If you’re thinking of taking up the guitar and the prospect of picking through the multitudes of options, taking up classes, or trying to go it alone on Youtube doesn’t instill much confidence, then Zivik’s Jamstik Guitar Trainer might be just what you need. It might also fit the bill if you are a budding composer and want a musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) controller that’s compact and travels well. We took the device for a spin to see if it would turn us into the next Hendrix.
The Jamstik Guitar Trainer is a lightweight, portable device that aims to make learning the guitar easier for the newbie learner or anyone whose skill set is more PS4 than PRS. Coming in at around 18 inches long, it is more just the neck than an actual full guitar, which immediately gives it a more Guitar Hero than guitar God look. So you won’t be getting the full guitar experience on the outset, but to some, that might be a more enviable way to learn the basics. The Jamstik comes with spring-loaded steel strings, a matte finish, and a carrying strap that gives you almost the full guitar experience. The steel strings get you accustomed to the real feeling of strumming and picking as well as feeling the chords under your fingertips without the chore of having to tune them. So while it might not look or sound like a real guitar, what is left is more than enough to get the itch for the real thing in your hand.
To further reinforce it isn’t a real guitar, there won’t be any sounds being produced by the unit unless you plug it into a device or its companion app via Bluetooth. Once plugged in, a world of opportunity opens up to you, and this is where the value of Jamstik takes form. The neck features Infrasense Optical String Pickups and FretTouch Finger Sensing Technology that shows up on the screen of whatever device you are currently using, showing you where your fingers are positioned as playing the sound. This makes it easier to learn correct finger placement, especially if you are a visual learner. It is also intuitive, so it learns by analyzing this data and can offer constructive criticism on obtaining your goals. There are also a wealth of lessons, workouts, and games that all endeavor to make the learning experience enjoyable, including a game of teaching you chords and notes that isn’t too far off of Guitar Hero.
For guitar players who just want something to use on the road to create ideas or songwriters who are more comfortable using a guitar over other instruments, the Jamstik Trainer doubles as a MIDI device. Plug it into the music software you desire and create guitar or a library of other sounds to create your musical masterpieces.
The Jamstik Guitar Trainer is a versatile device that tears down some of the high fences that keep people from even attempting to learn the guitar. No need to wander around trying to find a guitar to play or what’s the best one to start with. The gamification of the learning process gives you a path to learn, goals, and feedback, making it entertaining and educational. And the impressive ability of it as a MIDI device sets it up to be useful if you continue your guitar journey into songwriting.