Watch the Whammy Bar online guitar lesson by Jeff Scheetz from Rock Tricks
Grab yer stupid stick and let the fun begin. It doesn't have to be all about the 80's - but that is when the whammy bar really took over thanks to one Mr. Floyd Rose. His "locking tremolo" changed the way players could use a whammy bar.
Jimi used his back in the day, but it usually sent him out of tune faster than a Mitch Mitchell drum part. Some jazz cats used the Bigsby tremolo - but that was for subtle stuff, not the kind of tortured screams, warbles, dives and howls that Van Halen would conjure up.
Eddie was one of the first well known guys to do the dive bomb and the harmonic squeal with much consistency. He used the weird noises that you could get from the whammy bar in a musical way. Then other players jumped on board like Brad Gillis of Night Ranger and it grew from there. You can also use it to do some nice slide sounding riffs and mix the subtle with the extreme!