Jamstik

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For detailed support, please visit the Jamstik Help Center

What is the jamstik?

A MIDI guitar controller built to the specs of a real guitar. Measuring just over 16 inches long and weighing just under 2 pounds, it's lightweight & portable - yet powerful. Jamstik is designed to pair with your favorite Apple device. The jamstik has real frets and real strings that enable real musical expression. With the jamstik, you can control hundreds of MIDI music apps or software programs (and the list is growing). The patented finger-sensing technology sees your fingers and tracks all of their fine nuances to guide the teaching experience, allowing you to practice or create anywhere.

What Can I Do with the jamstik?

Are there any Compatible Apps?

Yes. The jamstik teaches guitar through the bundled jamTutor mobile app system. JamTutor allows for a fun and interactive experience as you see your finger positions on screen. The app is able to give you real-time feedback as to whether you are hitting the right or wrong notes. The skills you learn on the jamstik translate directly to a full-sized guitar. The jamstik also works with GarageBand and hundreds of other music-based MIDI apps. Click here for a list of our favorite compatible apps.

Can the jamstik be Used as a MIDI Controller?

Yes, MIDI is output on both the USB connector and by wireless WiFi. The WiFi signal that is received is put in the format of CORE-MIDI and is compatible with the wide variety of MIDI apps on iOS and PC devices.

Where Can I Purchase a jamstik?

The jamstik is currently available here on jamstik.com as well as amazon.com and select Apple® retail stores. We currently ship to the United States, Canada, the UK & the EU. Those who wish to order a jamstik and live outside of these areas can sign up for a pre-order alert for the jamstik here. When the jamstik becomes available for purchase in your country, we will send you an email to notify you where you can purchase.

Does the jamstik Support Android?

While our Zivix mobile apps (jamTutor & jamMix) are developed in cross-platform code, Android platform compatibility is driven by hardware and Android's prioritization of MIDI and audio. We love Android and our intent is to fully support Android devices with the same attention and detail we do for iOS. However the reality of devoting resources for developing on Android largely rest on the platform's ability to support MIDI and audio as a prioritized element of their core OS code.

As a MIDI device, jamstik will drive anything on Android as-is, connect it and go. The same goes for MIDI control in Windows. Jamstik is agnostic in regards to platform on its output. 

Currently, Windows support for our Zivix apps (jamTutor and jamMix) is also largely a product of hardware and OS limitations. We're working towards finding a Windows solution, but similar to the Android scenario outlined above, it's a compromised affair.

All future updates regarding Android development will be posted here.

Does the jamstik Support Left-Handed Users?

Currently we are working on solutions for left handed players, but it is a bit more complicated than just flipping strings. The strings of the jamstik are designed to sit in small cradles that allow the jamstik to detect the picking intent of the user. Through lots of testing, we feel it is optimal to create a specific left handed version of the jamstik that will require more time to develop after we have shipped the right handed version.

All future updates regarding left handed jamstik development will be posted on here.

Does the jamstik Play Like a Normal Guitar?

Yes! The jamstik uses real guitar strings and frets, so the playing feel is very authentic. String bend and picking volume add to the realistic experience.

Why Does the jamstik Only have 5 frets?

The jamstik is designed to be a mobile device that pairs with other mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPad. As such, it is meant to be portable and fit into a backpack. When learning guitar for the first time, it is important to get to know the chords that can be made in the first five frets. There are tens of thousands of songs that only use the first five frets. Within the first five frets, you can also learn movable “barre chords” that can be applied to the entire guitar neck.

Is the jamstik Limited to Just the Range of the First Five Frets?

No. The jamstik includes a four directional D-Pad that serves as an electronic "capo" that can shift the note range up and down the guitar neck and into other octaves.

How is the jamstik Different from Other Guitars and MIDI Controllers?

The technology inside the jamstik makes the device 100% digital, it does not need tuning, it has very low latency and it’s form factor allows the jamstik to go anywhere. The jamstik does not make any sounds on its own, but rather utilizes the unlimited potential of your device and the app you are running. It sends out digital codes that tell another device, such as an iPad, what notes to play. This code follows the MIDI standard.

Can a Developer Build an App to Work with or Complement the jamstik?

Absolutely! In fact, we encourage it 100%. We are confident that someone will create an app that we can’t even imagine. Our team has plans to create an SDK and be able to provide support to any serious app developer. Please contact jamstik@zivix.net if interested.

What Does the jamstik Use for Sensors?

Sometimes switch-based guitars refer to their system as using “sensors”, but these are used as switches. The jamstik uses analog sensors. This means that instead of being on and off, the jamstik can detect precise finger movement and detailed expression such as string bending and vibrato.

How Do the jamstik Sensors Work?

We have multiple patents on a method to precisely detect the position of a fingertip. It uses a small amount of infrared light that makes a fingertip glow, and receptors can then read where the fingertip is, tracking its movements.

What Happens if a String Breaks?

The strings do not need to be tuned and are just put under a realistic tension to simulate a guitar feel. The mechanical design is very durable and the strings do not flex as much as a normal guitar, so a string should not break under normal conditions. If one does break, it can be easily replaced.

Does the jamstik Need Batteries?

A rechargeable lithium battery is included inside the jamstik. This can be recharged via the USB port. USB charging block power supplies, such as the Apple charging blocks compatible with iPad and iPhone.

Does the jamstik Come with Built-in Sounds?

No, the jamstik outputs MIDI format note codes. The receiving device translates these codes into sounds. In addition to standard guitar sounds, there is a large variety of other sounds available on PC and iOS devices.

Does the jamstik have a Pickup Like on a Guitar?

No, special pick detectors are used to tell if a string has been picked. The intensity of how hard the string was picked is sent as a digital code. The jamstik is designed to be quiet when used, so the strings do not die down gradually in volume, but instead stop vibrating right away. A timer is used to keep the note active. This note-on time can be shorted by using the “palm-mute” switch that is located on the bottom of the jamstik.

For detailed support, please visit the Jamstik Help Center