Sure, you could vibrato manually using your fingers. But a whammy bar looks cool and gets the job done in a fun way. Whammy bars, aka tremolo bars, aka vibrato bars are classic. They aren’t as popular these days as they were in decades past, but they’re still pretty awesome. We’ve got a list to help you choose the best electric guitar with whammy bar.
How to Choose an Electric Guitar
You know you want a whammy bar, but there are a few other considerations when it comes choosing an electric guitar.
Most commonly, you’ll find guitars with either single coil or humbuckers, and occasionally P90 pickups. There are also a fair amount of guitars with a combination of single coil and humbuckers. Here’s what you need to know:
- Humbuckers: These are great for genres with a lot of distortion and when the gain needs to be cranked up. They put out a mellow sound without humming.
- Single coils: These are best for genres that don’t use much distortion simply because they start to hum at high gain. They tend to have a brighter sound which is why they suit clean playing so well.
- P90s: These are somewhere between humbuckers and single coil in that they sound more mellow than single coils and handle gain a little bit better, but will still hum if the gain is very high.
You’ve gotta have a guitar you love. The great thing about electric guitars is that most of them have solid bodies, so a glossy finish won’t hamper the sound. You do get hollow bodies and semi-hollow bodies, and there you’ll need to be more careful about the finish and type of wood. But with solid body guitars you can have whatever finish. They come in so many different styles and colors you can really find something you like.
The Best Electric Guitar with a Whammy Bar
These guitars are some of the best across various budgets that come with a whammy bar. Because shiz happens when you’re jamming hard and having fun, I thought I’d include some replacement whammy bars, a whammy bar, or even a set of whammy bars if you ever need a replacement. Without further ado, here’s the list of awesome whammy bar guitars.
Ibanez GRX70QA 6 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar
Along with a whammy bar, the Ibanez GRX70QA sports three Infinity R pickups: two humbuckers and a single coil. It’s constructed from poplar and maple wood. You get a 5-way pickup switch, a tone knob, and a volume knob. The quilted maple art top creates a beautiful and unique looking guitar. You can choose from transparent green burst, transparent black sunburst, transparent violet sunburst, transparent red burst, or sunburst. Ibanez offers a 1-year warranty on their electric guitars.
Aimed at beginners, the sound of this guitar is one that will definitely be suitable as you upskill too. Most people enjoy the sound, versatility and build quality. There were a few complaints, most of which sound like defects (missing jack input, using the tremolo detunes the strings, etc). Another notable issue that came up more than once is that the transparent violet burst isn’t really purple, it’s almost more of a red.
Fender H.E.R Stratocaster Electric Guitar
Inspired by R&B singer H.E.R, this stylish Strat is finished in a chrome glow. Looks aside, it’s constructed from alder and maple and sports three Vintage Noiseless single coil pickups. You get a 5-way pickup switch, a master volume knob, and two tone knobs. This guitar has a vintage look, from the tuning machines to the tremolo bridge. You can expect that classic Strat sound and good playability.
Most people love the way this guitar looks and feels to play. Another great plus people keep mentioning is that there is no buzz or hum from the pickups. I couldn’t find anyone saying anything bad about this guitar, and at that price point, being a one of Fender’s Artist series guitars, you know that the quality is great. Fender offers a limited 2-year warranty on their electric guitars.
Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 60’s Jazzmaster
If you’re a fan of the 60s guitars, the Squier Vibe 60s Jazzmaster is a good option. Designed to have that famous Jazzmaster sound, this guitar has two Alnico single coil pickups. The floating bridge and whammy bar further add to that vintage tone. The C-shaped neck makes playing comfortable. It’s also available in a left-hand model. Choose from sonic blue, olympic white, or 3-color sunburst.
Most people feel this is a comfortable guitar to play with a great sound. There are a few complaints, but these mostly have to do with setup. There were also a few defects (defective tuning head, very sharp frets, pickups breaking after a few days). Fender offers a limited 2-year warranty on their Squier electric guitars.
Squier by Fender Affinity Series Stratocaster
With its 2-point tremolo bridge and classic looks, this guitar offers great tone without costing a fortune. It has three single coil pickups and a 5-way pickup switch. You get a master volume knob and two tone knobs to tweak your sound. It’s constructed from poplar and maple and available in black, lake placid blue, olympic white, and 3-color sunburst.
Most people are impressed by the sound of this guitar. That said, there are a few complaints about the tremolo bridge and tuners. This is a budget guitar, so the hardware isn’t the same quality as a Fender guitar, but in most cases, they will do fine and are easy to upgrade should you choose to. You may even find that you love it just the way it is.
Fender Player Stratocaster Electric HSS Guitar
For a versatile guitar, this Player series Stratocaster has a combination of one Alnico humbucking pickup and two Alnico single coil pickups. You get a tone control for the neck and middle pickups and a tone control for the bridge pickup. Along with a master volume control knob you also get a 5-way pickup switch. The 2-point synchronized tremolo bridge facilitates smooth vibrato so this guitar can really sing.
Choose between a maple or pao ferro fingerboard. Color options include 3-color sunburst, black, tidepool (maple fingerboard only), polar white, buttercream (maple fingerboard only), silver (maple fingerboard only), and capri orange (pao ferro fingerboard only).
Most people feel this guitar sounds good and plays nicely. But there are a few complaints about the pickups ranging from weak to just okay. A few people say that the pickups work well for a vintage sound, but not very well for modern rock. Fender offers a 2-year warranty on their guitars.
Schecter PT Fastback II B Electric Guitar
This guitar has an awesome vintage look, especially when it comes to the Bigsby Flat Top B50 vibrato bridge. Compared to other guitars, it’s quite chunky. There’s no mistaking it. You also get two SuperRock Custom Alnico humbucker pickups. Each pickup has its own split coil tone control (for humbucker or single coil mode), and a volume control so you can get the sound you want. This guitar also has a 3-way pickup switch.
The frets are extra jumbo, so good for players with bigger hands. The body is constructed from alder, rose wood, and maple. Choose between dark emerald green and metallic red. Schecter offers a limited lifetime warranty. Most people that as a mid-level guitar this is a great guitar and that the pickups sound great whether in humbucker or single coil mode. It’s comfortable to play. There isn’t a bad word to be said about this guitar.
Ibanez GRGA120 Solid-Body Electric Guitar
If you want a simple but striking guitar, this GRGA120 is a good one to consider. In terms of the actual goods, this guitar has two Infinity R humbucker pickups with a 5-way pickup switch. Two settings on the switch provide a single coil sound. You also get a tone and volume knob. For players with bigger hands, the jumbo frets make playing easy. A lot of guitars on this list come with 22 frets, but this guitar has 24. The body is poplar and oak. Choose between black night or white. Ibanez offers a 1-year warranty on their guitars.
Most people like the sound and feel this guitar is decent. There are a few complaints though about the guitar being detuned every time the whammy bar is used. Some people feel the tremolo and bridge could be improved upon.
Sterling by Music Man Stingray SR30
This guitar is based on the 70s guitars by Music Man. Along with the Fulcrum tremolo bridge, you get two humbucker pickups, a 3-way pickup switch, and a tone and a volume knob. The body is poplar with a maple neck and laurel fretboard. Choose between Daphne blue or stealth black. Sterling by Music Man offers a limited 1-year warranty with their guitars.
Most people enjoy the sound of this guitar and feel that it’s worth far more than the price. There were a few complaints however about the hardware feeling cheap.
Guild Guitars Starfire I Jet 90 Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
If you want a semi-hollow guitar, the Starfire I Jet 90 is a good option. Along with the vintage looking vibrato tailpiece, you get three P90 pickups. You also get a master volume control, a master tone control, and a 6-way rotary pickup switch. The body is arched maple with a satin finish (the tonewood and finish matters more than with a solid body for sound). The f-holes give the guitar a jazzy look. The neck is a thin U-shape for comfortable playing. This guitar only has 20 frets. Choose from satin black, satin white, and satin gold.
Most people feel the sound is great mentioning clarity and depth of tone. Of course, everyone loves the way the guitar looks. There were a few complaints about the input being too short and some factory defects like the pickup dial not working and issues where the neck meets the body. Guild Guitars offer a limited lifetime warranty.
Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 70s Jaguar Electric Guitar
Another ode to the 70s, the Vibe 70s Jaguar is a unique looking guitar inspired by the earlier Jaguar models. Everything from the tremolo floating bridge to the tuning machines have a vintage look. You get two Alnico single coil pickups and a 4-way pickup switch. In total, the controls on the guitar are a circuit selector switch, rhythm circuit volume and tone, lead circuit volume and tone, pickup On/Off switches, and a tone circuit.
The scale length is a little shorter than most electrics at 24-inches as opposed to 25.5-inches. But you still get 22 frets along the c-shaped neck. Choose from surf green, 3-color sunburst, and black. Fender offers a 2-year warranty on their Squier guitars.
Most people love the sound and look. But there were a few complaints about the frets sitting too high so that it’s uncomfortable to run your fingers down the neck and the neck being warped.
Squier by Fender Affinity Series Stratocaster HH
The Affinity Stratocaster HH comes with a 2-point tremolo bridge for smooth vibrato, and two humbucker pickups. You get a master tone and master volume control and a 3-way pickup switch. The body is thin and lightweight and is constructed from poplar. The c-shape neck has 21 frets. Choose between burgundy mist, charcoal frost metallic, or olympic white. Fender offers a 2-year warranty on their Squier guitars.
Most people enjoy the sound and quality of this guitar saying it’s good value for money. It has very responsive pickups and a smooth laurel fretboard. There were some complaints, mainly factory defects regarding incomplete varnishing and pickups sitting too high.
EVH Striped Series Frankenstein Relic
If you want a really unique looking guitar to rock out on, check out the EVH Frankenstein Relic. This is an omage to Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat. It has a Dummy Strat single coil pickup and a Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucker. In terms of controls, you get a master volume and a 5-way pickup switch. You’re also sure to enjoy the Floyd Rose Special tremolo bridge and the D-tuna switch which tunes the guitar to drop D uber conveniently. The body is constructed from basswood. EVH offers a limited 2-year warranty.
Most people love the sound, the look, and playability of this guitar. Many say it inspires them to play this guitar. The only complaints are about versatility and a factory defect (two threaded frets).
You can purchase it at Sweetwater here.
There you have it, 12 of the best electric guitars with a whammy bar. This list is by no means exhaustive, but you’re bound to find something you like within your price range. Have fun shopping for your guitar and may you have an awesome time jamming!
Cheanné Lombard lives in the home of one of the new Seven World Wonders, Cape Town, South Africa. She can’t go a day without listening to or making music.
Her love of music started when her grandparents gave her a guitar. It was a smaller version of the full-sized guitars fit for her little hands. Later came a keyboard and a few years after that, a beautiful dreadnought guitar and a violin too. While she is self-taught when it comes to the guitar, she had piano lessons as a child and is now taking violin lessons as an adult.
She has been playing guitar for over 15 years and enjoys a good jam session with her husband, also an avid guitarist. In fact, the way he played those jazzy, bluesy numbers that kindled the fire in her punk rock heart. Now she explores a variety of genres and plays in the church worship group too and with whoever else is up for a jam session.