jamstik Smart Guitar Review

jamstik jamstik Smart Guitar for iOS – $259 (by Zivix)

PROS: good learning tool.
CONS: limited sounds from app, tracking is lacking (with the app), no Android support.

MIDI and guitars don’t often mix well; jamstik has a way of blending the essentials of synth and guitar, in a small, mobile package.

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Design wise, it looks like an ’80s headless Steinberger guitar had a baby with a ukulele. The strings are real guitar strings, and the 5-fret neck is comfortable. It’s quite minimalist, with just a 5-button interface and power switch. A USB connection charges the unit’s lithium ion battery, and also provides connection for the unit to be used as a MIDI controller.

There is free app for iOS devices that connect the jamstik to an iPad/iPhone via Wi-Fi. The app can control things like assigning the buttons, tunings, string sensitivity and response. The banks of sounds in the app are limited, but can cover stringed instruments as piano, harp, banjo, sitar, drum and synth sounds. With the “open play” function, the jamstik is a great learning tool, displaying chords and scales, and can also give names to whatever weird chord voicing that can be played. While only five frets are limited, there is also a transpose function, allow tuning variations, to cover the guitar’s normal ranges and alternate tunings.

Playing it isn’t that hard, while connected to a computer and tracking via a USB cable, it works great – for some players (shredders, I’m looking at you) there might be some slight latency and tracking issues, but if your name is Yngwie, it should be fine. However, using it to connect to an iOS device via Wi-Fi can cause a bit of latency and drag that makes the app more of a learning tool than a performance/recording application in this setting.

For someone looking for an inexpensive guitar-ish controller, this can fit the bill very well. Even with the slight latency using it with the iOS app, it can be a fun learning/teaching tool.

Turn your iPad, iPhone or Mac in to a real musical instrument
Learn to Play Guitar with the Bundled JamTutor app
Real Strings, Real Frets, Real Picking
No tuning required
Connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi

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