars can’t be in tune is friction even though they have fixed bridges on them. Bending tunes and working a whammy bar results in the strings to move and stretch. In places where the string touches parts of the guitar like the bridge and nut, it can get stuck and do not return to its actual spot, adjusting string tension. This would make the guitar out of tune. A guitarist in the 1970s known as Floyd Rose built an accessory that removed friction problems which caused the guitar strings to go out of tune or harmony when a tremolo bar is used.
The Locking Nut on the Floyd Rose Tremolo System
The locking nut on the Floyd Rose system is a fundamental feature. Also, the nut is one of the primary locations a string will be hung up, adjusting the intrinsic nut design will help with sustaining tuning strength or stability. Floyd Rose tackled the problem by jamming the strings between the two parts of steel, secured by bolts. This holds the strings in place, not allowing them to move over the nut. The caliber and solidity of the clamping mechanism are vital, but even more important is that this feature takes the place of the nut. The locking nut design is one of the main reasons the Floyd Rose Tremolo system is so impressive. There is a second lock where the bridge is located.
The Floyd Rose or Tremolo Bridge
The Floyd Rose Bridge operates in the same way as other tremolo bridges do. There are two modifiable screws set up on the guitar body which develop a fulcrum with the bridge plate. There are springs inside the body cavity which restrain the string tension. Adjusting the tremolo arm can change string tension and can cause notes falling flat or going sharp. The bridge is one of the main locations where friction can result in strings getting hung up and the guitar going out of tune. Floyd Rose resolved this to a large extent by locking the strings with the help of hex screws and clamps and easing the break where the string goes over the bridge. This is the comprehensive double lock system which changed the perception of whammy bars. The strings can’t move or shift, not at the nut or the bridge and once moved to pitch they stay in tune even under extreme pressure.
Advantages of a Whammy Bar or a Floyd Rose Tremolo on Your Guitar
This system works efficiently if set up correctly. It can bear a lot of abuse and does not go out of tune. Get sharp notes when you play or press the arm of the tremolo against the body of the guitar and the strings will still come back to tonality. This system has its limits and after some time you need to do guitar retuning but the Floyd is a stable and rock solid system. If you are interested in music styles which involve whammy bar usage or a lot of guitar moves this is your best option. Guitarists and musicians will prize how the bridge resists the kinds of abuse they put it through. Jazz and blues musicians use double-locking tremolo systems on their guitars too. They require just a plain old vibrato and the extra security when it comes to tuning strength is worth it. If you are thinking of using the tremolo bridge a lot in your playing style, you should choose a guitar which has a Floyd Rose.
The latest locking tremolo systems and bars are also referred to as floating bridges. They were made fashionable and sought after by one of the most famous guitarists of all time – Steve Vai, and it’s no swing of chance that many people adore this handy guitar accessory. It’s an easy task to understand tremolo systems and using them well is another aspect altogether. You should always select your tremolo system in line with your budget, playing style and level of skill. It is also good to read up on the features which comprise of a good tremolo system so you are updated and know what it takes.
To decide whether you need a guitar with a whammy bar or Floyd Rose Tremolo System you need to figure out whether the benefits outrank the troubles. guitar tricks and huge dive bombs are abilities which your guitar should have and also make sure your guitar stays in tune and is worth the patience and time to keep the bridge running efficiently. For beginners, a hard-tail bridge works best. You wouldn’t want a tremolo bridge not working side by side when you’re learning how to play the guitar. There are other bridges available which have been constructed like the double-locking feature. Models like the Ibanez have some excellent parts and features on their guitars nowadays, crafted by them exclusively.
Some leading guitar companies have included licensed versions on their guitar models. If you want to buy a licensed guitar, it is best you do some adequate research and ensure you are getting top-quality equipment. Double locking tremolos are far more complicated than other regular bridges and require to be observed a little more. You can’t get your guitar repaired every time there is a problem or something needs to be set properly. You will need to learn to resolve the problems on your own. They are not so difficult to maintain once you get used to it but there is a lot of work involved compared to a more conventional tremolo or bridge system.