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NMGD - Jamstik Studio MIDI guitar


tauzero
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MIDI guitars interest me - I have Roland GK pickups on a guitar and a bass (OK for direct processing, not so good for generating MIDI), a YRG1000 MIDI controller, and an Artiphon Instrument 1. However, my interest was piqued by the Jamstik range, and with the Studio being (a) the cheapest and (b) headless, when one came up for sale for a good price I went for it.

 

jamstik.thumb.jpg.38e089c06afa859e18e6ec05c652251b.jpg

 

Tracking is good, as is the playability. MIDI out is via either a USB-C socket or a 3.5mm TRS socket with a supplied TRS to 5-pin lead. At first it didn't do anything, but I checked the settings and it was set to MPE mode which sends signals to channels 2-7, so reset it to single channel and all was well. There's a variety of parameters to play with in the Windows desktop software or the Android app.

 

I haven't given the humbuggers a test out yet but I shall at some point. I've just found a review of the guitar which forms the basis for this - it's an Asmuse Leaf, and the review is complimentary about the pickups (and, indeed, about the guitar).

 

Incidentally, there were no instructions on how to restring it (I don't need to now but I'm looking to the future). Jamstik do a tutorial video and it looks almost as simple as double ball end strings - you don't have to poke the end through the tuner, just bend it a bit, put it under the bridge roller, and start winding (with a dinky little allen key which is held magnetically to the bridge). Excellent. And I like allen key tuning on a headless - admittedly you have to be sure not to lose the key, but it gives greater feel than turning headless knobs.

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Sounds interesting. The MPE makes sense, not sure why you would want anything other than that on a guitar (but then I have several MPE controllers and synths)

So does it work in any useful way, and what does it give you that the Roland doesn't?

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9 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Sounds interesting. The MPE makes sense, not sure why you would want anything other than that on a guitar (but then I have several MPE controllers and synths)

So does it work in any useful way, and what does it give you that the Roland doesn't?

 

I'm not sure why the MPE would make sense if one was trying to play all the strings on the same MIDI instrument. I can see that it would be useful in some cases, but definitely not all. After all, if I play a chord and want it to sound like a Hammond organ, I'm better off with single channel and sending it all to a Hammond organ patch than MPE and sending bottom E (channel 2) to Hammond organ, A (channel 3) to pan pipes, D (channel 4) to orchestral strings, G (channel 5) to angel choir, etc. I mean, I'd obviously assign all the channels to the same patch but why not just do it with a single channel?

 

Yes, it does work in a useful way - it has the three modes (single channel, multi-channel - channels 1-6, MPE - channels 2-7 with channel 1 for controls) and it tracks the notes well. The advantage over the Roland is that it generates MIDI directly - the Rolands have to be run through one of the various GR pedals to generate MIDI (I've got a GR-20 and a GR-55) and the MIDI can be a bit glitchy and slow. The GR pedals seem primarily aimed at processing the signal direct. With tight integration of instrument and electronics, plus the fact this is a whole lot more modern than the GRs, the Jamstik generates MIDI more accurately. I don't know how the latest serial pickup and GM-800 module compare.

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9 hours ago, tauzero said:

I'm not sure why the MPE would make sense if one was trying to play all the strings on the same MIDI instrument. I can see that it would be useful in some cases, but definitely not all. After all, if I play a chord and want it to sound like a Hammond organ, I'm better off with single channel and sending it all to a Hammond organ patch than MPE and sending bottom E (channel 2) to Hammond organ, A (channel 3) to pan pipes, D (channel 4) to orchestral strings, G (channel 5) to angel choir, etc. I mean, I'd obviously assign all the channels to the same patch but why not just do it with a single channel?

 

On MPE all channels would be one patch but the dynamics of that channel are sent per string. So if you do a string bend (again probably not with a hammond organ) why would you want all the strings to bend by the same amount - pitch bend is a per channel message, normally you would just want the bending to be done on the string that did it not all the strings.

Not having mpe reduces that flexibility and takes you back to why are you putting  up with the downside (over a keyboard) of poor response when you are not using the upside of expression.

 

 

9 hours ago, tauzero said:

The GR pedals seem primarily aimed at processing the signal direct. With tight integration of instrument and electronics, plus the fact this is a whole lot more modern than the GRs, the Jamstik generates MIDI more accurately. I don't know how the latest serial pickup and GM-800 module compare.

 

The GR pedals process the signal directly as well, but that is a cover on the tracking, not too surprising as the GR55 is 13 years old now, came out basically when the first iPad did, the speed of processing has changed a lot (although the speed of calculating a frequency from a wave not so much).

So it seems like the technology is the same, but a bit more modern and with the midi built in.

 

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2 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

On MPE all channels would be one patch but the dynamics of that channel are sent per string. So if you do a string bend (again probably not with a hammond organ) why would you want all the strings to bend by the same amount - pitch bend is a per channel message, normally you would just want the bending to be done on the string that did it not all the strings.

Not having mpe reduces that flexibility and takes you back to why are you putting  up with the downside (over a keyboard) of poor response when you are not using the upside of expression.

 

In this case, it was because the module I'd plugged it into to test it out was set up just to receive on channel 1, so the initial result was silence. That has educated me on MPE though so thanks, I'm rather a tyro at this.

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