whammy bar

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whammy bar

n.
A narrow bar attached to or near the bridge of an electric guitar that is depressed or raised to lower or raise pitch by changing the tension or length of the strings. Also called tremolo arm, tremolo bar.
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Dr Grimes derived equations describing how string bending, vibrato and whammy bars changed the pitch of a note and found that the properties of the strings had a big effect on the change in pitch, in particular the Young's modulus (a measure of how much the string stretches under force) and how thick the strings were.