How Whammy Bar Techniques Are Notated in Guitar Tab

There are a huge number of techniques that involve the whammy bar (also known as the tremolo or vibrato bar), and tablature generally does a better job of notating these techniques than standard notation. The most common techniques are described below.

Dive Bombs

A dive bomb is indicated by a line after a note that slants downward. The note has the text 'w/ bar' above it. There may also be a number at the end of the line that indicates how many half steps to depress the bar.

Dive bomb

Dive and Return

A dive and return is performed by diving with the bar and returning to the original pitch. The symbol for a dive and return looks like a large 'V'. The point of the 'V' usually has a number below it that indicates the size of the dive in half steps.

Dive and return


A scoop is bending the bar downward slightly and releasing it as a note is picked. It is indicated with a symbol that resembles a check mark placed in front of the note to be scooped.

Scoop with the whammy bar


A dip is played by playing a note, lowering the pitch the specified amount, and returning to the original pitch. There may be multiple dips performed on a single struck note as shown below:

Dips with the vibrato bar

The notes in parentheses aren't plucked. They just indicate where the dips occur.

Other Techniques

There are many other techniques that can be performed with the tremolo bar. These will generally be explained within the music. Even when an explanation isn't included, the notation makes it obvious how a technique is to be performed, so it isn't necessary to provide an exhaustive list of whammy bar notation here.