Tech Tip:What Does a Tremolo Bar Do?

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The following tips for aspiring guitarists are courtesy of John McCarthy of The Rock House Method, publisher of video lessons for musicians at every skill level.


Laura Kaufman; Cincinnati, OH



Q: What is the tremolo bar supposed to do? When I put it on my electric (I got it just yesterday) I don't hear a difference in sound...


A: The tremolo bar will not make the guitar sound any differently unless you move it up or down. By moving it up or down, this bar will change the pitch of your strings. Many great players have used the tremolo bar as a part of their signature sound. Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen come to mind as players who used this often. Connect your bar and try the following exercises.


1. Since you are a new player, try just strumming the strings with no fingers pressed down. Now take the tremolo bar and move it up and down. Try moving it slowly and quickly and notice the difference in sound.


2. Next just pick one string and try pushing the bar all the way down to the guitar body. This will show you the range that the bar has for changing the pitch of the strings on the guitar.


Try to experiment with this as you progress as a player. Don't make this a priority in the beginning. The basics of chords and scales are most important in the beginning stages of playing.


Hope this helps!


Yours in Music,
John McCarthy
Rock House