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Hands-on: JamStik miniature wireless electric guitar for iPad, iPhone & Mac

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
The JamStik is an upcoming wireless accessory for both iOS and Mac that will allow users to learn and practice guitar on the go, without the need to carry around a bulky full-size instrument. AppleInsider got an opportunity to take a first look at the unique new accessory at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday.

JamStik


Chris Heille, music product specialist with JamStik maker Zivix, said the the company's miniature electric guitar is scheduled to ship in March and retail for $299.99. The device uses both infrared and piezo sensors to detect fretting, strumming and picking while users play.

By featuring real strings that can be pressed, strummed and bent, the JamStik aims to offer users an authentic guitar feel, while still providing a compact and portable design. The accessory is a network MIDI controller that will work with iPhone and iPad, as well as Mac, meaning it will sport out-of-the-box compatibility with existing music applications, such as Apple's own GarageBand.

JamStik


The accessory will work with at least two applications on the iOS App Store, dubbed JamMix and JamTutor.

The tutoring application will provide users with guitar lessons, covering everything from individual strings and notes to chords. The application will also include song tablature, and a "Guitar Hero" style learning mode is also available.

JamStik


The JamMix application is a "hybrid DJ-guitar instant gratification music app," Heille said. Users can trigger loops by playing specific string notes, and then perform solos over those looped notes.

Zivix's founder, Dan Sullivan, has been working to digitize a number of music instruments over the years. The initial concept for a digital guitar started with a full 21-fret design, but the company eventually realized that taking full advantage of digital capabilities and making a smaller connected device would help the JamStik stand out.

JamStik


The shipping product will measure just 15 inches long with built-in wireless connectivity and rechargeable battery, and no tuning of the strings is required. It also has a D-Pad virtual capo for octave switching.

Retail partners for the JamStik have not yet been announced, but the device can be preordered from the official website for $299.99 ahead of its scheduled March launch.

JamStik
post #2 of 24

OMG!!!! AMAZING!!!  My super genius friend built this!  Its so cool!  I want him to make a 4 string uke version!  I am so proud of him!

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post #3 of 24
Go buy an actual electric guitar. Pawn shops runneth over with high end gear for dirt.
post #4 of 24
This is exactly what I've been waiting for, believe it or not.

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post #5 of 24

Please.....no Stairway to Heaven.

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Go buy an actual electric guitar. Pawn shops runneth over with high end gear for dirt.

 

Why? Too big, require tuning, aren't MIDI devices... there are a host of negatives. On the other hand, this device can access the hundreds of MIDI instruments or SoundFonts on both iOS and desktop versions of GarageBand and many other apps. I'm getting one. And just to be clear, I have no affiliation with this company. I just found out about them here.


Edited by SpamSandwich - 1/8/14 at 1:22pm

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post #7 of 24
Brown cow chicken brown cow
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post #8 of 24
If you are seriously thinking of a MIDI guitar, either spend a bit more and get a real one, or get the $50 Rock Band 3 Wireless Fender Mustang PRO-Guitar Controller. It%u2019s got a MIDI port and works well enough.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post
 

Please.....no Stairway to Heaven.

 

If he can play the lead in "Get Back" by The Beatles, I'm in! :)

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Go buy an actual electric guitar. Pawn shops runneth over with high end gear for dirt.

Yep. Probably one of the hardest instruments to learn to play well! 

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

 

Why? Too big, require tuning, aren't MIDI devices... there are a host of negatives. On the other hand, this device can access the hundreds of MIDI instruments or SoundFonts on both iOS and desktop versions of GarageBand and many other apps. I'm getting one.

Don't forget cables, cables, cables! Aggggggggggggggggggggggggggggh! I hate cables! :)

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpacePenguinBot View Post

If you are seriously thinking of a MIDI guitar, either spend a bit more and get a real one, or get the $50 Rock Band 3 Wireless Fender Mustang PRO-Guitar Controller. It%u2019s got a MIDI port and works well enough.

 



Thanks for the info, I've been looking for an old Casio digital guitar but they aren't cheap.
post #13 of 24

Nod to the creator for ingenuity, but how can you say you're teaching someone to play the guitar on a device only 15" long?  Learning to adapt hand position while it's way up at the top of the neck (near the headstock) is a huge part of learning.  Could've also used a few more frets to include training for hand movement.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Creep View Post
 

Nod to the creator for ingenuity, but how can you say you're teaching someone to play the guitar on a device only 15" long?  Learning to adapt hand position while it's way up at the top of the neck (near the headstock) is a huge part of learning.  Could've also used a few more frets to include training for hand movement.

 

Maybe so, but I happen to like the fact that it's very compact. If there was such a thing as a compact full-size MIDI guitar (that used real strings), I'd consider it.

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post #15 of 24
Become a virtuoso cowboy chord player.1tongue.gif
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

 

Maybe so, but I happen to like the fact that it's very compact. If there was such a thing as a compact full-size MIDI guitar (that used real strings), I'd consider it.

Me too.  I was definitely not trying to crap on the effort...just looking at it as a guitarist.  I forgot that the target market for this is aspiring guitarists. ;)

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Creep View Post

Nod to the creator for ingenuity, but how can you say you're teaching someone to play the guitar on a device only 15" long?  Learning to adapt hand position while it's way up at the top of the neck (near the headstock) is a huge part of learning.  Could've also used a few more frets to include training for hand movement.

I don't think this is meant to replace a full size guitar but to give one the ability to practice on the go and don't have a normal guitar with them.
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

If he can play the lead in "Get Back" by The Beatles, I'm in! 1smile.gif

Not enough frets. This is good only for learning to play chords right at the end of the neck. Plus, for $300 you can get a decent used instrument. There are so many ways to play a specifically fingered chord, to get a certain effect, and this is unlikely to duplicate those effects.

If I had $300 to blow, I'd rather spend it on a Line 6 Spider IV 75 75-watt 1x12 Modeling Guitar Amplifier.
post #19 of 24
Besides the price, this is awesome. I love seeing new stuff in the music field! I can see many uses for this, including coffee shop musicians who don't need to carry clunky gear for their brand of songs. And of course, people wanting to learn will get all the basics. This could definitely start a cool trend. Hopefully the price comes down a little bit.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


I don't think this is meant to replace a full size guitar but to give one the ability to practice on the go and don't have a normal guitar with them.

This is squarely in the "teaching tools" product segment.  You couldn't use this for any sort of meaningful practice outside of chord shaping.

post #21 of 24
I'm pretty sure this clever bit of tech and real guitars can in fact co-exist.
post #22 of 24
Do you have to tune this thing or does the ios device derive a frequency based on position/string

Bending makes me think it has pickups
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post #23 of 24

As a "practice" device on-the-go, this is very interesting. It reminds me of the Martin Backpacker. It's meant to be compact for easy travel. But it hooks up to an iPhone or iPad (or Mac) wirelessly. No lugging a guitar, no cables or amps, and not only can you use it with Garage Band, but it appears that you can use it with a practicing app like AnyTune Pro+ (!!!). An initially high $299 as an MSRP I can maybe understand. But it may be worth up to $199 if it's of decent quality and lives up to it's intentions/potential.

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugbug View Post

Do you have to tune this thing or does the ios device derive a frequency based on position/string

Bending makes me think it has pickups

 

Looks like no tuning would be required since the strings are only used to provide data to the sensors.

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