‘Tis the season to freak out over what to get for the tech savvy folks in our lives. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the vast variety of gadgets and gear on offer these days, especially if you’re on a budget, which is why we’ve put together this list of five deals on some of the coolest gifts out there. From USB-powered guitars to VR headsets and upgraded SNES controllers, pick up one or grab the whole list — there’s something here for everyone.
Computers, tablets, even iPhones have grown into powerful tools for music making, but for many who play guitar the bridge from analog instrument to digital devices can be an intimidating one. The Jamstik Wireless Smart Guitar is a great way to cross the digital divide, a MIDI controlling guitar with frets and strings that feel familiar to any guitarist’s fingers. It’s also cheaper than most keyboard controllers (and certainly guitars), available right now for just $149.99.
But you can do some shredding on the diminutive Jamstik. It’s a portable smart guitar that gets beginners playing recognizable chords within a few minutes and helps the inspired musician instantly articulate those notes blooming in his or her brain. Connect it to most Apple devices and learn with the Jamstik tutorial app or record in Garage Band.
The first version was popular, but Minneapolis-based Zivix wanted to make improvements based on customer feedback. The music technology company raised more than $800,000 on a recent Kickstarter campaign to bring Bluetooth technology and a magnetic pickup to the newest generation, Jamstik+.
Without a doubt, the coolest thing we saw at CES 2013 this year was the JamStik, a tiny, ukelele-sized guitar with real strings that connects over WiFi that you can use to record, perform or learn instruments on your iPad.
The only problem was, when we saw it, it was such a new product that it didn’t even have a booth, let alone a distributor. But now it’s finally inching closer to release, spearheaded by a new IndieGoGo campaign that promises to bring the cool-as-hell iPad guitar into your hands and ready to shred by the end of the year.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – Last year, I gave my friend Rachel — a NYC singer/songwriter/comedian with an impressive array of musical proficiencies — my old iPad 2 as a gift. It was her first tablet, or even touchscreen device. I worried she wouldn’t know what to do with it, so when she opened the box and gave me an inquisitive cock of the eyebrow, I told her that the very first thing she needed to do with it was install Garage Band.
To this day, I think it was Garage Band that is the real gift to Rachel, not the actual iPad. Using Garage Band, she can quickly jot out a song idea on the road, or even fully record a fantastic mix, all from a device small enough to fit in her purse. There’s only one trade-off: you have to use the touchscreen. There’s no physical instrument as portable as the iPad to take on the road with you.
That’s where the Jamstik comes in. A product so new and in-concept it doesn’t even have a distributor yet, it’s one of our favorite products of CES. It’s a tiny, ukelele-sized guitar with real strings that connects to your iPad over WiFi, and not only can you use it to record or even perform with your iPad, but it can also teach you how to play the guitar… or serve for an impromptu game of Guitar Hero.