Honest discussion about other Midi Guitar options such as Jamstik and Fishman pickups etc

What other midi devices do people use on here? Is anybody interested in the Jamstik full midi guitar they are coming out with? I have been a Midi Guitar 2 user for about 4 or 5 years now. Trying to sell my friend on it but he wants a hardware solution. Seems like the Jamstik may have software similar to Midi Guitar 2.

The jamstik is not comparable to the MIDI Guitar app: they have a host for loading plugins, which might look familiar to our app, but the jamstik is a very different (and expensive) product.

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can you objectively explain some of the differences between said products? I assume you probably haven’t seen or played the new one that is coming out in April. Maybe this discussion has already been had.

Here is a pretty good up-to-date article that gives an overview of the state of midi guitar in 2020: https://www.musicrepo.com/guitar-midi-connection/

The major obstacle with hardware solutions is cost. The Fishman Triple Play retails for $399 US, the Roland system about $700 US while the Jamstik Studio is close to $1,000 US. The Fishman and Roland systems requires attachment to a guitar and can be temperamental to set up.

Software solutions require a computer, tablet or smart phone running a program or app.

Audio to midi conversion hardware is available but there are not many devices to chose from.


It wasn’t my intention to turn this into any kind of Jam Stik ad, but they are preordering for 699. I love MG2. That along with Aerodrums, have been the two products that have changed the way I interact music, over the past 5 years. I think for guitarists who record and score music, if there was a rock solid solid hardware solution, it would definitely be worth something in the ballpark of a grand.

I was just wanting to have an objective conversation on this topic, while understanding that MG2 is awesome. I realized that I couldn’t properly explain this to my friend outside of telling him to download the demo.

Edit: thanks for the article link. I can’t believe the Artiphon made the list as a credible option.

Paul, I am referring to the JamStik studio midi guitar not the old jam stik models who looked and by a lot of reviews were just a toy.

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I didn’t mean “not comparable” as a quality judgement. It is just a totally different thing, Jamstik is a hardware controller. I know about the different models.

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If anybody is qualified to talk on this subject, it would have to be you. At the end of the day I think most of us want to play and track midi the most efficiently, and also the lowest latency possible. MG2 works great for me.

In your mind, what are the pros and cons of hardware vs software? The new jamstik seems like it has both a hardware and a software component. I assume this has been talked about on here before, but I haven’t seen anything in quite a while.


Hardware guitarshape midi controllers with real strings have allways been a bit like fata morgana’s.
Remember the Fender Squier midi guitar for use with guitar hero? It came on the market, and vanished within a year. It was a “split fret” solution.
Keith McMIllen has also build a neck scanner, with proper modern sensing technique, but the guitar sofar did not make it to the market.

The reason for this is most likely, that once you commit yourself to make a perfect guitar midicontroller, the problems get very severe.
You’ll be wanting to measure the real frequency of the strings, and not just rely on the fretpositions that are sensed. Even such a thing like string velocity and triggering, which does seem very simple at first, is bound to cost huge efforts.
For a fullfledged professional controller you have to use the same techniques as the hexaphonic systems (sixfold velocity/trigger and frequency recognition).
So the logic carefree situation with simply sensors being pushed and midi being generated, like on would imagine at first with a fretscanner application, is actually not that feasible.
A real midi guitar hardware controller in the end becomes a boosted guitarsynth, and that in its turn means that typical quirks produced by guitarsynths are bound to be included in the product.
A neck with just buttons still gives the cleanest midi. A neck with real strings gives the best playfeel. Combinations thereof will give in between results.

EDIT: the Jamstik Studio midi guitar has NO fretscanners. See later post here in this thread.


Thank you for the detailed response, Paul. I actually had one of those Fender Mustang Squire midi guitars. It was for Rock Smith. Pretty fun, and did work to track some midi but was a toy. Seems so long ago.

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My non-technical comparison is that I’ve had a Fishman Triple Play for a number of years and it is decent. I started using MG2 on iOS and thought it was slightly better than FTP for my use. I finally bought a new laptop a few months ago and switched to MG2 on a Win10 Lenovo Yoga and this is definitely the best guitar MIDI rig that I’ve had.

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I understand your question, and totally understand why your friend would prefer a “hardware solution”. But I honestly don’t think the system your friend is looking for is available today.

As a guitarist, the first thing I value is playing a decent guitar, and Jamstik doesn’t even look like a decent uke.

The question I’ve been asking myself is: “How can I incorporate Guitar 2 into a system I’ll be confident in using live?” At the moment, I think either run it within MainStage 3 under OS X, or Ableton Live. (Then there’s the question: laptop or rack-mount , but that’s a different discussion…)

Maybe in the future, Jam Origin technology with be built into something like a Line6 multi-effects unit. Until then Roland probably has the best alternative, but I’m sure you already know what the limitations are.

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thanks for the comment

I was talking about the new Jam Stik coming out which is a full guitar.

Thanks for the heads up. I took a look and it seems like a nice piece of kit, but I’m not sure where it gets anyone. According to the prerelease spec, you still need a PC or a Mac, and you also need $639. The JamOrigin solution lets me use any guitar I choose and it tracks really well.

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something I just learned:
Jamstik’s Studio MIDI guitar has no fretscanner: it only uses a hexaphonic pickup to translate the string audio to midi.
This is a bit confusing ofcourse, you can only find this info deeper in their FAQ’s. All previous Jamstiks where the fret switching type.
The guitar is based on an ALP Leaf travel guitar, and build by ALP. This is actually a good thing, to have experienced builders build your guitar. It will be interesting to see how the quality holds up.

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Thanks for the comment Paul. I am going to watch closely once they start shipping and people can leave honest reviews.

The Alp Guitar website mentions their association with Jamstick under the fourth photograph on +++ this +++ webpage. Alp’s association with Jamstick is also mentioned on +++ the homepage +++ of Alp America.

I was not familiar with Alp Guitars but their guitar products are both unique and have an impressive amount of engineering to them.

Yes. And for my money (as someone who has spent quite a bit of it on GR50 (never really worked), Fishman Tripleplay (very good but generally attached to the guitar that I’m not holding right now), and MG2), MG2 gives, for me, the best experience in terms of playing it and the results that end up in the DAW with regards to timing, note recognition and time spent post-record editing. I’d not use any midi guitar device live, but if I had to use one of the three it would be MG.
I think that a really well set up Fishman would compete with MG but the MG2 is in a different space entirely because you can tweak the eq and dynamics after the fact to improve recognition, or indeed take a part that you had no intention of turning into midi, and turn it into midi. It therefore becomes a natural part of a workflow.
I’ve sold my GR50 and if anyone would like a TriplePlay we could discuss that.

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seems like it may be something to at least look at.

about honest comparing here: I see people here referring to the original jamstik, the short toyish midi controller. This is not comparable: Jamstik however have produced a new product on the basis or a real guitar, with a hex pickup, the “Jamstik Studio MIDI Guitar”
So we’re basically only talking about real guitar solutions here.

The list is in arbitrary order:

  • JamOrigin MIDI Guitar 2
  • Fishman Tripleplay ( Connect ) – the wireless version and the Connect have the same converter.
  • Jamstik Studio MIDI Guitar See https://studiomidiguitar.com
  • Roland/Boss. (did they improve anything since GR55 for midiconversion?)

For reference I have 6 monophonic MG’s running in a host here, fed by GK pickups (thanks Roland ;). It is rather fresh in the making still, but I allready suspect it to be the best overall performing system. (overall performance is not just latency ofcourse: it is how well it makes music and connects you to the synth instruments)
It might be interesting for people owning a Boss GP10. I’ll make another thread about this as soon as I have more data and examples.

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