This instrument is played by stroking the combs with plectrums. The combs were tuned to a chromatic scale – one note per comb – by shortening the tines to raise the tone to the desired pitch. Additional combs located around the periphery are not tuned for certain pitches, but are for glissandos and random pitch sequences. The instruments works acoustically, and also has a pickup for amplification.
Even though the combs are tuned, the sound is acoustically complex and the pitch is not always clear. In demanding musical contexts, it becomes impossible for the ear to distinguish any pitch at all, and the comb sound comes across as an irritating scratching. But played solo or in less distracting contexts, it can be an unusual and intriguing sound.