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is it possible to make and install a whammy bar on my guitar? Answered

if it matters(which i probably does), i have a peavey rockmaster (fender strat copy) that i want to put a whammy bar in. is it possible to make one or will i have to buy one?

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peach_fart
peach_fart

11 years ago

well, i guess i havent needed any of this info for a while, because ive had a ibanez RG10 for a few months now.

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IronManMC
IronManMC

11 years ago

GuardianFox, excellent reply.  You said toward the end that a tremolo equipped guitar doesn't hold its tuning as well.  It's true, but there's a "fix".

I have perfect pitch and can tune my guitar by ear to within a cent or two when installing new strings, with no reference pitch.  I'm extremely fussy about tuning.

My old Fender Coronado has a tremelo tailpiece.  The bridge has round cylinders rather than knife-edged saddles, and the tremelo mounts on top of the tailpiece.  The strings go through a metal bar that looks a lot like a pedal steel chrome slide.  The trem bar is mounted to this, and "rocks" it to vary string tension.  It's similar in principle to a Bigsby.  (BTW, the Bigsby requires no routing, and this design might be easier for homebrewing.)

I wouldn't call it a "whammy".  It bends down only about 1-1/2 tones.  No Eddy Van Halen dive bombs with this tremelo.  Fortunately, there's not much call for these in jazz and blues.

There's a trick to tuning a trem equipped guitar.  Tune a string, hit the trem bar, retune, hit the trem bar, retune, hit the trem bar again.  By now, that string should be pretty stable.  Tune all strings thusly, then recheck your tuning.

While playing, your guitar may go out of tune.  If it does, hit the trem bar.  This will usually bring it right back in tune.

I use a guitar tuner (Boss TU121) with a D'arsonval/Weston meter movement (moving needle).  It's very accurate, and more flexible than a strobe.  I set it to A439, and use the marker just before center for more flatness.  We tune guitars with the strings "at rest".  When the guitar is played normally, it plays sharp because the average string excursion is greater, and increases effective string tension.  This is the right compromise for my guitar and style of play. 

I also play a racked diatonic harmonica.  I tune my harmonicas several cents sharp (and yes harmonicas can be tuned by removing metal from the reed).  I naturally "pull" them into tune with my resonant embouchure.  I set them up so I can bend all 20 reeds and play chromatically.

It seems that most (all??) trem equipped Strats come with a floating trem, a musical abomination that should carry a mandatory life sentence at a facility far away from me.  The first time I tried a Strat with a floating trem, I finally understood why Strat players like to smash and burn their instruments.  It makes them sound better.

Fortunately, there's a simple (and CHEAP) fix.  Block the tremelo, so it bends only downward in pitch, but not upward (if you need bidirectional whammy, do it right, with a slide).  I sank a couple of wood screws in back of mine, so the trem firmly rests against the screws.  What a HUGE difference this made.

Once you do these (tuning and blocking the trem), you won't need locking nuts, locking tuners, Floyd Roses, or any of that other junk that doesn't work.  If your tuners are junk (a lot of "stock" tuners are junk), you may need to replace them with good precision tuners, like Schallers.  But if you're contemplating building your own tremelo, you're probably either totally broke or terminally cheap (or like me, both), and the chances that those tuners will be replaced is about the same as Rush Limburger saying something (gasp!) nice about Obama.



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apurvh
apurvh

11 years ago

Trying to do that you might spoil your guitar. I think there are some effects processor that make tremolo effects.

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peach_fart
peach_fart

Answer 11 years ago

I don't want tremolo distortion, I want a whammy bar because of all the cool sound effects you can do with them.

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dab2000100
dab2000100

11 years ago

you could but it would be alot of work id suggest not doing that and just produce tremelo with youre finger

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peach_fart
peach_fart

Answer 11 years ago

I want a whammy bar to do cool sound effects, not vibrato.