JamStack: smartphone guitar amp - Baron Mag

JamStack: smartphone guitar amp

JamStack is a smartphone guitar amp that can be attached to a 10-watt speaker, weighs just two pounds, has an 8-hour battery life, and offers limitless access to apps to play along with backtracks, create custom sounds, record, and share. Q & A  with Chris Prendergast, owner, and inventor.
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JamStack?

As a guitarist in a Toronto band without a designated practice area in my home, I was frustrated with how annoying it was to set up the electric guitar. All the amps, pedals and cords were a pain to set up when I wanted to play and I thought to myself, why can't I just have everything I want ON my guitar.

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I first built a custom guitar, by drilling a bunch of holes and inserting a speaker and smart phone mount. I eventually realized I could use a portable speaker and make it modular using soft clips to attach the JamStack without damaging the guitar. Adding smart phone technology and all the great apps for custom sounds and backtracks gave me a superior guitar playing experience that no one else was doing.

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Features? 

JamStack weighs under 2lbs. (900 grams) and fits on the strap button at the bottom of most guitars using a spring load system and soft mount to protect from scratches. It runs 8-hours on a single charge and works with iOS, Windows, Android, and iPhone Touch. The 10-watt speaker is designed to sound great at high AND low volume. It’s not distorted like a mini-amp, so guitarists can sound as good practicing in the middle of the night at low volume as they would jamming alongside other instruments on the street. Since it is so small and light, the JamStack fits in a guitar case.

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Pair the JamStack with apps like AmpliTube and AmpKit to add layered effects like drum beats without wasting time on levels. Back tracks won’t drop out like regular amps! And since the phone is right on the guitar body, guitarists can set up loops on the fly, perform sequined samples, or record and share music effortlessly. JamStack helps recreate virtually any guitar sound without the need for a lot of computer equipment. It can also be used with other instruments like an electric violin and a microphone – which is great for singing along to backtracks!

You? 

I have been playing guitar for 15-years, including 3-years in a Toronto band called Death Valley Yacht Club. I have ALWAYS loved to tinker with electronics. The first version of the JamStack was actually a custom built a guitar. But I've built other things too. I've been on Discovery channel more than once for weird stuff I've built including an egg decorating robot that also played music based on the color patterns.

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As far as teaching is concerned I have a passion for experiential hands-on learning and was constantly getting kids to build things and take things apart in the classroom when I taught at Unionville Montessori School in Markham Ontario, Now I create hands-on lessons for teachers all over Canada through Lego robotics. I’ve also coached about 6 robotics teams.

I got my physics degree from McMaster University in Hamilton and did my teaching degree in at the University of Western Ontario in Perth.

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 IndieGoGo?

The Indiegogo campaign has shown us that there is a demand from guitarists who want a new solution for simple setup so they can play when they feel inspired. We’ve taken more than 1,500 orders and will begin manufacturing immediately.

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We have a LOT of ideas for the future of JamStack in both hardware and software. Right now, we're just focusing on fulfilling pre-orders and being careful with our cash flow, but we're excited to work on new version of the JamStack and some exciting software ideas. We will be looking for investment (including the upcoming Dragons’ Den TV appearance – which is similar to Shark Tank).

jamstack.io