I recently was given the amazing opportunity to interview the guys over at Jammy Guitar. Jammy Guitar is a company that’s currently making a portable guitar unlike any other. They’ve gone through many iterations in their prototype stages, but are closing in on a final potential model in the upcoming months.
I interviewed them a month or so ago, and it seems their prototype has updated since then to an even more promising model, but the interview still has some great insights as to how they approached building the Jammy and what inspired it. I would like to preface this by saying I re-worded their first response to making more grammatical sense. If anyone would like their original response, please comment and I’ll be more than happy to provide it.
- What inspired you to make Jammy Guitar?
Half of our team of 20 are guitar players. They disliked transporting their guitars on trains and buses. The cases are clunky, difficult to fit in baggage compartments, and it’s painful to watch airport movers toss your precious guitar around.
So, when a friend of ours came up with an original idea of a compact digital guitar — we accepted this challenge without a second thought.
- What makes the Jammy Guitar different than other portable guitars?
Concerning the portable guitars in general, Jammy stands out for its ability to fit in — you can pack it into most any backpack. Jammy’s got the best portability-to-sound range ratio that we know of. Talking about the digital portable guitars, we tried to make Jammy really autonomous. Which means the most of the features — like tones and backing tracks — are on board, you have an access to them without a phone or a tablet whatsoever.
Moreover, the sound is generated on board as well — that minimizes the latency comparing to the instruments which send a signal to a mobile device to generate sound on it. Just plug your earphones in, and you’re ready to jam.
We’ve also started implementing some unique hardware that no one has ever used in digital guitars before, including sensors that allow capturing the effects like bending, vibrato etc with the max accuracy.
- What made you want to incorporate MIDI into the Jammy Guitar?
We’ve decided to use MIDI protocol from the very outset — it’s light and versatile, allowing to ‘dress’ your sound in many different tones when playing, and also to use Jammy as a controller with any digital audio workstation when recording your music.
- Did any artist or musician inspire the Jammy Guitar?
Yep. It was Jammy Fendrix, for sure.
- Any plans for Jammy Guitar to work for other instruments such as the bass guitar?
We’ve been asked the question about the bass hundreds of times so we’ll most likely consider this option, but only after our main product succeeds. We still plan on having presets emulating 4-, 5- or 6-string bass in the initial Jammy version though.
- What was one of the largest hurdles you all encountered with the Jammy Guitar?
Two words: Sliding neck. This issue wasn’t obvious in the concept stage, but once we’ve got our hands on a real working prototype and gave it for our backers to try out, it became quite clear that even with an LED-screen indication, it’s still quite a toil to land on the desirable fret right away when playing over different parts of the fretboard.
Add to that, a constant skill-switching between a standard axe and Jammy which most of our backers intend to use as a second guitar.
So our first and foremost goal now is to find a super elegant solution to this issue that would make Jammy easily playable for any kind of guitarist.
- Any plans to embed guitar pedal effects into the Jammy Guitar?
Definitely yes. Apart from different guitar tones, we plan on having some pedals emulation. I can’t elaborate on this now because this part of the software is still in development.
- Any plans for different neck profiles?
While creating the prototypes, we had been experimenting with different neck profiles. As for now, we find the standard and humble D-shape to be the most suitable for the majority of users so we’ll probably stick with it.
- What do you see Jammy Guitar doing next after the launch of the product?
We’ll focus on getting feedback from the customers which will allow us to constantly improve our software, up to the point when it provides a truly superior guitar experience. Along with it we’re gonna work on the next iteration of Jammy Guitar and make further endeavors in the field of string instruments. And we’re definitely gonna jam a lot.
Andy Slynchuk, a spokesperson for Jammy Guitar
I’d like to thank Andy for the interview and I also plan to review the Jammy guitar when it has it’s official release.