The Warr Guitar resembles a standard electric guitar, albeit with a very low action and more strings. It is designed for two-handed tapping techniques like a Chapman Stick, producing a similar sound to the Stick when played in this way. More traditional guitar or bass guitar techniques (like strumming, pizzicato, slap and pop or using a plectrum) can also be used. Because of the placement of the instrument's strapholders, the Warr Guitar may be played in a more upright, Stick-like position, or horizontally, like an electric guitar.
Warr guitars have anywhere from seven to fifteen strings. The strings may be arranged so that the lowest pitched string is in the center of the fingerboard or nearest to the player, like on a Chapman Stick. The fingerboard may be fretted, fretless, or a combination of the two. Custom-designed Bartolini magnetic, piezoelectric or a combination of both of these pickups are used. If piezo pickups are added, the instrument is compatible with onboard MIDI electronics, allowing direct triggering of Roland or Axon synths from their instrument. The neck is constructed of multiple, quartersawn laminates of varying thickness. Instruments built with ten or more strings have two embedded, dual-action truss rods and dual 1/4" outputs.
The Warr guitar is often equipped with a string dampener. This device is built into the fretboard at the nut, allowing tapping techniques to be executed more cleanly on the instrument. A disadvantage of this is that it denies the use of open strings and makes the instrument less suitable for conventional guitar like playing methods.
The Warr guitar is a relatively rare instrument; however, it can (and has been) used in many genres, including jazz and metal. The Warr guitar provides such a complete sound that one Warr guitar player can fill the role of bass player and one or even two guitar players.