Best MIDI Guitars of 2019 – Ultimate Round-up

The world of technology is always moving and evolving, and that means new versions of the old stand-by. You have travel guitars now, and you have MIDI keyboards. Making a new insurgence into the world is the MIDI guitar.

Much like those synth-pop keyboards that became all the rage in the '80s, the new wave of tech has brought the guitar version, and man are they fun to play. But with innovation comes options and since there isn’t much available about these mighty pieces of tech, how do you know which one is the right one for you?

In this guide, we are going to give you everything you need to know (or at least try as hard as we can) about MIDI guitars. We will also lay out some of the best MIDI guitar options on the market. Now it’s time to get a little deeper into just what a MIDI guitar is.

Comparison Chart of the Best MIDI Guitars

Product

Rating

Price

Suzuki, 49-Key Digital Sound Guitar

Suzuki, 49-Key Digital Sound Guitar (QC1)

Best Overall

Artiphon Adaptive Multi-Instrument MIDI

Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 Black | Adaptive Multi-Instrument MIDI Controller Plug n' Play USB Lightning iOS iPhone iPad Mac PC

Runner-up

Jamstik+ Portable App Enabled MIDI Electric Guitar

Jamstik+ Black Portable App Enabled MIDI Electric Guitar, for Beginners and Music Creators, iOS, Android & Mac Compatible, with Bluetooth Connectivity, Powered by Zivix (Renewed)

Best for the Money

Livid Instruments Guitar Wing Wireless Control for Guitar

Livid Instruments Guitar Wing Wireless Control for Guitar

Jammy App-Enabled Digital Guitar/stringed MIDI controller

Jammy Guitar - App-Enabled Digital Travel Guitar - MIDI Controller - Modular Foldable Guitar - Includes Detachable Frame, Strap, and a Bag

What is a MIDI Guitar?

MIDI came about in the '80s to allow instruments to digitally connect to other devices so they can 'talk' to each other. This would enable your instrument (then primarily a keyboard) to have access to different synths and samples. This MIDI device either uses a USB port or the classic 5-pin cable to connect to the device or instrument you are looking to convert to MIDI.

One way to get a MIDI guitar is to use a device or interface to convert what is string into a MIDI, which in turn allows greater experimentation with sounds and tonal features. This allows your guitar to be a guitar one minute and a flute the next. With an actual MIDI guitar, it doesn’t have to convert to MIDI it simply produces MIDI, so no need for a controller.

What Are MIDI Guitars Best Used For?

There are so many cool uses for a MIDI Guitar, but here are some of the primary uses that you should consider when trying to find the right one for your needs:

Editing and Music Notation

The time it takes to edit and notate music traditionally can be cut in half by using a midi guitar. You will be able to edit while playing, to course correct the tonality of a piece in mere seconds. This is thanks to the digital interaction of the instrument.

Versatility of Sound

You can use the versatility of sounds available by using a MIDI to craft an all-around song from bassline to piano and then add your guitar riff over the top of the track, all with a simple push of a keyboard button.

Sound Design

A great way to use the MIDI guitar is in film music composition or even sound design. With the ability to add sample tracks and build multiple layers, you may find the ease of use due to your familiarity with guitar layout may do this job a lot easier and more fun too.

How to Choose a MIDI Guitar

Trying to choose the right MIDI guitar could be a bit frustrating as there isn’t much on the features you should consider. That is until now. We have combed resources from around the internet and came up with a few factors you should consider when choosing the best MIDI guitar.

Durability

As with all things you want a product that will stand up to whatever you throw at it. So, looking for one that is well built with high-quality materials that will last a long time is a great idea. Make sure you pay attention to all aspects from exterior to interior components to ensure ultimate durability.

Features

When you are looking for a MIDI guitar, you need to pay attention to the features that come with it. You will want to make sure it has quality pickups and electronics built-in. Pay attention to the sound options, as well as the design features, like a tremolo arm, or the ability to switch between picking and slapping. Depending on why you are purchasing this guitar, the more features may mean the better for you and your needs.

Peripheral Compatibility

You want a MIDI guitar that is compatible with other gears and software. By making sure your MIDI guitar has full compatibility, you will have access to a whole new world of sound options at your fingertips.

Comfort

You will have to learn a new technique of playing, and it may feel a little awkward if you are used to playing a real guitar, so you will want to find one that you feel comfortable holding. Finding one that fits your hand size and method of holding will ensure you will be able to hold it while you lay for extended hours.

Review of the Best MIDI Guitars

So, with that list in mind, we set about crafting a list of the best options for MIDI guitars on the market today. Here is what we found:

Suzuki, 49-Key Digital Sound Guitar (QC1)

PROS

  • Internal Speaker Has Great Sound
  • Easy To Use Straight From the Box
  • Versatility Of Sound and Music Creation
  • Ability To Hook Up Peripherals To Enhance the Experience
  • Compact, Lightweight and Durable Design For Comfort and Portability

CONS

  • Doesn’t Have More Complex Slash Chords
  • Problems With Tremolo Quality and Location
  • Issues With the Touch Sensitivity Of the Strum Pad

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent reviews from people that have purchased this MIDI guitar rave about the sound quality and exceptional build. Though there are a few that have had issues with touch sensitivity when strumming.

Simply put, they feel that it is not sensitive enough in this regard. The other issue is with ergonomic and quality of the tremolo function. Even with that, recent buyers are still saying it is a great buy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The functionality and versatility of this MIDI guitar are what stand out most. With its wide range of octaves in addition to the multiple rhythm styles, this guitar offers the best spectrum of choices on the market.

Who Will Use This Most

This is great for anyone who has issues with nerve or joint damage and still wants to play their music. It is also great for teaching chord progression and other musical techniques, so a young or beginner student could get a lot from this instrument.

Bottom Line

Having the ability to utilize multiple rhythms and upgrade this MIDI with more, means that you have a versatility like no other. In the end, this is the primary reason it is the best overall MIDI guitar available today.

Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 Black | Adaptive Multi-Instrument MIDI Controller Plug n' Play USB Lightning iOS iPhone iPad Mac PC

PROS

  • Easy To Use and Set Up
  • Lightweight, Compact and Durable Build
  • Versatile Instruments and Play Methods
  • Works With Any App That Understands MIDI
  • Enough Versatility For the Experienced Musician

CONS

  • Some Find It a Bit Pricey
  • No Android App Available
  • Keyboard Functions But Not as Good as an Actual Keyboard

What Recent Buyers Report

This MIDI guitar has a lot to offer if you listen to recent buyers. It is easy to transport and provides a wide range of possibilities for musical and sound creation. It is easy to use but may take some getting used to if you are used to the actual instrument. There are a few issues, chiefly the price and the lack of an android app, but all in all this MIDI they feel this is a great choice.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are a lot of great qualities to the Artiphon Instrument 1, but the biggest thing that sticks out to us is the ability to tune individual instruments and then play them in their own method. The expressiveness this gives makes this a shoo-in for runner-up.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be great for the musician that travels a lot and wants to keep an instrument near them. This would be great for day trips as it has a great battery life so they wouldn’t have to worry about running out of juice.

Bottom Line

In the end, this instrument is a bit of a hefty investment, and that may deter some people, but if you are looking for a one of a kind instrument that offers plenty of versatility and portability, then the Artiphon Instrument 1 is a good choice.

Jamstik+ Black Portable App Enabled MIDI Electric Guitar, for Beginners and Music Creators, iOS, Android & Mac Compatible, with Bluetooth Connectivity, Powered by Zivix (Renewed)

PROS

  • Enhanced Pick Up
  • Incredibly Easy To Use and Set Up
  • Built-In Bluetooth Connection Capability
  • Lightweight and Compact For Better Portability
  • Upgradable Through Multiple Apps and Platforms

CONS

  • Issues With Latency
  • Doesn’t Feel Realistic
  • Can’t Handle Certain Guitar Techniques

What Recent Buyers Report

Many recent buyers are saying that though this MIDI guitar has some limitations, it is a fun and innovative instrument that is great to train on. The price versus value for the customers that have already purchased it is outstanding according to most.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The biggest thing when looking at this model is the price versus the value of the investment. With the capability to train and develop your skills for such a small price tag, you are getting a great deal that will keep you playing for a long time.

Who Will Use This Most

With its games and tutorials, the Jamstik+ is going to give the most value to learning music or trying to develop skills with a new instrument. This is great for kids or beginners and will allow them to build confidence and knowledge before or while they are mastering their virtual instrument.

Bottom Line

This is by far the best MIDI for the money. With the capability to build your skills in the virtual world, the musician is getting an instrument that will allow easy transportation and a new way of conquering the music scene.

Livid Instruments Guitar Wing Wireless Control for Guitar

PROS

  • Price Versus Value
  • Installation and Use Are Easy
  • Plenty Of Online Information Available
  • Comes With Excellent Quality Free Software
  • Allows For Decreased Need For MIDI Pedalboards

CONS

  • LED Ladder For Long Fader Can ​Be Hard To See
  • Back Portion of the Clamp Can Be Uncomfortable
  • Can Be Challenging To Operate Until You Get Used To it

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love the mobility afforded by not having to be tied down to the MIDI pedalboards. They do feel that some of the buttons are not responsive enough and take a bit of pressure to activate. Overall, they think it is an effective way to take advantage of MIDI capability without being tied down.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model shines when it comes to portability. The ease of use and ability to leave the IDI pedalboard behind allows for mobility, unlike many others. It is compatible with multiple apps and MIDI wireless controllers. This gives it versatility on top of portability, and that can’t be all bad.

Who Will Use This Most

Any guitarist will benefit from getting one of these controllers. Especially if they are already beholden to a MIDI pedalboard. Making this part of your equipment will free up space and allow for more high-quality performances.

Bottom Line


The Livid Instruments Guitar wing MIDI controller is an excellent option if you do not want an actual MIDI guitar, but you rather want MIDI capabilities, while still getting a real guitar feel. Any guitarist, no matter what skill level, will appreciate the mobility and flexibility of this MIDI addition to their kit.

Jammy Guitar - App-Enabled Digital Travel Guitar - MIDI Controller - Modular Foldable Guitar - Includes Detachable Frame, Strap, and a Bag

PROS

  • Designed With Low Latency
  • Strings Immolate a Real Guitar
  • Increased Fret Numbers on the Neck
  • Ability To Lay Both Electric and Acoustic Guitar
  • Lightweight, Compact Design For Enhanced Portability

CONS

  • Issues With Build Durability
  • Issues With the Reliability of Note Racking
  • Pre-programmed Sounds Can Be a Little Less Than Stellar

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have mixed feelings about this option. Most love the compact design and ability to assemble it into what resembles a guitar for a better feel. Many love the app and the product, but some take issue with the durability of the build, as well as the lack of realistic pre-programmed sounds. Overall the buyers seem to like the model.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For us, the portability and ability to break down into backpack-friendly parts means that you never have to be without your guitar no matter where you are.

Who Will Use This Most

This is great for that traveler on the go that needs to have access to creative outlets, that being their guitar. With the compact nature, this is great for any musician that has limited space available to them. No matter what skill level you have, this is a great option to keep your fingers busy.

Bottom Line

This easy to carry lightweight option can be a great choice if you need to be on the go. It is one of the best overall performing MIDI guitars available. With the versatility that it offers, with a combination of build, you will be able to manage whatever musical innovation you feel in your soul.

Pros and Cons of MIDI Guitars

So why would you want to use a MIDI guitar, and why wouldn’t you? These are both great questions. There are inevitable pros and cons of deciding to go with a MIDI guitar, so with that being said, let’s discuss these.

Pros

  • Polyphonic
  • Versatility of sounds available
  • Innovative design will help with creativity

In the positive corner, you have a polyphonic sound, which means you can produce more than one note at a time. This can be handy when editing in real-time or to create a unique sound that no other instrument can make. Speaking of sounds, it has a wide range programmed in, and with many MIDI guitars, you can download much more.

This gives you the ability to be the proverbial one-man-band. It is also uniquely built, which can both be a blessing and a curse. Looking at the glass half full, the innovative design will challenge your mind and make you think outside the box, enhancing your overall creativity.

Cons

  • Not a real guitar build
  • Learn a new technique to play
  • Tones tend to be unrealistic

  • On the flip side, that unique build makes a steeper learning curve. With a body not at all built like the traditional guitar, players may find it difficult to acclimate. There is also the fact that though it is called a guitar, many people feel that even the guitar tones seem a little less than realistic.

    Conclusion

    If you are looking for a unique way to craft songs and let your creativity flow, then looking at a MIDI guitar could be a great idea. With the knowledge above and your carefully curated list of the best MIDI guitars out there, you are well on your way to creating that one of a kind sound.