Helpful Tips for Using SONAR with the jamstik+

by Mike Green May 04, 2017

Helpful Tips for Using SONAR with the jamstik+


With the recent announcement of SONAR & Windows compatibility, the opportunity for connecting Bluetooth MIDI Controllers is now available with ease using Bluetooth 4.0. Check out the video above for a full walk-through, or follow along step-by-step in the video clips below:

Navigate around the fretboard using the D-Pad

The jamstik was designed to fit in your backpack to be travel friendly, but it doesn’t mean you’re limited to a five fret note range!  The D-Pad can remap the jamstik’s MIDI note output in real time.

Remap in octave steps using the Up and Down buttons.

  • Octave Switching:  D-Pad Command UP or DOWN

Remap in chromatic steps using the Left and Right buttons.

  • Virtual Capo:  D-Pad Command LEFT or RIGHT

Reset to default range by pressing Left and Right buttons simultaneously.

  • Soft Reset:  Combo Command LEFT & RIGHT


Single Channel versus Multi-Channel

When working with virtual instruments, you may find it appears as if the jamstik+ is only working on one string, the high E. Don’t panic. Your jamstik+ isn’t broken, and neither is the virtual instrument or your device. It’s likely that the virtual instrument is only recognizing input from MIDI Channel 1.

The jamstik+ defaults to outputting MIDI on channels 1 through 6, with the High E string outputting channel 1, the B string channel 2, the G string channel 3, the D string channel 4, the A string channel 5, the the low E as channel 6. This is the most uniform protocol for guitar MIDI controllers, but some software implements MIDI input differently. Some apps treat all incoming MIDI as one input regardless of channel implementation, and some apps even recognize multi channel MIDI input to use it for multitimbral tracking or control. Being able to toggle between these two MIDI output modes on the jamstik, 6-channel and single channel, will enable the jamstik+ to control whichever protocol any app operates in.

You can also toggle the jamstik+ between 6-channel mode and single channel mode by using the D-pad. Press the Enter + Right button combo to go back and forth between the 6-channel default MIDI mode and Single Channel MIDI mode.

  • Single-Channel Toggle:  Combo Command ENTER + RIGHT


The Mute Button

The mute switch is on the face of the jamstik, just behind the bridge. Unlike a real guitar, the jamstk's strings are already acoustically muted. The Mute Button sends MIDI Note Off messages for all active MIDI notes when pressed.

The jamstik also mutes active notes in two other ways; by lifting your finger off of a fretted note, or hovering your fingers over two or more frets simultaneously.

In instances where a chord or scale is played with both fretted notes and open strings, you'll find the mute switch very helpful to silence unwanted active open notes.


Tap Mode

    The jamstik+ has a playing mode that doesn’t require picking, called Tap Mode. Tap Mode scans the fretboard for fingertip contact and ignores the pick detection completely. Tap Mode can be entered either momentarily by pressing the center Enter button on the D-pad, or UP + DOWN to Toggle Tap Mode On or Off.  For a full detailed article on Tap Mode & it’s short-cuts click HERE.

    • Tap Mode Momentary:  HOLD ENTER & Play with left hand
    • Tap Mode Toggle ON/OFF:  Combo Command UP & DOWN


    String Bend Enable

      The jamstik transmits Pitch Bend when any string is bent off of center. Sometimes it’s helpful to turn String Bend off if you find your fretting hand pulls or pushes the strings around enough that stray Pitch Bend messages are being transmitted. To toggle String Bend on or off press Enter and the Left button simultaneously.  

      • String Bend Toggle: Combo Command ENTER + LEFT


      A Few Tips For Optimizing Performance

      Bluetooth MIDI performance greatly depends on your PC’s hardware specs & software settings.  The Bluetooth refresh rate is rewarded by the operating system not by the controller, but there are some things we can do optimize the experience in software:

      Here are a few considerations when using Bluetooth MIDI:

      • Distance / Line of Sight - In our tests we found that the best performing scenarios are within line of sight of the device.  Any walls or barriers can disrupt this, so if you’re looking to record from the other room you may want to experiment with placement of your device.  
      • Preserve CPU Processing power - Especially on mobile builds, quit applications not being used.
      • Get a quality BLE Dongle if your motherboard does not support Bluetooth 4.0.  In our tests, some dongles can perform better than others - we recommend Asus Bluetooth Dongle from Amazon.

      With some of these tips and tricks, your workflow will go much quicker using SONAR & jamstik+ as your creation station.  Ah, and don’t forget that since the jamstik is a class compliant MIDI controller, all of its buttons can be customized with the MIDI Learn function available (we will save that for another blog post).  

      Stay tuned for much more from the Jamstik Team & SONAR in the upcoming weeks. If you like what you’re reading-  then please share/spread the word!  And of course, please post & share your creations on social media! Tag #Sonar #jamstik - we love to see what you are creating and we want to re-post!

      Want to stay in the loop? Join the jamstik+ Users group on Facebook to connect with Zivix employees and other users!

      Jamstik Users Facebook Group

      Happy Playing!

      Mike & The Jamstik Team

      Mike Green
      Mike Green


      Also in Jamstik Blog

      Start Making Music On Your PC with Cakewalk's SONAR Artist
      Start Making Music On Your PC with Cakewalk's SONAR Artist

      by Mike Green September 12, 2017

      Jamstik and Cakewalk have teamed up again! This time, we're bringing you the jamstik+ & Sonar Artist Bundle! Plus, our good friend Craig Anderton released custom presets for Rapture Session as a bonus download exclusively available for this bundle.

      Read More

      How to Create Your First Song in BeatHawk with the jamstik+
      How to Create Your First Song in BeatHawk with the jamstik+

      by Mike Green August 24, 2017

      BeatHawk is a music creation app created by UVI, a France-based development team that makes software for professional audio production. From the quality sound-packs, clean interface, and usability, it’s a homerun for any mobile musician.

      Read More

      Check out the new Audio FX Chain in the iOS jamstik+ App!
      Check out the new Audio FX Chain in the iOS jamstik+ App!

      by Chris Heille August 02, 2017

      In the latest version of the jamstik+ app (v 1.7.3) we’ve added an Audio FX chain with simple effects and amp models for you to play with your jamstik+. An effects chain can string together guitar-pedal and amp simulations on top of your sound.

      Read More