Playing the Warr Guitar…

People often ask “what is that thing?”. Well- it’s like a guitar and bass in the same instrument that can also trigger synth sounds like a keyboard. Sounds complicated, huh? Well- it can be!!! Try to sing and step on effects pedals on top of all that!

The Warr Guitar is a really amazing- and challenging- instrument to play. It is made by a luthier named Mark Warr at his shop near Los Angeles, Ca. Check out his company’s website at WWW.WARRGUITARS.COM.

Developing independence between my right and left hands is a constant struggle but with enough practice anything is possible. I typically play “guitar” parts with my right hand on the lower course of strings and “bass” parts with my left hand on the upper course of strings. My setup utilizes 7 “guitar” strings and 5 “bass” strings. There are separate pickups for the “bass” and “guitar” strings so that I can send the sounds to different amps to get optimal “bass” and “guitar” sounds. I also have a guitar synthesizer pickup that captures the vibrations from the top 6 of my 7 guitar strings. I send that to yet another amplifier. It’s quite a setup!

My rig (amplification) has historically been 2 Digitech GSP-2101 guitar preamps- one for guitar and one for bass- fed to power amps that them power a stereo 4×12 cabinet and a few bass cabs. I also have a few MIDI foot controllers on the floor to control my preamps as well as a Cry Baby wah pedal for the guitar side, a volume pedal to bring the guitar synth sounds in and out and a few other pedals that get cycled in and out.

Lately I have also been using a variety of more traditional amplification including an Ampeg SVT4-PRO for the bass side and Mesa Boogie, Fender and Peavey tube amps for the guitar side.

Here’s a few videos that I produced where I talk about what I do on the Warr Guitar. Check it out!