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Señor Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was touched on a little in an unrelated thread a few years back but I'm dusting off the topic.

Just recently got a couple of my favorite guitar back up to 100% and one of the things I've been lacking for a while was a good working trem and whammy bar. Being someone that focused primarily on metal most of my life, I think I got the EVH, Dimebag and Alexi diveboming down pretty well. Never really occurred to me to use the tremolo for, you know, actual trem/vibrato stuff until recently.

So anyway, I dedicated the last couple noodle sessions specifically to trem work. It's definitely an under appreciated technique, considering vibrato with your fretting hand only really give you your note+sharp where as a vocalist can oscillate sharp AND flat in a vibrato. Anyway it always eluded me, the biggest issue was that I always assumed you just grip the whammy bar hard with your picking hand and try to move it up and down in perfect pitch but it always felt jerky and inconsistent. The technique I developed the last few days, I have my hand open about the size of a quarter with the whammy bar in the center, and I'm moving toward and away from the guitar at the speed I want my vibrato, so there's a gap between basically 'bumping' either side of the trem arm that seems to make the pitch and speed more consistent rather than feeling like I'm fighting the spring tension.

I hope that makes sense.

Anyway, anybody else using they bar for vibrato at all? Any tips on technique or how you have your guitar setup?
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Paging Pete Stark!



:(
 

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:jj:

90% of my trem usage is doing a single fast, shallow dip right after I play a chord, and I like to keep the bar out of the way as much as possible, so I usually just sweep the bar up towards me while pressing down with my open hand about halfway up the fingers. If I want to do more up and down stuff, I'll pinch the tip with my thumb and forefinger and use them to pull up, and use the edge of my palm where the third and fourth fingers meet to push down.
 

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The only constructive piece of advice I can give is that I caught George Lynch in a clinic YEARS ago, and he did a ton more subtle bar stuff than I realized - he basically kept the bar palmed at all times for his slower melodic playing, and choked up on it, seeming to hold it about the midpoint. That probably helps when doing subtle effects.
 

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This space for rent
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i really struggle with being able to pick properly whilst still resting the bar in my hand all the time. Feels so unnatural to me, but i also haven't really put much time into getting used to it. I just fall back on the "swing the bar up when i need/want it and then drop again so it swings out of way when i'm done" technique.

Is there a magic formula for holding it all the time and still keeping a strong picking hand, or is it just a practice thing?
 

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i really struggle with being able to pick properly whilst still resting the bar in my hand all the time. Feels so unnatural to me, but i also haven't really put much time into getting used to it. I just fall back on the "swing the bar up when i need/want it and then drop again so it swings out of way when i'm done" technique.

Is there a magic formula for holding it all the time and still keeping a strong picking hand, or is it just a practice thing?
No clue. It feels weird as hell to me too.
 

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FWIW, Gilmour has always used a shortened wiggle stick, for the same reason, likely, that Lynch chokes up on his; to keep it subtle.
 

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Case in point...

Normal wiggle:


Gilmour wiggle:


In searching for those images, it looks like some Gilmour strats ship with one, and some with the other.
 

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vibrato with your fretting hand only really give you your note+sharp where as a vocalist can oscillate sharp AND flat in a vibrato.
It's actually easier than you might think to get flattening vibrato. I tried it after seeing a video where Vai was explaining his circular hand motion vibrato, saying he gets it to go flat and sharp. "Bullshit", I thought, it would require an impractical amount of pressure on metal strings to get it to go flat. Then I tried, and it's pretty easy. Just use a classical style vibrato, not the 'bend the string up and down' type.
 

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Not baked anymore.
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Case in point...

Normal wiggle:


Gilmour wiggle:


In searching for those images, it looks like some Gilmour strats ship with one, and some with the other.
They ship with both. Came in here to post specifically about Gilmour as he's one of the masters of this. Growing up on him and Vai, whammy usage was always part of my playing style. Even Vai keeps his in his hand while he's playing. I like to use mine for slurs/joining notes at longer intervals.
 

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Señor Member
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
FWIW, Gilmour has always used a shortened wiggle stick, for the same reason, likely, that Lynch chokes up on his; to keep it subtle.
Gave this a try this morning (the 'choked up' version) and was surprised how well it works. The motion is way more natural than the 'jerkiness' full gripping it on the far edge, it's also easier to keep gripped while you're playing. Neat tip :yesway:

It's actually easier than you might think to get flattening vibrato. I tried it after seeing a video where Vai was explaining his circular hand motion vibrato, saying he gets it to go flat and sharp. "Bullshit", I thought, it would require an impractical amount of pressure on metal strings to get it to go flat. Then I tried, and it's pretty easy. Just use a classical style vibrato, not the 'bend the string up and down' type.
Hmmm, never considered that but the logic is there. I'll give that a shot.
 

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Anyway, anybody else using they bar for vibrato at all? Any tips on technique or how you have your guitar setup?
Yup. Wang overuser here. :jj: For vibrato, especially on runs that end on a sustained note on the little finger of the fretboard hand. And if I'm playing melodies I need the wang bar for anyway, I'll sometimes add vibrato with it too, depending on the sound I want. I practice making finger vibrato sound like I'm using the bar, and vice versa, to give me more options as I play.

I sometimes put the bar between my picking hand's fingers so I can still hold the pick as normal while manipulating the bar in both directions with some force (for larger intervals).

Bridges set to float, three springs straight, bars with as little play as possible, 'cause that drives me bonkers. Cassidy did me a great favour by suggesting ways of keeping Ibanez bars nice and snug (reshape the bushings/stuff them with polythene bag scraps).

Recommended listening: Firkins (as above), Jan Cyrka, Jeff Beck, Reb Beach.

The whole flutter thing is getting a bit tired. :(
 

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DOO)))M
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Recommended listening: Firkins (as above), Jan Cyrka, Jeff Beck, Reb Beach.

The whole flutter thing is getting a bit tired. :(
Beck's use of vibrato in "Now We've Ended as Lovers" is like, the bar of vibrato usage, in my book
 

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^^Er, sure, but there's no "wiggle stick" action involved as per this thread. :scratch: As far as I know, the original version of that tune was recorded on the famous "Tele with humbuckers" put together by Seymour Duncan.

I've remembered a great source of wang inspiration: the sadly recently deceased Michael Caswell. Check out the material he did for Lick Library for great bar control.
 

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DOO)))M
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^^Er, sure, but there's no "wiggle stick" action involved as per this thread.
As far as I know, the original version of that tune was recorded on the famous "Tele with humbuckers" put together by Seymour Duncan.

I've remembered a great source of wang inspiration: the sadly recently deceased Michael Caswell. Check out the material he did for Lick Library for great bar control.
Correction then, as the original is quite dull compared to the live version. Hes definitrly doing some fluttering but it all serves the song.

 

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Señor Member
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Cassidy did me a great favour by suggesting ways of keeping Ibanez bars nice and snug (reshape the bushings/stuff them with polythene bag scraps).
Great info! Any details more details on this bit? I've got a couple rattling 'push in' bars.
 

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New Strats come with a spring that goes in under the bar to help keep it snug; used Strats are almost always missing this IME.

Also, you can wrap teflon plumber's tape or plastic bag material around the bushings of the bar in order to make it fit more snugly.

I've also swapped the Ibanez Edge trem bar and insert for Schaller Floyd Rose bar and you can tighten it up this way, but it's not a perfect fit as the Edge/Lo Pro Edge have an angled baseplate whereas the FR baseplate is flat. But it does work.
 

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Great info! Any details more details on this bit? I've got a couple rattling 'push in' bars.
Sure. I'm pretty sure Lee originally posted about it on MG, but I typed it up elsewhere:

Ibanez. Prestige v Premium? - Guitar Discussions on theFretBoard

and Lee popped up himself later in the same thread with his latest method:
Ibanez. Prestige v Premium? - Guitar Discussions on theFretBoard

There's a few other tales of things one can do with one's boingy bar in that thread, too. (And it was where I got the tip-off that led to my getting my blue RG.)
 
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