Monday, September 22, 2014

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JamStik Strums Up New Way To Learn Guitar

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TWC News: JamStik Strums Up New Way To Learn Guitar
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For both aspiring and established guitarists, JamStik gives users the opportunity to learn and hone their skills virtually from any location. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.

What has five frets, six strings and serves as a new way to teach users how to play guitar anywhere from a crowded subway to your bed?

The answer is the JamStik.

"What JamStik does differently than a lot of interactive guitar systems that are out there is that we're actually not using the sound of the strings," says Chris Heille of Zivix. "We actually use light to see your fingers. The way it works is there's a network of infrared emitters and sensors under this IR-transparent acrylic fretboard. So, when we play something, JamStik actually sees that information. It sees your fingers playing the strings and it determines what the note and position that you're playing is, often times even before your right hand even picks it. Then, we're able to send that information wirelessly via MIDI into your device. With our app, JamTutor, we're able to preemptively reposition your hand - you know, 'nope not there, but here.'"

If you already know how to play, JamStik works with any iOS core MIDI apps, such as Garageband.

With the touch of a button, you can also change which five frets on the JamStik these represent on a real guitar.

Another advantage of this system is that guitarists can now use their JamStik to virtually play other instruments, something keyboard players have been doing for years.

Others have tried to create this system, but it has been tough because of the processing power needed and the delay of other systems that have to hear the string to understand what you're playing.

"Because we're not dealing with audio analysis – we're working with light and we're actually working more with a 'when does that string actually get hit', we're not listening for it, we just want to know when did that get struck – our latency times are much, much, much less," says Heill.

JamStik will be out by this holiday season for around $300 and will work, initially, with iOS devices.

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