The ayr has a pear-shaped sound box, a peg box bent back at a 45-90 degree angle from the neck, five pairs of strings paired in courses of two (except the lowest string which is usually just a single string), a short neck, at least one sound hole, a bridge, and keys for tuning the strings.
Each pair of strings is tuned by the same key, creating a distinctive sound. The pairs of strings are tuned in unison, like the pairs of strings on a mandolin. The bridge and the strings are attached to the instrument in a similar fashion to the classical guitar, i.e. knotted at the bridge.
The strings of the ayr are always made of gut and the bridge and neck of the instrument are often inlaid with small pieces of ivory or bone. Otherwise, the ayr is usually void of ornamentation or decoration. The ayr is never to be painted, carved or the wood otherwise disturbed for fear of changing the faint, haunting sound it produces.
The ayr is famous for its easy improvisation, unlike other instruments, which either require accompaniment or are too complex to play.
At that same event, the shop called Haunting Sounds sold a small white ash ayr, a pear-shaped yew ayr, a pale mistwood ayr and a bone-inlaid ironwood ayr, as well as a pale crystal ayr pin, a spectral instrument.
Ayrs can be purchased from Desert Wind Music in south Solhaven and customized with a number of appropriate wood materials and descriptors.