Los Angeles, CA (FOX11) - So, you have a child who wants to learn to play the guitar but maybe you don’t have the ability to get the young would-be musician to music lessons and can’t afford the monthly expense of private, in-home instruction. What is a parent to do? Well, the folks at Jamstik may have just the thing for you. The Jamstik+ is a bluetooth enabled smart guitar with real strings and frets that works with iOS and OSX and promises to teach you to play the guitar through interactive apps and lessons. Can it deliver on that promise? I put it to the test or, rather, had my son do so.
“The first time I downloaded the Jamstik app, I thought, what did I sign up for? The Jamstik looked humorous and I was baffled as to how I would be able to play guitar. The instructions were difficult to find but when I finally found them the app was difficult to use. The biggest problem I had was connecting my jamstik to my second generation Ipad, so I had to use a newer generation Ipad mini. So I messed around with “jamstik mix” to see what it was and why I needed it. It seemed primarily useful for when you understood guitar well and wanted to make your own songs."
You can watch how the Tutor app works in the video here:
"The apps that primarily taught me guitar were Jam Tutor and Jam Tutor 2. They are phenomenal apps to teach guitar! They do have bugs like when the video plays in the top right corner sometimes it would stay black or when replaying lessons it wouldn’t mark what you did right or wrong. Challenges allowed you to put what you’ve learned so far to the test whereas Arcade was more of a practice of songs ranging from very easy to increasingly difficult. Open Play was a freestyle mode that allowed you to freestyle what you’ve learned. Finally, Four Chords wasn’t used as much as Tutor. Four Chords was learning how to play modern songs on guitar, but I was more interested in learning the foundation, the fundamentals of playing the guitar. It seems Four Chords is more used for learning main stream songs directly. You still will learn the notes and what they do, the sound they make, but mainly for learning complete songs.
My favorite part of the app was Arcade, it allowed you to play songs and score points. There’s something about getting points for getting the right chord that made me want to play more.”
And that was my son’s experience. He’s 16 and quite the bright young man so I provided minimal assistance in setting up the guitar for him or helping him when he ran into any challenges with use of the product. My goal for this review was to see just how easy it was for a child to get started using the Jamstik+ with minimal adult supervision. Of course, I think that being involved with your child as they learn an instrument is integral to their success but I also understand that some parents may be in a situation where they have a young, eager learner but may not have the time to be as present as they’d like. From my experience using the Jamstik+ with my son, I think parents in both situations will find that the device meets their need and the need of their would-be child musician.
Would I spend my money on a product like this? If I felt my son was very serious about learning the guitar, yes. In my opinion, nothing replaces lessons from an in-person guitar teacher, but for those young ones who are self-starters and motivated, Jamstik+ may be all they need. Some people need a structured classroom, some can do it all via an interactive or web based instruction. If you or your child are the latter, give Jamstik+ a try.