That thing on your guitar is properly called a vibrato bar / arm / unit, not a tremolo. Lots of guitar manufacturers, dealers, technicians, and players erroneously call it a tremolo. However, even the silly slang terms (whammy bar, wiggle stick, wang bar, etc.) are preferable to tremolo.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with tremolo, per se. It's a perfectly tasty way to add expression to your playing, and, admittedly, it is sometimes perceived similarly to vibrato, but it's really something else entirely.
Tremolo, you see, is a modulation (i.e., a cyclical change) of volume (also called amplitude). You create a tremolo effect when you continuously lower and increase volume. You can do this with a guitar's volume knob (with practice), with a volume pedal, an effect unit, a tremolo (real tremolo) effect on your amp, with software plug-ins, etc. You cannot do it with your vibrato bar.
Vibrato, on the other hand, is a modulation of pitch (also called frequency). There are a number of ways to produce vibrato on a guitar, and all of them work by changing the tension on one or more strings. Tightening a string raises its pitch; loosening it lowers the pitch. And that is exactly what a vibrato bar does.
Now that you know the difference, won't you please call it by its proper name? Kudos to the manufacturers who already do: Bigsby, Gretsch, and Parker. If you happen to be employed at Fender, Floyd Rose, or at any of the many other manufacturers who doggedly persist in their error, I entreat you to work toward reform! It's not too late.
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