Review: JamStik+ Electric Guitar

Zivix let me try its upgraded JamStik+ ($299.99)I reviewed the previous generation  back in January (JamStik without the "+" sign), and it is still available on the Zivix website, for $100 less than the new model. The JamStik and JamStik+ are ukelele-sized wireless electric guitars that connect to an iPhone, iPad, or Mac and act like a MIDI music source. With the right apps—from Zivix, Apple, and others—you can sound like a variety of instruments. JamStik offers several free apps including tools to help you learn how to play the guitar. You can see where to put your fingers on the frets, and get visual feedback in real-time.

JamStik game mode

So what do you get for the extra cash needed to buy the new model? One great reason to upgrade is the Bluetooth connectivity. Dropping Wi-Fi and using BT 4.0 LE (Low Energy) has numerous benefits. First and foremost, setup is a breeze compared to the Wi-Fi option. Before, you had to disconnect your iOS device from your Wi-Fi network and attach it to the JamStik's private network. Now, Bluetooth just works. You connect to the JamStik+ and go. Also, because it uses Bluetooth Low Energy the battery life should be much better. You don't want to be performing a gig and find you're out of juice. Having to plug in to power defeats the purpose of being wireless in the first place.

JamStiks

I liked that the JamStik+ is available in black, white, and blue and is extremely portable. Imagine carrying an electric guitar and an amplifier on a plane, train, or bus. Instead, throw the JamStik+ in your backpack, along with your MacBook, iPad, or just your iPhone and you're good to go. I also liked that there is no perceptible latency.  The new magnetic pickup in the JamStik+ improves pick detection to the level of an electric guitar better than before. That means the time from when you strum your chord to when you hear the music is negligible... instantaneous. That could get frustrating otherwise. It's great that the JamStik+ works with all Apple gear not just the iPhone and it is compatible with third party apps like GarageBand (technically a "first" party app since it's from Apple! 

Pros

  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE for low power consumption
  • Extremely portable
  • No latency with new Magnetic Pickup
  • Works with iPhone, iPad, Mac
  • Works with JamStik apps and third party apps

Cons

  • Expensive but on sale

Final Verdict

The JamStik+ is not cheap, but it can offer a lot more than an expensive electric guitar.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Topics

Author Details

Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.