August 22, 2014: Apple has begun selling a digital guitar in more than 70 stores nationwide, and will offer the guitar for sale online beginning September 9. The guitar, made by a Minnesota-based company called Zivix, has real strings and real frets, albeit on an arms-length instrument with a five-fret fingerboard. The “jamstik,” as the instrument is called, works with iPad, iPhones, and Mac computers and retails for $299.
The technology behind the jamstik uses infrared light to see where your fingers are, and offers full MIDI over Wi-Fi, so you can connect and control apps wirelessly and flawlessly. And it’s not a cheapo toy, either, but a real instrument. The guitar never needs tuning. You can bend strings, add vibrato -- pretty much do anything you would do on a full size guitar, though it’s only 15 inches long. At that size, the guitar easily fits in a carry-on bag for air travel -- or in the passenger seat of your car, where you used to let your girlfriend ride -- so you can take your guitar playing with you everywhere. Girl, don’t go away mad...
This cool digital guitar also comes with three free apps, including jamtutor, jamhero, and jammix. The jamtutor app is, as it sounds, an instructional program. As you may have guessed, jamhero looks a lot like a game you may have played before, except it actually shows you what fret and string to play, teaching you real songs as you go. And jammix allows you to start creating and recording music quickly using the jamstik.
We see why the jamstik won the Best In Show award for most innovative new product at the summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show this year. This cool new guitar product opens up whole new worlds of possibility, as it can easily be used to record your creative ideas, or to control voices for other instruments -- think guitar synth or drum machine. The jamstik can be used as a guitar, or controller, or in conjunction with GarageBand, Korg’s iPolysix, Moog’s Animoog, and many other high-level music creation tools.
The jamstik guitars are made in South Dakota, and Zivix got much of their initial funding through crowdsource site Indiegogo, so it’s a very cool American success story. Manufacturer Zivix will also begin selling the jamstik in September through Amazon -- or you can buy one right now on the company’s website.
-- Adam St. James
The jamstik Digital Guitar http://www.jamstik.com/