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Dive bomb is a guitar technique in which the tremolo bar is used to rapidly lower the pitch of a note, creating a sound considered to be similar to a bomb dropping. One of the most recognized pioneers of this technique is Jimi Hendrix. Other notable musicians who are widely known for using this technique are Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, Joe Satriani and Tom Scholz of Boston. Some guitarists, such as K.K. Downing, Glenn Tipton, Jeff Hanneman and Dimebag Darrell have been known to use a variation of this technique in which a harmonic, most commonly a pinch harmonic, is used instead of a normal fretted or open note creating a sound arguably closer to that of a bomb due to the squealing sound created by the harmonic.
It is usually best performed when using a locking tremolo (whammy bar) such as the Floyd Rose version, so that rapid changes in string tension do not take the strings out of tune. This allows the guitarist to pick a note, and widely vary its tone, either by quickly pushing (or pulling) the bar as far as it goes either way, or slowly moving the bar in the desired direction, depending on what effect the musician is trying to achieve. It is commonly done in combination with a pinch harmonic to get a more dramatic effect with the dive bomb. The bass line at the end of the The Rolling Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown" is an excellent example of dive bombing.
Dive bombing is also used in a lot of surf music where it is a staple. Dive bombing is also used in Billy Idol's song "White Wedding", Rage Against the Machine's song "Calm Like a Bomb", Boston's "Smokin'", The Black Keys' song "Lonely Boy", George Thorogood's cover of Bo Diddly's "Who Do You Love?", The Rip Chords "Hey Little Cobra", and Van Halen's "Eruption"