Best MIDI Guitars of 2020 – Ultimate Round-up

Digital processing strongly influences current musical genres. One of the most innovative uses is the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) guitar.

MIDI makes it possible for two or more instruments to communicate. You can take a normal guitar and make it sound like a wide range of other things. Those include musical instruments, such as an organ, saxophone, trumpet, or just about anything else that makes a musical sound.

If this sounds like something you need for your guitar, check out our guide below. 

Comparison Chart of the Best MIDI Guitars

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best overall MIDI guitar.
  • Wide range of chord combinations possible.
  • Versatile selection of rhythm styles with additional available.
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  • Ability to take apart offers ultimate portability.
  • The versatility of design offers a wide range of functionality and options.
  • Downloadable app that has high-quality functions and capabilities, like play along to pre-recorded tracks, metronome, etc.
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  • Best MIDI guitar for the money.
  • Ability to build skills with interactive tutorials and games.
  • Capable of wireless connection with multiple devices and apps.
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  • Compatible with multiple OS and apps.
  • Long-lasting battery life for extended play.
  • Ability to tune instruments individually for better expressiveness.
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What is a MIDI Guitar?

Unlike a traditional guitar that uses sound vibrations created by strings, a MIDI creates electronic sounds that mimic musical notes and instruments. That means you can play a six-string guitar with a hexaphonic pickup that is capable of sending the sound from each string to a completely different effect.

How to Choose a MIDI guitar

For people used to playing the guitar, the best MIDI would be one that most resembles a guitar. The more you can use your current playing knowledge, the easier it will be to convert to a MIDI guitar. Several MIDI guitars include programs that teach you how to play chords and scales. Many also automatically record your playing so that you can get instant playback. That helps when composing and creating new music. 

Some general features to look for in a MIDI guitar include:

Mimics Multiple Musical Instruments 

You can be a truly one-man or one-woman band with a MIDI guitar. The MIDI controller can play drums, keyboards, bass, and other instruments to back your playing. 

Teaches You How to Play Chords and Notes

When it is time to practice, you can load a program and learn to play scales, chords, and more. The MIDI enables faster learning to improve your playing chops. 

Suzuki, 49-Key Digital Sound Guitar

Supports Musical Composition

Got a tune in mind? You can play the melody on your MIDI guitar and hear it played back. If you like it, you just wrote some original music. 

Portable and Plays Anywhere

You also want one that is compact and portable. When you are done playing, it breaks down easily and packs away in a comfortable backpack. 

The more the MIDI enhances your playing and musical talents, the more useful it becomes. It also helps to get one that fits your budget.

Review of the Best MIDI Guitars

MIDI guitars and controllers are incredibly useful pieces of technology. Many combine the best elements of a traditional guitar, synthesizer, and various effects to produce truly exceptional music. The best ones inspire creativity and enable composers to do truly great things. The following are among our current favorites.

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

  • Ideal for composers
  • Separate song and rhythm cartridges
  • Comes with 80 chord combinations 
  • Gives you an entire band in one electronic instrument
  • Supports all musicians from beginner to expert skill levels

CONS

  • Needs 8 C-size batteries
  • Takes time to learn all it does
  • It looks like a really big remote control

What Recent Buyers Report

The Suzuki 49-key digital sound guitar strums like a guitar, plays like a keyboard, and provides a full backing band. It is a highly addictive instrument that really helps you to explore musical styles and genres.

Why It Stands Out to Us

This is a great MIDI guitar and keyboard instrument that really supports creativity. One person can create drum, bass, and rhythm tracks. Then you can play melodies or chords over them to create entirely new musical forms.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a composer’s and songwriter’s dream. Once you master the controls, you get limitless musical possibilities that fully support the explorations you have considered for years. It also helps you to seize a moment of creative clarity and turn it into a complete musical work.

Bottom Line

If you can learn how to use a multi-function remote control at home, you can learn how to use this MIDI instrument. Add in some actual musical talent and the potential truly is limitless.

JAMMY G (Jammy Guitar) App-Enabled Digital MIDI Guitar & Controller, Modular Portable Foldable Guitar Fits in Your Backpack, Always Tuned & Ready to Play, with Detachable Frame, Strap, & Carrying Bag

PROS

  • Features new firmware to improve left-hand techniques, including slides, bending / vibrato and hammer-ons / pull-offs
  • Mobile app enables tuning changes and customization
  • Six strings and a 15-fret neck make it the most guitar-like of the bunch
  • Breaks down into a highly portable instrument, with an included backpack
  • Measures 27 inches long to keep it compact but big enough to play like your favorite guitar
  • Records what you play so you can replay it right away, which greatly helps with composition

CONS

  • Needs work on bends, vibrato, and similar common playing variances

What Recent Buyers Report

Can work very well when the sensitivity is properly adjusted, and software downloads improve the programming. Downloadable programs enable endless customization and potential future enhancements.

Why It Stands Out to Us

This is a truly cutting-edge MIDI controller that has a heck of a lot to offer. Like many newer products, it should improve as supporting software and technology improve.

Who Will Use This Most

Technophiles who enjoy guitar and synthesizer effects will love this rig. You get a lot of great technical features that provide limitless customizing potential. It is great for practicing chords, writing music, or just having fun.

Bottom Line

This is slightly ahead of its time, with a solid presentation that promises to improve with free downloads and upgrades.

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

  • Plays just like a guitar
  • You never need to tune it
  • Small, light, and very portable
  • It really does have strings and frets
  • Designed to teach you how to play guitar

CONS

  • Works best with an iPad or an iPhone
  • Only has five frets, which limits the chords you can play

What Recent Buyers Report

It is a great device for those who want to learn how to play the guitar. The five frets are good for learning chords but limit the playing range. Works best as a teaching tool to learn guitar.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The portability and ability to pick and play just like it is a bonafide guitar make this a very fun and useful MIDI player. It would be great for plucking new tunes while traveling from gig to gig.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want to learn how to play the guitar without an actual guitar or a teacher, the Jamstik is a great option. It also works great for practicing melodies and composing music pretty much anywhere you might be. That makes it a great travel companion.

Bottom Line

The most guitar-like of the bunch and a great way for beginners to learn to play guitar. More experienced players will appreciate being able to practice anywhere and compose while on the go.

PROS

  • Can tune individual “strings”
  • Acts as a guitar, violin, piano, and drum kit
  • Plays like a conventional or a lap steel guitar
  • Works with either frets or as a fretless stringed MIDI controller
  • Can slide, tap, strum, or drum on it to get melodies, chords, and tonal effects, like string bends and slides

CONS

  • Does not replicate stringed instruments as readily as indicated
  • Software works much better with Mac than it does Windows systems

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who love it said it is light, fun, and plays a lot like a guitar. An included power brick provides portable power. Some say the “strings” do not respond as readily as indicated. Many said the software works best with Mac devices.

Why It Stands Out to Us

It is a very light and compact MIDI player that truly plays like a guitar. Like any MIDI, you have a learning curve to get the best use out of it. Those who take the time should be happy with results.

Who Will Use This Most

This is another great option for composers, especially with the earplugs to keep your creativity away from the wrong ears. Traveling musicians can use it to compose while on the go.

Bottom Line

You get a very fun MIDI player that feels great and can do a heck of a lot when you learn how to use it correctly.

Livid Instruments Guitar Wing Wireless Control For Guitar

PROS

  • Affixes to any guitar or bass
  • Does away with effects pedals
  • Embraces growing digital effect trends
  • Controls peripherals with your fingertips
  • Can download more effects to customize the controls

CONS

  • Controls sometimes are difficult to operate
  • Might require modifications to fit some instruments

What Recent Buyers Report

Works very well at integrating peripherals, lighting, effects, and other stage implements via your MIDI controller. When integrated with your computer, you have complete control of your stage show at your fingertips. That includes the effects of your guitar tone.

Why It Stands Out to Us

This stands on the cutting edge of stage-integrated electronics. It should continue to improve as supporting technology develops and improves, too.

Who Will Use This Most

If you use a computer to run a lot of your guitar and stage effects, this is the ideal tool for you. Purists who prefer analog tones likely will not like it, but those who appreciate advanced technology will embrace it.

Bottom Line

It is a great idea that might be slightly ahead of its time. As it improves and the supporting technology evolves, you just might be looking at the future of guitar effects and stage technology in one package.

What Are MIDI Guitars Best Used For?

A MIDI guitar can do many things, and the list continues growing. Ultimately, its best use depends on why you bought it. For most, it is to expand their musical abilities. That pretty much is the same with any instrument. The MIDI just does it a bit differently. Here is a closer look at how.

Learning to Play Guitar

Downloadable programs will teach you to play scale and chords on your guitar. You can practice replay your scales and chords and listen to how they turn out. The more guitar-like the MIDI controller, the more it can help you to learn the instrument.

An Entire Band in One Instrument

A MIDI controller is capable of replicating several instruments and musical genres. You can have an entire band backing you while playing on your MIDI guitar or other instrument. With the MIDI controller, you can make the perfect backing band and play your solos over it.

Composing Music

You can play rhythms and melodies and play them back instantly for the best results. If you like what you hear, others likely will, too. A MIDI guitar is a great way to create and compose new music just about anywhere you go.

Artiphon Adaptive Multi-Instrument MIDI

Pros and Cons of MIDI Guitars 

A MIDI guitar offers many advantages compared to a standard guitar. They are compact, affordable, communicate with computers, and give you full control of your stage show, right at your fingertips. As the enabling technology continues to improve, so will its usefulness for musicians of all levels.

Pros

Quality MIDI Guitars Expand Playing Potential

You can learn how to play the guitar and other instruments with software and apps designed to support your MIDI system.

Capable of Inspiring Awesome Creativity

You can learn to master the guitar, compose music, and have fun working on new changes to old tunes. Most MIDI guitars let you play backing instruments while you practice and play. You can create new musical lines and hear them immediately after playing them. 

Can Work With House Sound Systems

You also can use your MIDI guitar to communicate directly with the house sound system in many venues. Instead of using traditional guitar pedals and amplifiers, you just send your signal to the house sound and use its PA system.

Cons

Technology Undergoes Continual Change

Like any continually changing technology, MIDI can be a hit or miss. When the technology is working as intended, you get a truly liberating musical experience.

Conclusion 

The MIDI guitar is a great bit of technology that continues to improve and grow in usefulness. As technology improves, like cloud computing and communications, so does the supporting software and applications for MIDI guitars and controllers. That means they will continue growing in importance and usefulness.

People Also Ask

MIDI technology has been around for many years. Most people associate it with keyboards and do not realize it has wider-reaching uses. The following are some of the more frequently asked questions regarding MIDI technology and its use in guitars.

Is MIDI Still Used?

MIDI is here to stay. Synthesizers always use MIDI programming, and they are the new standard for keyboards in small bands. As the technology inevitably improves, so will its usefulness for guitarists and other musicians.

What Are MIDI-Enabled Devices?

A MIDI-enabled device is one that takes a digital MIDI signal and converts it into a sound. A MIDI controller creates the signal and sends it to the enabled device. The MIDI-enabled device converts the digital signal into sound.

How Does a MIDI Guitar Work?

A MIDI guitar has a MIDI controller that converts your inputs into a signal. That signal goes to a MIDI-enabled device, which converts the digital MIDI signal into a sound. A MIDI guitar might be a controller only, or it will have a controller and a MIDI-enabled device to produce sound.