MIDI guitar controllers are a new growing trend in the music creation industry. Similar to a midi keyboard controller, these devices emulate a guitar when connected to a DAW.
Small and portable they enable creators to jam wherever they are.Fun to play, they allow you to create a wide variety of sounds without the need for bulky extra equipment. Unfortunately, the market for such controllers is limited, so sometimes it can be hard to know which one to chose. To help you with this quest we put together this guide of the best MIDI guitar controllers out there.
1. Jamstik 7
Jamstik 7 is a go-anywhere, wireless, MIDI guitar controller bundled with interactive teaching apps for learning guitar. Lightweight and comfortable, you can practice anywhere as the controller is battery powered and lasts up to 72 hours.
Although a piece of tech, the Jamstick delivers quite the real experience and analog feel by using real guitar strings. And a big plus, you don’t need to ever tune it. To start playing you can connect it to your computer, tablet or smartphone over Bluetooth or wired connection. Tough, a wired connection is recommended as it delivers more quality.
Do you want to show off your skills to your friends? Or just exercise in a crowded place? You can do both! The sound comes out of the device you have it connected to or through the headphones you will connect.
It’s time to make most of your creativity and expand your guitar skills with the Jamstik7. You can play everything from strings to synths or any instruments by using it with compatible apps and DAWs
2. Jammy Midi Guitar
Jammy is a portable and modular digital guitar that packs real metal guitar strings. Being modular you can take it apart and easily fit it in your backpack.
The MIDI controller comes with a large number of onboard guitar tones and effects emulating both acoustic and electric guitar sounds. You can also automatically adjust to a series of guitar tuning without you doing anything.
Want to record your session? No problem! You can record your tracks directly from the guitar and later import them to a computer.Coming with a ¼-inch cable, a ⅛ -inch cable a headphone jack, and a USB-C you can connect Jammy to almost everything: a standard amp, audio interface, MIDI device or headphone set.
Speaking of connections, Jammy has a companion app that allows you to emulate a metronome, emulate effect pedals, change tunings or play along to many backing tracks. Although very versatile it’s battery can last only up to 5 hours, but that is enough even for a concert.
3. Zivix Jamstik+
The Jamstik+ is a portable guitar MIDI controller that also acts as an e-teacher. It comes with an app that will kickstart your journey of learning how to play a guitar. Besides the app you will also receive a strap and several picks. The interface of the app is pretty similar to the Guitar Hero games and will teach you finger positions and strumming in order to start playing complete songs.
The body of the Jamstik+ is made of plastic with 5 frets and six chords. The strings on this controller are real and on the side of the device, you will find D-pad buttons which will let you change the tune of the guitar as we all the power button.
The controller itself does not output any sounds. In order to hear what are you playing you have to pair it via Bluetooth with and iOS or Mac device or use a dedicated free app available on all platforms. You get up to 8 hours of continuous playing and if you want to jam more you can easily charge it via USB
Through the dedicated app you can make the most of the MIDI controller as you can manage the string’s behavior, general MIDI functions, button assignments, velocity response, trigger sensitivity, and MIDI channels. The Jamstik+ is really huge progress in the MIDI production world.
4. Artiphon Instrument 1 Midi Guitar Controller
The Artiphone Instrument 1 is a great and innovative MIDI controller. Coming in the shape of a MIDI guitar controller and with the guitar as the main option, the Artiphone is a lot more versatile. Besides the guitar, it can replicate different instruments like piano, violin and saxophone.
The neck features six pressure- and touch-sensitive strings and a fretboard. At the end of the fretboard you will find two arrows for the virtual capo. This is a tool used for raising the pitch by shortening the strings.
Beneath the fretboard, you will find 6 buttons for strumming and plucking. Finishing the instrument, there is the speaker and above it one knob. The knob is used to navigate between 8 different sounds and play style presets and for adjusting the volume. Four of the playstyle presets are programmable.
On the side of it, you will find a power port for charging the battery – which lasts up to 6 hours – and a 3.5 mm audio jack to connect headphones or an amplifier. Next to the audio jack, you will also find a mini USB port that will enable you to connect the instrument to a phone or computer running MIDI software.
The experience and the interface of the Artiphon fell authentic and real. Equipped with an internal accelerometer you can choke and move the neck around. You can also do pitch bends b moving the strings on the fretboard and make use of the smart strumming. The smart strumming allows the last strum performed to repeat at specified resolutions.
As a MIDI controller, Instrument 1 is compatible with any software but it is advised for beginners to stick to Artiphon’s own free software available on all platforms.
5. Yamaha EZ AG Midi Guitar
The Yamaha EZ AG was originally marketed as a tool to learn guitar but many music aficionados have used it with different music software. So it is unofficially used as a MIDI guitar controller.
The guitar has six strings and twenty guitar sounds that are utterly awesome. Sounds like Folk Guitar, Classic Guitar, 12 String Guitar, Finger bass and many more. All of them can be listened to while playing through the guitar’s little speaker. You can also connect it to any device to output the sound.
Featuring a hand mute pad at the bridge and fret keys that can be played without plucking, the controller emulates a real guitar very good. Strumming is very responsive and allows you to get reliable chords.
It never needs tuning so it’s always ready to plug and play and create exquisite music. The electronic CAPO can come in handy at that task. Due to the low price the quality of this MIDI controller is not premium but is perfect for a beginner.
We hope that this article will come in handy when choosing your next guitar MIDI controller. Happy Creating!