Sound

Technology meets art of git-fiddle with Jamstick+

Didn’t realize how learning could be fun? Enter the Jamstick+, a guitar learning tool, and a guitar-like MIDI controller.

Jamstick+ is a plastic body, with five frets and six chords, shares lots of other DNA with a regular guitar and uses real guitar strings with a magnetic pickup. The side of the device contains the power and D-pad buttons which lets you change the tune of the guitar and on the other side are the USB and minijack ports, featuring a mute button down by the bridge and . Inside is a 3.6v Lithium replaceable and rechargeable battery.

Jamstick+, a guitar learning tool, and a guitar-like MIDI controller

The “smart” part comes from the fact that the Finger position is detected by Patented IR sensors at the end of each string in the fretboard, and picking strength (how hard you pluck the strings) is measured by more sensors.

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On its own, Jamstik+ makes no sound actually. Instead, it’s a controller for MIDI software – you’ll need app on your Mac or iOS device for that. Which brings an advantage that you’re no longer limited to guitar sounds and you never need a capo as the D-pads have the hexaphonic magnetic pickup, which delivers a higher-resolution signal compared to the original’s piezo-based method.

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The latency is definitely reduced on the Jamstik+, which is likely the real key selling point for many, but if any latency at all is a deal breaker, you’ll still probably want to try this in-store first. Then of course there’s the question of price. Where Jamstik+ will cost $300. Still at $300, it’s not exactly a cheap toy for a hobby. But if learning to play is your sole motivation, whether the benefits of the real thing outweigh the offered by Jamstik+. But, if you’re just looking for a MIDI controller to slip into your calloused, guitarist hands, then that price tag might not cause you quite as much deliberation.

Finally, it’s a neat little guitar that is fun to play, fun to learn and a travel buddy in the near future.

Specs

  
Dimensions 16.4 x 3.5 x 1.8
ColoursWhite, Blue and Black
Weight1 lb 9 oz
Power3.6v Lithium replaceable and rechargeable battery included
Charging RequirementsStandard USB charger (not included) 1 amp minimum charging current for optimal charging. Will not charge from hub. Slow charging from computer port.
Charging CableStandard USB A to Micro USB B cable (included)
Play time on full charge8 hours (average)
Controls5 Button D-Pad, power push button, mute switch
IndicatorsMulti-coloured LED for operation status, red/green charging status LED
SensorsPatented IR sensing method to determine finger position on fretboard. Pick detection measures intensity of picking.
Connectors2.5 MM stereo phone jack for MIDI output connection. USB IO for charging or communication to computer host
Connection methodsUSB to computer or Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity
Jamstik+ CompatibilityiOS 8.12+, iPad Mini, iPad 3 (or later), iPhone (4S or later), iPod touch (5th Gen or later), Mac OSX 10.10 (Yosemite)
CertificationsFCC, CE
ManufacturingMade in USA