Why Won’t Your Whammy Bar Screw In Properly? 7 Common Reasons

Having trouble screwing in your whammy bar? I’ve dealt with this myself, and there are few common causes I’ve identified. 

Your whammy bar won’t screw in because it may be too thin, have a different thread pattern, or have worn or damaged threads. Other potential causes include misalignment, dirt and grime, improper insertion, or it might be a pop-in whammy bar. 

In this article, I’ll explore nine common reasons why your whammy bar won’t screw in properly, as well as how you can fix each issue. Read on to discover practical fixes for these issues and get back to rocking out with confidence!

7 Reasons Your Whammy Bar Won’t Screw In Properly

Whammy Bar Is Too Thin

Different guitar models may have different tremolo arm hole sizes, so it’s important to make sure you have the correct whammy bar for your particular guitar. If your bar is too thin for the hole, it won’t be able to grip the threads properly, and may not screw in. 

The fix for this issue is to buy a new whammy bar. Make sure you check your guitar’s manual or look at the manufacturer’s website to determine the correct whammy bar size and thread pattern for your specific guitar model.

Different Thread Pattern

This is another problem that comes up when you have the wrong bar for your guitar. If the thread pattern on the bar has a different pattern than the tremolo arm hole, you won’t be able to screw it in. 

Again, you’ll need to replace your bar or tremolo system to fix this issue. 

Threads Are Worn Or Damaged

Over time, the threads on the whammy bar and in the tremolo arm hole can become worn or damaged from use. This can lead to a whammy bar that is difficult or even impossible to screw in properly! 

If you suspect your threads may be worn or damaged, try using a lubricant. I recommend KeyTone Line Guitar Lubricant from Amazo; it’s inexpensive and does the job well. You can also use a light coating of lithium grease or petroleum jelly if you have them on hand. 

If lubrication doesn’t work, you can try using a threading die – a tool with grooves that match the thread pattern on the bar and arm hole – to re-cut and restore the threads. However, this is a delicate process, and you may want to consult a guitar technician if you don’t feel comfortable with it. 


If the hole in the metal is out of line with the part under the metal the whammy bar screws into, it can be nearly impossible to screw the whammy bar in. This can be caused by manufacturing defects, wear and tear, or damage. 

You may be able to fix this by using a drill or file to widen the whole. But again, this is risky, and I recommend hiring a technician if you’re concerned about damaging your guitar. 

Dirt and Grime

Dirt and grime can build up over time in the threads of the whammy bar and the arm hole. If enough gets in there, screwing in the whammy bar becomes a problem. 

To fix this issue, use a small brush or cloth to gently clean the threads and clear away any debris. If simply rubbing doesn’t work, use a mix of warm water and soap – just make sure you completely dry the threads when you’re done. WD-40 can also do the job if the first mixture doesn’t work. 

Improper Insertion

Improper insertion may prevent the whammy bar from screwing in and functioning correctly. This can happen if you’re not pushing it deep enough into the guitar or not using the right angle when trying to install it.

Make sure you’re using the proper angle when screwing it in – sometimes, the hole is drilled and tapped at a slight angle to give the bar the appropriate angle once installed. Holding it at the correct angle while inserting can prevent any thread damage and ensure a proper fit.

You Have A Pop-In Whammy Bar

Not every bar is a screw-in. Some use a pop-in mechanism – if you try to screw in a bar that should be popped in, you’re going to encounter some trouble. Check for threads in the block to ensure it’s a screw-in. 

Tips for Proper Whammy Bar Care

To maintain your whammy bar and keep it functioning properly, I recommend a few things. 

Make Sure Your Bridge Is Properly Adjusted

First, always examine the general condition of your guitar and the bridge in particular. Ensuring your guitar is well set up and the bridge properly adjusted plays a crucial role in keeping your tremolo arm functioning as it should. Improperly adjusted bridges can cause a variety of issues, including whammy bars failing to screw in correctly.

Use Lubricant

It’s also important for me to lubricate all the contact points between the various parts of the guitar, particularly where the whammy bar meets the bridge. This will help to prevent any potential problems with the threads on the whammy bar or bridge. 

Regularly applying a small amount of lubricant on the threads of the bar and the bridge can make a big difference in the long run.

Maintain Proper Tension

Another aspect to consider is the tension of the springs in your guitar. The tension usually should be equal and balanced across all the springs (There are cases when it is not but it is for more advanced players I would say) to avoid unnecessary force on the tremolo arm. If you find your whammy bar to be too stiff, you can loosen the screws on top of the springs to adjust the tension.

Don’t Overtighten 

Also, be mindful not to overtighten the set screw on your whammy bar. The set screw should be secured just enough to maintain sufficient tension without causing any damage to the threads. 


Fixing a whammy bar that won’t screw in doesn’t have to be a daunting task. 

Remember, always follow your guitar’s specific guidelines, and don’t hesitate to consult a professional if needed. In many cases I’ve seen, whether you’re dealing with misalignment or a build-up of dirt, your whammy bar’s functionality can usually be restored with a little care and attention.

If you found this article useful, you may want to save this pin below to your Guitar board.


I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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