Did you know April is Stress Awareness Month? So, no worries -- we’ve only got good news for you in this update. Just sit back, chillax and read ‘em!
First things first, we’ve got the last iteration of the printed circuit boards (PCBs) for the Jammy’s left part (that’s where the fretboard is) ready -- the pilot batch of them has just been manufactured and is now being tested at our main office.
Concurrently, we’re finalizing the production technology of the Jammy’s fret bars with our OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in China. Those lil’ puppies may appear the least important part of our guitar, but the truth is opposite. The Jammy’s fret bars help pinpoint when and where the string is being pressed against the fretboard. Being connected to the underlying PCB, they have 16 electrical pins each, which allows for more precise bending emulation. This innovative concept is our proprietary design -- nothing like this has ever been used in the guitars before
Now, probably the most interesting part. As you know, the Jammy -- though totally portable and autonomous -- is accompanied by a cool mobile application. Among other sexy features this app boasts, there is a Jamming mode that shows you a bunch of notes you can use to jam along the backing track.
What you say we give you the Jammy app for a test drive with your regular guitar prior to the official release? If you’re our backer who’s willing to be our tester and you also happen to have an Android phone or tablet (the iOS-compatible version is underway) -- shoot me an email (email@example.com) so I could put you up on the list. Join the party now! Let’s get it rolling!
VP of Product
@ Jammy Guitar
Hope you’re doing well and not only keeping your fingers crossed for us, but also keeping them fit and practiced up, cuz it won’t be too long till you put them on your Jammy! (Keep reading to find out when exactly this will happen.)
As we’ve mentioned in the previous update, we’ve improved the Jammy guitar quite a bit.
Right now, our engineering team is back to the Silicon Valley of the East (Shenzhen, China) and it’s damn hot down there -- the guys are sweating their brows off implementing the new mechanical design (and it’s also 82° outside.)
The process is almost over and it’s pretty fantastic, considering that we had to change the mechanics drastically. So in no time at all, we expect to start building up the tooling -- like injection molds, patterns etc -- needed for the mass production.
As we expected, all this shifts the production schedule -- we plan on having the Jammy guitars started shipping by October 2018. The good news, however, is that we’ll probably have the first limited batch of the guitars manufactured and delivered to our current backers earlier -- the estimation is August 2018. Anyways, we’ll be able to be more exact about the dates once the tooling process began -- so stay tuned!
Now (last but not least!) a few words about the new Jammy appearance. We wanted to make it more rock-n-roll, bearing the elements relatable to any guitarist, allowing to trace the Jammy’s spiritual history rooted in the times when the guitars were great. Here’s a little sneak peek into what it’s gonna look like -- we’ll introduce it properly once the design’s finalized.
Just wanted to remind you that we love you!
Since loving is caring and caring is sharing, we’d love to share with you everything that we’ve been thinking and doing lately! (And how it brought us to a decision about the Jammy Guitar design improvements we’ve mentioned in the newsletter.)
From the very outset of the Jammy project, we’ve been determined to make an instrument you’d feel no hassle carrying around, but most importantly, enjoy playing. Thus, once we’ve assembled a fully-functioning prototype, we commenced extensive playability testing of the Jammy Guitar.
As you might know, some of our backers have taken part in the tests, too, providing us with the valuable feedback -- both at CES and, more recently, at NAMM. This latter, being the biggest annual music industry trade show, has also allowed us to get the Jammy Guitar played and evaluated by the professionals in the field. Throughout those activities, we’ve gathered the bulk of priceless criticism from people with different guitar preferences and playing skills. They have all concurred on one thing -- the famous sliding neck was too much a challenge to master (even for pro players!)
Yeah, I know… We really loved that idea, too -- it’s cool and fun. Until you’ve tried and played something more complicated than “Fly Away” on it.
Some of our backers have compared the sliding neck action of the Jammy Guitar to the violin in which you don’t have any fret for reference. Here’s what the originator of the sliding neck concept (a multi-instrumentalist trained as a classical violinist) has to say:
As the entrepreneurs, we’re used to taking risks. But we couldn’t take the risk of disappointing you with a poor playing experience. In the course of active and extensive communication with our backers, we’ve answered to each and every letter and comment, and heard all the concerns. We’ve seen that the main priorities for nearly all of the Jammy Guitar supporters are portability and playability. To provide both, we had to change the design. So we've made the decision: We go for the detachable solid neck solution!
We know that for some, Jammy was the love from the first sight -- that is, from the sight of the sliding neck. But there is more to it which makes the Jammy Guitar (given the new solid neck design) stand out from the crowd. For one, it’s still the only digital guitar that generates sound on board, with all the consequences like minimal latency and maximal autonomy (you need as little as the pair of earphones to play it.) It also fits into most backpacks and complies with the airlines’ carry-on regulations.
The inevitable change in the design sets off a chain reaction of improvements, adding even more unique features to the Jammy Guitar. Among them:
So worry not -- the thing’s gonna hold firm enough to survive something like this:
Those improvements are surely gonna take some time -- we’re changing the mechanics and internal schematics layout, and this shifts the production timeline. The good news, however, is that we’d managed to bring forth the 1st draft of the new mechanical design and get the feedback from our Chinese manufacturers prior the beginning of the Chinese New Year celebration. What’s even better is that 95% of electronic parts and components remain the same and only need rearrangement according to the new construction.
Our team is heading to China after the end of the festive season (in the beginning of March) -- that’s when we’ll know for sure and gonna be able to commit to a new shipping date. Our guys will stay there as long as it takes to oversee the production preparation and keep you in the loop on the manufacturing setup progress.
We’re gonna hold on to the same colors and you’ll be able to update your choice once we showcase the samples.
We’re also gonna update our campaign page and all the other resources to reflect the change.
The price remains the same.
Innovation, by default, involves some risk -- you travel the road not taken, you leap into the future unknown. And that’s exactly the case with the Jammy Guitar which has undergone the change during this leap.
We’re still in flight, but now we see clearly where we wanna land -- and I believe we won’t miss the mark! I also know for sure you’re no strangers to risk as well. For starters, you’ve chosen to support our innovative crowdfunding project over going to the guitar shop and buying some uke. If it weren’t for you, we would hardly even set out on this journey.
So thank you for inspiring and joining us on our mission to create the coolest compact digital guitar ever -- no words are sufficient to express how grateful we are for this! We know how much you're looking forward to finally put your hands on Jammy and we’re really breaking our backs to make it happen as soon as possible!
Rock on and feel free to say what you think about the change in the Jammy Guitar design!
@ Jammy Guitar
So we’re back from CES 2018. Seen lots of robots, drones, smart-everything (including diapers), and tones of 8K, 16K, 32K, you-name-it-K TVs (can’t wait to watch the new Black Mirror episodes in a resolution that high!) The startupers’ pavilion inhabitants multiplied fourfold comparing to the last year -- so the Tech keeps on growing (in quantity of the innovations, for sure.)
Apart from tripping on the technological advances the mankind has made in the year 2017, we had a pretty fruitful business trip. Although didn’t have a booth and strolled thru CES as the usual attendees, we had a chance to share the experience and inspiration with some fellow innovators -- the guitar makers from Populele, among others...
… and also had a productive session with our manufacturing partners from China -- the mechanical design alignment process continues, more news coming soon!
The icing on the cake is that we’ve spent some quality time with our backers (Nader, Gary, thank you guys!), discussing the usability challenges our current prototype may pose to different kinds of players and the ways we can improve Jammy in the next iteration.
We’ve shot a short survey dealing with those questions to all our backers so everybody has their say in the further improvements of our compact digital guitar.
We're also going to NAMM Show at Anaheim, CA next week (25-28th of Jan) to continue our validation. If you can meet us there to try current Jammy prototype yourself -- please let me know.
Now, that’s all for today. Keep on rockin’ and stay tuned for more news to come!
VP of Product
@ Jammy Guitar
P.S. That's Elvis holding Jammy -- I just couldn't resist putting our guitar into the King's hand.
While we're jamming our way to the holidays, there are some nice updates we'd like to share with you.
Firstly, there’s good news from our engineering crew. The guys have spent last two weeks in China buckling down to work on the mechanical design and electronics with our manufacturing partners. As the result, a new version of the printed circuit board assembly (the heart and soul of our guitar) was put into production, the mechanics of Jammy’s left part were agreed upon, and the purchasing of the components for mass production started.
We here in the main office haven’t been wasting our time as well. Having tested different aspects of Jammy’s ergonomics, we decided to change the pickguard size so it would better accommodate a forearm, and adjust the strap pins position to better balance the guitar. Further usability tests of the sliding neck and the improvements to make it handier are on their way. In the next updates, we’ll show you the options we will come up with to know what you think!
We’ve also packed and sent out 150 t-shirts with Jammy logo to our very first backers. Those who’ve already received the tees seem to like them a lot!
Have a Merry Christmas, Jolly Hanukkah, Blissful Kwanzaa, and a Happy New Year! Rock on!
So you wanna become a Jambassador and help us spread the j̶a̶m̶ word? That’s sweet!
In exchange, we’ll reward you with $30 in credit each time your referrals pre-order a Jammy guitar!
How do you become a Jambassador?
You refer people with a unique URL generated through your Indiegogo account.
Please, note that you cannot refer yourself.
How do you keep track of your referrals?
Click “Referrals” tab in the menu bar to see number of people you J̶a̶m̶b̶a̶p̶t̶i̶z̶e̶d̶ referred and the amount of their contributions.
Please, note that you will only get paid for those of your referrals who claim perks which include Jammy guitar -- “Swag Pack” doesn’t apply.
How do you get what you deserved?
Once the campaign is over (Nov-2nd), Indiegogo provides us with the detailed information on how many Jammy guitars were purchased through your referrals and at what perk level. Then we will pay you $30 for each one of those guitars .
Now come on and share your link, cuz sharing is caring, and it’s also jamming!
About two years ago, the idea of a super-portable guitar arose from those DaVinci-ish scribbles you see below.
It took us some time to think it through, but eventually, as you are well aware, this idea evolved into the sliding neck concept.
Well, that lil’ stick did stir a pretty big confusion. We have had hard times explaining how Jammy works to people outside. The mere notion of the movable fretboard was not that easy to get. So up until recently, we would fall into despair from time to time, thinking this whole Jammy thing just might turn out to be totally incomprehensible for our possible prospects. The other times, we kept believing, though.
After introducing Jammy to the world on Facebook and Product Hunt, we saw that our product strikes at the very heart of the passionate people the guitar players are. They either hated it to the bone or fell in love with it instantly! Jammy appeared to be highly emotionally charged, so we decided to risk it all and dive in, putting Jammy on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
On the first day of our campaign, a part of our team took the only two existing prototypes of Jammy to TechCrunch 2017 in San Francisco. This had to be a real-life test drive for our tiny guitar, so our knees were actually shaking--what if people really could not handle the sliding fretboard? That would have meant an utter failure, an ultimate fall on our face in front of the attendees and the participants of one of the world’s most important tech events...
But all the worries and sleepless nights have definitely paid off! People would flock around our stand willing to get their hands on Jammy! And, to our surprise, everyone who has tried playing our guitar dug that expanding neck mechanics totally! That was a huge sigh of relief...
Hopefully, you’ll excuse the poor quality of the footage, for the sheer joy on those faces makes it totally worth watching (and, to some extent, hearing).
And, while we were having fun at TechCrunch Disrupt, our Jammy guitar gained the momentum on Indiegogo. We got fully funded in less than three days, exceeded our goal 1.5 times in 10 days, and still have more than a month before the campaign ends. That means, our idea has resonated in people’s hearts! Check out how that guy from Indiegogo team enjoys Jammy! (Btw, he ordered his guitar right after the playing session you may see below.)
Now, we’re just overwhelmed! But we’re also inspired by the joy our guitar brings and the faith you put in us--this urges us to work even harder to bring Jammy to you as soon as we can!
Those are the two words that the guitarist most likely says when he stands at your door. I hate to disappoint you, but I haven’t brought any snacks. Thus, my first words would be like, “Good news everyone!”
Each and every day, our engineering team pushes Jammy forward on its way to become the fanciest and the portablest (I know there’s no such word) item in your guitar collection. Recently, we’ve got a delivery from our manufacturing partners--it’s bright yellow and frickin’ hot! So, without further ado, behold the fresh Jammy sample:
There are also some groovy accessories to accompany your Jammy. We call those things ‘pickguards’, but their actual use case differs from your standard guitar’s scratchplate.
Our pickguards may be attached to Jammy’s right end so that you could rest the edge of your hand on them--that makes playing more comfortable (also makes Jammy look 150% cooler, but that’s kinda obvious).
The pickguards come in different colors and materials. On the photo below, there are two plastic and one super exclusive deluxe wooden samples.
We’re also planning on making a vintage supercar’s dashboard-inspired pickguard from the polished aluminum--how cool is that, huh?
It’s quite astonishing, but I’ve saved the sweetest news for later. (Take a deep breath before I go on). Our team was picked to participate in TechCrunch Disrupt on September 18-20 in San Francisco. Only three teams (among hundreds!) per pavilion have been given a chance to present their product free of charge--and we happen to be among them! Come visit us at ‘Media’ Pavilion to see Jammy with your own eyes (and hear with your own ears, which is also very important).
To sum it up, we’ve got o̶u̶r̶ ̶m̶o̶j̶o̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ the most portable yet most fully functioning digital guitar almost ready to launch into the great wide open and plan to open preorders later this year. We’ve got a supercool app (which I will tell you about later in this blog) and a working sample, that we hope to disrupt TC Disrupt with. Although we’ve saved a couple thousand bucks on TechCrunch exhibitor fee, we still might need some help to start the mass production. That’s why we ponder over launching our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo early this Autumn.
and blues afficionado
“Mommy, what these two men are doing?”
Warning! Watching these two men doing it is gonna make you want to do the same.
Already itching to jam some blues? Before finishing this short piece of text, you'll be able to--how cool is that? I mean, even though your playing’s gonna be a bit slower and simpler than the one of BB King or John Mayer--it’s really cool, ain’t it?
Let’s take it from the top. What is jamming, after all? Most often, it relates to two or more musicians improvising over the basic rhythm structure and chords played by the backing band.
In Jammy’s app, we’ve got a Jamming mode that provides you with the backtrack and the tab representing the range of notes to play in.
When improvising, you don’t just pick the strings randomly, but play around with the bunch of specifically arranged notes called ‘scale’.
There are plenty of scales ‘round here, but we’re particularly interested in the minor pentatonic scale, ‘cause, for some reason, this set of notes is the most appropriate to play the blues with.
5 notes to shape your tune
Pentatonic in the Greek language means five sounds, so no wonder this scale consists of five notes. The first of these notes happens somehow to be the boss note a.k.a. the root note a.k.a. the tonic. This note indicates the key of the scale or musical piece.
So when you hear someone says “blues in E”, what they mean is that the root note’s gonna be E (simple as that!) That’s how E minor pentatonic looks like. The root note (here it is E) is enclosed in parentheses.
By now, you may have already felt the urge to ask me why the heck am I telling you all that stuff and what do you need this penta-something crap for. Well, we’re getting to the point here.
Having mastered the pentatonic, you are well-nigh ready to jam—all you need is to play these notes over appropriate backing track (played entirely on E chord in this instance) up and down the neck.
How do you move this notes up and down the neck, actually? There’s a simple trick for it: Just get to the next root note and play pentatonic up from it. When you reach the thinnest string, go back down—like in the tab below.
Finding the blues harmony
In real life, blues is rarely played with only one chord. Instead, it consists of 3 or more which, together, constitute the blues progression or harmony. The most common blues progression is the 12 bar blues. It’s three chords built around three notes from the scale: The tonic—or the 1st degree of the scale—which is E, the subdominant—or the 4th degree—which is A, and the dominant—or the 5th degree—which is B.
Mind that the notes are counted not as they appear on the scale but simply in order (here, it looks like E-1, F-2, G-3, A-4, B-5, C-6, D-7). That means, the 3rd note in the minor pentatonic scale is, actually, its 4th degree.
Now, you’ve got three chords: E, A, B. Your 12 bars blues is gonna look like this:
Adding the ‘blue note’
Using the “1-4-5” pattern, you can transpose your blues in any key you want. Let’s carry on with E, though. You can jam—or improvise--over the E-part with E pentatonic scale that you’re already familiar with. Just spice it up with the ‘blue note’ (here, we add the 5th string, 1st fret) to make it more bluesy:
When the harmony shifts to A for two bars, you shift your pentatonic respectively, so that your root note is A. You can start from the open 5th string, but here I’ve just moved it up the neck to the 5th fret on the 6th string—this way it’s more natural for Jammy which moving fretboard allows you slide up and down the imaginary neck not needing to change the fingering:
So the range of notes to jam over the A-part looks like this:
It’s basically the same pattern, only shifted 5 frets up. As you may have guessed, the set of notes to jam over the B-part of your blues is going to look like this:
Now, it’s time to let your fingers do the walking. Just try to play what you’ve learned over this backing track:
Let’s sum it up. If the musical genre like the blues was a language, the harmony and scale, respectively, would be the set of rules and vocabulary that constitute this language. Whereas, the melody is like the actual phrases that the speaker of this language says.
But what is as important in language as the rules and vocabulary? The intonation. It may sound trite, but sometimes what you say may be less important than how you say it. The blues, too, has the whole palette of subtle intonational nuances that set this music apart from any other genre. In the next article, I’ll show you a couple of tricks that will let you sound bluesy right away!
and blues afficionado
P.S. For your further discoveries in the realm of scales, check out this very handy tool—the scales builder.
What’s up rockers!
May the glory of Independence day be with you forever and the 4th of July firecrackers leave all of your fingers firmly attached to your hands so you could carry on beating the starch out of your axe!
For quite some time now, we’ve been itching to share something with you, so looka here. As tiny as it is, our portable guitar Jammy got a great story behind it—the story of its origin.
Where did the idea of a portable guitar come from?
First there was (as all the stories of origin go) our friend Marko and his particular issue. A zealous guitarist and an active traveler, Marko wanted to practice guitar as much as possible, wherever he went, but dragging a bulky six-stringer around seemed too high a price to pay.
That’s gotta strike a chord or two with you as well. Haven’t we all been there—breaking our backs and hitting our legs carrying huge guitar cases? Trying vainly to fit them in the overhead compartment of the Greyhound bus. Standing heavy-heartedly by the baggage conveyor knowing how “carefully” the instruments are treated by the airport movers.
So, Marko came up with the idea which at first seemed too far even for us here at RnD64. The dude wanted a guitar that would fit in his pocket! We needed a little time to let this sink in. And strangely, after a while, this notion didn’t seem that weird-ass anymore.
How do we make Jammy work?
Since the half our team of a bit more than 20 guys and ladies are guitar players themselves, we’ve taken on this challenge. Obviously, we weren’t huge fans of inconveniences our standard-sized guitars caused us during the transportation. Neither were we satisfied with the extremely poor sound range of the available portable guitars.
What could be done about it? Well, long story short, that’s where the first glimpse of a brilliant idea popped into our CTO’s head: What if we make a guitar with a neck that would stretch like, say, a telescopic antenna? So the guitar overall would be very small, while its range, somewhat paradoxically, was comparable to the one of a standard-sized guitar.
Jammy’s designed so its longest part sits inside—stretch the guitar out and you’ll have a fretboard in your left hand that you can slide along the axis in order to change the pitch. It’s like you’re moving your fingers up and down the neck of your ordinary guitar. This allows Jammy be more compact than any competitor and, at the same time, not limited to 5 frets.
This also allows Marko to carry his Jammy along wherever he goes, having a guitar with real strings and frets always at hand. I could spend another few paragraphs describing how Jammy works and how cool it is, but the video with our first prototype is worth a thousand words...
Although this is just a prototype we're still working on, bet you got what it is about Jammy that makes Marko happy.
Suppose you also got that this story isn’t only about a tiny guitar. It’s a story about the dream come true. It’s also a story about portability and independence. Your independence and your freedom to play anywhere, anyhow, anyway—regardless of the place and circumstances. So, happy Independence day! Be free and rock on! \m/ (~.~) \m/
P.S. Hope you enjoyed reading this. Feel free to comment below and ask us just about anything!