Learning how to play an instrument is one of the many goals that parents set up for their children, even at a fragile age.
A lot of other people argue that children should be left alone to pursue their own passions and dreams, until they find something they like and are good at.
However, playing a musical instrument has a lot more benefits that you can imagine, so before giving you some really awesome alternatives to a digital guitar, we’re going to show you why instruments are the next best thing.
Before diving into some of the best Jamstik alternatives, we wanted to briefly go over what this gizmo actually does. The Jamstik is an instrument, a smart guitar if you will, that connects to different devices, and basically mimics the functions of the old-fashioned guitar.
Bottom Line Up Front: Here’s my quick take on the top alternatives to Jamstik…
- Artiphon Multi (Shop GuitarCenter)- Best Overall Jamstik Alternative
- Fusion Guitar (Shop Reverb) – Best Upscale Alternative
- Fred Zealot (Shop GuitarCenter / Amazon) – Best for Learning to Play
- Jammy Portable Digital Guitar – Runner-up
- Suzuki QC1 Q (Shop Amazon / MusiciansFriend)- Best Budget Alternative
1. Best Overall: Artiphon Multi-Instrument MIDI Controller
The Artiphon is a device very similar to the Jamstik, in both functionality and looks. You can purchase the black or the white version, both of them being super elegant.
With the Artiphon, you can learn how to play not just guitar, but also drum pads, violin, and more. Voted as the number one instrument on Kickstarter, this MIDI controller is light and portable, ready to go wherever you go.
It has a battery life of about six hours, and can easily be connected to your Mac with the designated cable. You can use the controlled with the two integrated speakers, but can also jam silently thanks to the jack that allows headphone connectivity.
Learning how to use is pretty intuitive, and you can start enjoying it straight out of the box. Thanks to the USB cable that’s included in the package, you can connect the instrument to your Windows laptop or desktop and start using your favorite apps.
Who Should Purchase This?
The Artiphon is probably the best Jamstik alternative on the market. The number of features comes really close, which means it’s the perfect product for people that want to try something as similar to the original as possible.
- Excellent form and feel
- Available in black and white
- Six hours of battery life.
- Compatible with Mac and Windows devices
- Headphones jack
- Stereo speakers
- Limited battery life notification
|Product Weight||14.4 ounces|
|Product Dimensions||23.5 x 3.2 x 2.1 inches|
|Compatible With||Mac & Windows devices|
2. Best High-End: Fusion Guitar
Get the world’s most advanced electric guitar. Fully integrated iOS, 20 watt amp and speaker with dual humbuckers and full scale neck and fingerboard. With integrated amp, speakers, battery and iPhone dock, the Fusion is redefining what an electric guitar is, and what it can do.
The Fusion guitar is basically the perfect blend between a Jamstik and the old-fashioned guitar. Because of its design and feel, it can perfectly replace a regular guitar, but the technology it integrates turns it into a smart device.
It has a pair of high-quality built-in speakers that are paired with a high-frequency tweeter. The battery integrated inside the device is rechargeable and guarantees a play time that varies between three to six hours. The full-scale neck is perfect for those who are used to the size of an actual guitar.
Who Should Purchase This?
Everything about this guitar is top notch and would fall better into the hands of guitar connoisseurs. The spicy price tag also recommends it for professionals, as newbies will have a more difficult time learning how to fully take advantage of all the features.
Fusion Guitar Pros
- Comes with Apple Certified Lightning connector
- Tymphany Peerless high-quality speakers
- Rechargeable battery
- Perfect for professionals
- Full-scale fingerboard & neck
Fusion Guitar Cons
- Really expensive
|Product Weight||8.9 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||33 x 11.4 x 3.2 inches|
|Compatible With||iPod touch 5th generation, iPod touch 6th generation, iPhones 5 to 8 Plus (iPhone 5C excluded)|
3. Best Learning: Fret Zealot LED Guitar Learning Accessory
Fret Zealot is a state-of-the-art LED addition to your guitar and is your gateway to learning anything. It fits just above the frets and shows you exactly where to put your fingers to play anything you can imagine… in any color!
The beauty of the Jamstik is that it allows people to learn how to play the guitar with the help of technology, easing the process up to a point where all you really need are some video tutorials. The Fret Zealot may be just an accessory, but the premise stays the same: you can learn how to jam all by yourself.
It’s a piece that goes on electrical and acoustic guitars with scale lengths that vary between 24.74 to 25.5 inches, although 24.75 is actually the best fit. Because it integrates colorful LEDs, it’s very easy to learn exactly where to place your finger. The video lessons available will guide you through the process of learning your favorite tunes.
It features more than 35,000 songs, plus 10,000 chords available. The listening mode will teach you how to get each note right before allowing you to move further with your learning process.
What’s even better is that the Fret Zealot comes with a bunch of accessories that range from guitar picks, stickers, and even a cell phone stand. You now have a complete tool to get you started on learning the notes to your favorite songs.
Who Should Purchase This?
The Fret Zealot is a great alternative to the Jamstik, ideal for everyone who wants to learn how to play the guitar with as little stress and as fast as possible.
Fret Zealot Pros
- Packed with accessories
- Easy to learn
- Features more than 35,000 songs
- Comes with 10,000 chords
- Video lessons available
- Fits most brand full-sized guitars
Fret Zealot Cons
- Requires an actual guitar to work
|Product Weight||3.52 ounces|
|Product Dimensions||11.4 x 1.2 x 0 inches|
|Compatible With||Full-sized standard electric & acoustic guitars|
4. Runner Up: Jammy Portable Digital Guitar
There are a lot of features that are going to make you fall in the love with the Jammy, a more portable and digital version of a regular guitar.
The strings are made from real steel, and have adjustable tension to best match your jamming style. The ¼ and ⅛ inch audio jacks provide more connectivity options compared to other devices that normally have just one of these two types of jacks integrated.
The device can easily be disassembled and will measure only 17 inches in length once taken apart. You can connect the Jammy with your smartphone or tablet, but can also use it without any form of connectivity. The auto-record feature is very useful for both beginners and pros, to make sure no one misses a single tune.
Who Should Purchase This?
The Jammy is a portable MIDI guitar that doubles as a controller. If you want something that comes close to the Jamstik, the Jammy might be the perfect product. The product is currently available for pre-order and will be available from shipment within the next 30 days.
Jammy Digital Guitar Pros
- Auto-recording feature
- Detachable frame
- ¼ and ⅛ inch audio jack compatibility
- Doubles as a MIDI controller
- Made with real steel strings
Jammy Digital Guitar Cons
- Not launched yet (available for pre-order)
|Compatible With||iOS app|
5. Best Budget: Suzuki QC1 Q Chord Digital Sound Guitar
Going briefly through the features of the Suzuki QC1 Q is almost impossible, as there are so many cool aspects that we’re tempted to discuss, but don’t want to get into a lot of technical details.
However, one of the first things you should know about this digital guitar is that it was created in such a way as you help you pick up where you left off. It doesn’t matter if this is the first time you’re practicing music, or whether you’ve done this before: it has all the tools you need.
There are two ways to operate the Suzuki QC1 Q. You can either install the 8 C batteries that are included in the package, or you can use the AC adapter that’s shipped together with the product.
You can start off with a demo song, and use the Strumplate to join the rhythm. There are tons of techniques you can master, but truth of the matter is, it’s going to take a while before you fully learn how to use all the features of this digital guitar.
Who Should Purchase This?
Whether this is your first attempt at learning how to play a guitar, or you’ve had your fair share of jamming sessions, the Suzuki QC1 Q Chord Digital Sound Guitar could be a perfect product to take your musical experience to the next level.
Suzuki QC1 Q Pros
- Works with batteries or the AC adapter
- Batteries included in the package
- Cool design
- Great for all skill levels
Suzuki QC1 Cons
- Lacks the old-fashioned strings (which most musicians love to feel)
Benefits of Playing an Instrument
There are endless quotes about how music is food for the soul, how it released your thoughts, sends your spirit adrift, and whatnot. But being able to play your own music, there are few things that can equal that feeling. So, what are some other benefits (aside from the fact that you’ll be really awesome?)
Increases Your Focus
Being able to play an instrument requires a lot of concentration, at least until the skill is fully implemented in your system. People that have been playing the piano for years can press the keys with their eyes closed, but in the beginning, they were tremendously focused on getting everything right.
Helps You Unwind
Aside from being relaxing, each time you play an instrument, you are invested completely in that particular activity. This way, you can forget about the day-to-day problems, and spend time doing something you really like.
Makes You More Disciplined
Playing an instrument is basically a similar process as learning a new skill or developing a new habit. It can be a challenging process, mostly because it takes discipline if you want to achieve performance. If you want to be really good at playing an instrument, you will need a practice schedule, and implementing such a schedule requires great self-discipline.
Even more, as you learn to play an instrument, you will learn how to care for it, to maintain it in tip-top shape. This further increases discipline, as you will learn how to be responsible with the instruments that you use.
Improves Your Social Skills
There are many ways in which playing an instrument can improve your social skills and the relationships you have with other people.
First of all, if you play alongside friends, or are part of a band, you will develop team skills. This way, you can improve the way you communicate, learn to share ideas, as well as listen to the opinions of others. If you ever perform in front of a crowd, you will get rid of any stage fright, and learn to accept criticism, as well as praise.
Music is one of the best conversation starters. Whether you’re looking to integrate at school, in a new work environment, or you’re invited to a party where you barely know anyone, your music skills, and knowledge can help you break the ice and integrate faster into that particular group.
Boosts Your Emotional Intelligence
As cheesy as it may sound, playing an instrument has a lot of emotional benefits, and can actually expand your horizon and help you understand more about yourself and the people you interact with. And there are many aspects to this benefit that are worth mentioning.
Songs trigger emotions, there’s no doubt about that. Every one of us was reminded of a certain moment in life or had a specific memory triggered by the lyrics of a song. Music is a lot about emotions, and when you learn how to play it, you can better understand your own emotional mechanisms.
Music also allows you to fully express yourself. It’s not uncommon for people to feel the emotion they don’t know how to handle. Rage, anger, sadness, melancholy… we’re not always sure how to react when we feel such things.
Just like a painter uses a canvas to express something that lurks inside their being, a musician can use their voice or an instrument to express themselves. Remember that some of the world’s most beautiful love songs were written by people who experienced heartbreak.
Improves Coordination & Breathing Patterns
Learning how to play an instrument will require a lot of hand-to-eye coordination. Every instrument that requires reading a note, requires a lot of brain training, to help translate each note into a specific action. There’s a motor pattern that your brain and your body learn in order to create music.
Even more, instruments can help you adjust your respiratory system. For example, if you’re learning how to play the flute, you will have to learn exactly how much air you need, when to catch a breath, and so on. Musicians are often subject to breathing exercises that, in time, can strengthen the respiratory system.
When you learn to play an instrument, you have to learn to process notes and rhythms faster and faster. This can automatically improve your math skills.
|Product Weight||5.56 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||22 x 3 x 12 inches|
Bottom Line: Best Alternative to Jamstick
There are very few devices than can precisely mimic the features of the Jamstik. It’s no wonder that this product was praised because of its uniqueness, and is often considered a game changer.
Some see the Jamstik as a toy, while others marvel at what it can do. Whatever the case, remember that the true purpose of the Jamstik was to blend in guitar learning and technology, to create a product that’s easy and fun to use.
In our roundup, we tried to gather five products that have the same mission in mind: to make guitar learning fun, and create awesome jamming sessions regardless of your skill level.
While each of these products is unique in its own way, it up to you to decide which one you fancy the most, and which you believe has the right features to either help you get started, or help you continue your musical journey.