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Musicians! Why Don’t You Tune Up your JamStik?

The JamStik electronic smart guitar turns an iOS device into an amp and recording studio. But, who should pluck it?

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

I couldn’t play the guitar before I tested out a JamStik. I can’t play guitar after I tested out a JamStik. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a useful tool for professional musicians using mixing software to compose or students looking for a digital music tutor.

The JamStik ($199) is a wifi-capable “smart guitar” that connects to iOS smartphones and tablets or computers. Once linked into a network and connected to composing or mixing software like Garageband or Avid Protools, the JamStik allows a composer to play the guitar directly into the digital recording.

Free apps downloaded from iTunes allow the user to play live via the iOS device. A small amp or speaker plugged into the audio jack is recommended. 

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Those apps can also aid in teaching would-be guitar players, allowing them to practice chords with visual guides The JamStik probably can’t make a full-on guitar player out of the user, but it can definitely serve as a positive teaching tool. Its strumming feels like a larger electric guitar, and it’s difficult at times to sustain a note — but that might correct itself with more practice.

The device’s name leaves a little something to be desired, considering that mentioning the product in mixed company made a few folks giggle. The moniker lends itself to images of dirty neon storefronts with black-painted windows.

That picky criticism aside, the JamStik charges quickly, links up via wifi easily and plays for hours. It does exactly as advertised and can fill-in as a serviceable digital recording instrument.