Each musical instrument functions in a unique way. Whether you are playing on a guitar or a saxophone, there are going to be certain things you can only achieve from that particular instrument.
Over and over again, I find that electric guitar players (especially the jazz focused ones) tend to fixate on chords and scales and fail to to appreciate what their instrument can truly be capable of. These usually end up being the same people who also choose to ignore their whammy bar.
The undeniable truth is that crowds love it when someone pulls a sweet whammy bar trick in their solo. It's a little thing that can be done to take your playing to the next level and melt some minds.
But beyond the minds you will melt, why not use your guitar to its full potential? The whammy bar is on there for a reason. On top of that, I am sure you chose the electric guitar over any other instrument for a reason too, right? There are certain musical sounds and techniques you can only express on an electric guitar, and these techniques should be embraced!
This isn’t to say there there is nothing to be learned from these other instruments. I am also not trying to say that you should stop learning about scales and chords (in fact you can find an entire course about this on my website). But sometimes there is a place for this more technical knowledge, and sometimes all you need to do is melt some faces.
If we have learned anything from the great rock players of our time it’s that the noise you get from distortion isn’t a bad thing. It is an opportunity. What are you able to do with it? Can you make it musical in some way? Can you blow your audience away with it? Damn right you can. Watch the following video in which I explain a few fun and easy whammy bar tricks for you to destroy your audience with at your next show.
Did you catch the look on the student’s face at the end of that video? That could be you! Now quick, see for yourself what noises you can get from that whammy bar.
Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.