FAQ

WHAT IS THE JAMSTIK?

A portable, digital guitar controller built to the specs of a real guitar. It's an app-enhanced product that uses special technology to sense finger placement and teach you right from wrong, instantly.

I'VE BOUGHT A JAMSTIK AND NEED HELP!

For detailed support, please visit the jamstik Help Center

I'VE NEVER PLAYED GUITAR, HOW EXACTLY WILL IT TEACH ME?

The jamstik+ comes with apps that will teach you how to play. Even if you've never played before, you can get started with the jamstik+. It's just a matter of matching in-app cues and following along with the interactive lessons.

jamstik+ finger display gif
I'M ALREADY A GUITAR PLAYER, WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?

The jamstik+ makes it easy to record or play guitar with any sound right into your favorite music apps or DAWs on iPad, iPhone, and Mac. The portable size means you can take it anywhere. We have plenty of customers that travel with it, use it to record songs, and even some that play it on stage. Learn more about how the jamstik is used for advanced players here.

HOW DO I CONNECT THE JAMSTIK?

The jamstik+ connects via Bluetooth MIDI (wireless for 8+ hours) or USB cable. The first gen jamstik connects via Wi-Fi. Simply power on your jamstik+ and the device you'd like to pair it with, open up the official jamstik+ app, and press connect. You will be paired wirelessly over Bluetooth SMART in moments. The original jamstik uses WiFi to pair. Please check out our support help center for additional resources on getting connected.

WHERE CAN I PURCHASE A JAMSTIK?

The jamstik is currently available here on jamstik.comamazon.com, bestbuy.com, brookstone.comtarget.com, walmart.com, reverb.com, apple.com and select Apple® retail stores. You can also typically find refurbished units available in our official eBay store. We currently ship worldwide, but if you do not see your country listed, please email support@zivix.net!

HOW BIG IS THE JAMSTIK+?

It's just over 16 inches long and weighs just under 2 pounds. Small enough to fit in your carry-on or backpack, but solidly built with a good heft to it.

jamstik+ length & width
WHAT CAN I DO WITH THE JAMSTIK?

Learn the fundamentals of guitar playing and beyond. You can practice guitar quite literally anywhere your mobile device can go. Experienced guitarists will find it’s a great tool for getting song ideas out on-the-go and recording MIDI with minimal fuss.

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! The jamstik+ is a fast and versatile MIDI controller compatible with hundreds of apps, so you can create virtually any sound you wish. You can build and record an entire song, from drums and keys to guitar and bass with just the jamstik+. MIDI is output on both the USB connector and by wireless Bluetooth (+ model) or WiFi. The Bluetooth/WiFi signal that is received is put in the format of CORE-MIDI and is compatible with the wide variety of MIDI apps and DAWs on iOS and PC devices.

DOES THE JAMSTIK SUPPORT ANDROID?

Update: April 4, 2016 - Good News! The release of Android M (Marshmallow) opens up new possibilities for BLE support which were not previously available.  Zivix has just launched jamstik+ and jamTutor 1 for Android on the Google Play Store and announced support for select devices. For more information, please visit the Android page.

As a MIDI device, jamstik will drive anything on Android as-is, connect it and go. The same goes for MIDI control in Windows with the USB cable. Jamstik is agnostic in regards to platform on its output. We're also working towards finding a Windows solution, but similar to the Android scenario outlined above, it's a compromised affair.

DOES THE JAMSTIK SUPPORT LEFT-HANDED USERS?

The new jamstik+ is available in left-handed here.  They will be functional with GarageBand, and other MIDI apps as you would expect. They will also work with our jamTutor and jamstik+ apps, however the fretboard will be displayed in reverse at this time until we are able to update it.

These are now shipping.  Unfortunately the original WiFi model does not support left-handed play. *Please Note - Because we use the same mold for left handed use, the D-Pad and power buttons will be on the bottom side of the jamstik+ while playing.  We will be shipping after-market strap buttons so the strap fits better, but please consider this before buying the left-handed model.

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.

CAN THE JAMSTIK BE USE FOR MUSIC EDUCATION?

Yes! The jamstik is a great classroom tool for guitar and general music teachers...even if you've never played guitar yourself! We believe whole-heartedly in the value of music education and are working to bring the jamstik guitar learning curriculum to schools worldwide. Learn more about our music education efforts here.

HOW DOES THE COST OF A JAMSTIK COMPARE TO BUYING A TRADITIONAL GUITAR AND TAKING LESSONS?

Guitar instructors and classes vary, but you can expect an average guitar lesson to cost between $25-$45 per class. Between our jamTutor 1 and 2 apps, we cover what could be considered your first 10 guitar lessons. (Not to mention, the hours of self-directed practice within the jamstik+ chord library and FourChords Guitar Karaoke app.)

When you purchase the jamstik+, you're investing in a complete, interactive guitar learning system. We definitely appreciate real guitars, and we encourage our first-time learners to progress to a full-sized guitar eventually. However, the jamstik+ has some unique advantages over traditional lessons. It's a great tool for practicing privately with headphones on your own schedule, it's portable enough to bring around in a backpack, and because the jamstik is a full digital MIDI controller, it's also a fun way to experiment playing different sounds and recording music with compatible apps like GarageBand. 

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 by ordering a replacement set.

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. Battery life is tested at 8+ hours of playtime.

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. The official jamstik+ app includes over 15 sounds out of the box.

DOES THE JAMSTIK HAVE A PICKUP LIKE ON A GUITAR?

Yep, the jamstik+ uses a special magnetic pickup that picks up string vibration data and translates it into MIDI note velocities. It's hexaphonic, which means each individual string gets processed in isolation.

The original jamstik does not have a pickup, but uses 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.

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