Jaminator® Tricks and Techniques
- Choose a cartridge to play, turn off the Jaminator, insert the cartridge, and turn it
back on. Technically, you don't need a cartridge because there are five songs built in,
but they get pretty boring.
- You can play a riff without a song playing which is a good idea if you've never played a
Jaminator. To do so, hold down any fret button (on the neck) and tap one of the string
buttons. A handful of notes should play. (If not, check your volume -- if you turn up the
volume all the way, you should hear the wonderful hum and crackle of digital noise)
- If you tap another string switch without letting go of the fret button, you'll get a
different riff. Usually, you don't want to tap two string switches simultaneously because
the riffs will clash. However, if you carefully tap all three string buttons at the same
instant, you'll get a special power chord riff. (This may take a little practice)
- Any combination of a fret button and a string button will produce a unique riff.
Retriggering (the only trick you really need to know)
- If you tap a string button, and let a few notes play and then tap the same string
button again, it will restart the riff. This is called retriggering.
- You can use this to your advantage by letting a varying number of notes play before
retriggering. Often times if you retrigger at the end of the very first note a handful of
times and then let the riff play out, you will hear a common solo guitar technique.
- More importantly, if you hop between two different fret buttons but tap the same string
button, you can construct really cool riffs. Most expert Jaminator players use this
- The last note of the riff is special. It will sustain for as long as you hold down the
- The Whammy Bar (or Bender Bar) is that black, moveable arm that sits near the base of
the string buttons. It only affects the last note of a riff. You can bend the pitch of
this last note by pushing the bar perpendicularly towards or away from the guitar body.
Note it freely rotates without affecting the pitch.
- While the last note is sustaining, you can also slide your finger up or down the neck
and the note will bend off with a slight up or down pitch change.
- Finally, if you hold down the string switch, most riffs will repeat a section of the
riff until you let up.
Conducting Songs with the Band
- So far, you been soloing and probably haven't heard the rest of the band. The most
enjoyment comes when you play along with the Stones, or whomever, by kicking off a song.
- There are three oblong buttons labeled Select, Start/Next and Finale. These are used to
control the song arrangement.
- The Select button cycles through the songs on a given cartridge. Each time you tap it,
the Jaminator will play a short segment of the song (in the order they appear on the
- Once you've decided on a song, tap Start/Next to kick it off. The song will then begin.
- Most songs play an intro and then the main section. If you tire of this, you can again
hit the Start/Next button and it will advance into a percussion section. This is
just the drum pattern from the song and it a simpler background to solo against.
- Another tap on the Start/Next will get the build section. This is a more
dramatic build up from a rhythm pattern up to the full instrumentation of the song.
- Another tap will return you to the main section.
- At any point, if you tap the Finale button, the song will wrap up within a few measures;
you might want to time it at a chorus to be more realistic.
- Some songs, for instance Layla, have even more sections.
The Keyboard and Drums
- The keyboard plays keyboard riffs when you tap one of the four
- It looks as if it has only four riffs, but any combination of one
or two keys pressed simultaneously will get a unique riff. This is a little tricky, but
practice to get the two key riffs.
- The drums are a simple way to make noise. The small button always
is a crash cymbal.
Double Your Fun
- You can link two Jaminators together and double your fun with an RJ-11 coiled cord.
Unfortunately, it's not a phone cord, so you'll have to scrounge up a straight
through, 4 conductor cord. The original Mac keyboard cable was one of these. Or, if you're
handy, you can build one if you have the RJ-11 crimping tool. Note there is no limit to
how many Jaminators you can network; we've had twenty all going at the same time. You'd
have to really be handy to build a distribution box, though (not to mention the fact that
finding twenty people with jaminators may be a chore.)
- Both Jaminators must have their own copy of the same cartridge inserted. Whichever
player taps the Start button becomes the leader and then controls the sequencing via the
Start/Next and Finale buttons.
- Both players can jam away, but there's a trick feature hiding under the 1st string and
highest riff. Choosing this combination will echo the other players riff regardless of
which one they chose. This is so the two can easily do the answering that groups do when
Eno Dub Mode
- There's a great hidden "feature" that you get by futzing with the cartridges
while the Jaminator is playing a song from a cartridge.
- Choose a song and start it playing. Then, ever so slowly tug one or the other exposed
corner of the cartridge out very gently. Once you get it far enough, it disconnects a few
address and data lines and the computer inside goes crazy.
- It will play random bits and pieces of the song with very wild notes, instruments, etc.
Most likely, it will ignore the keys and strings and you really can't interact with it,
but sometimes you can continue playing.
- If you find somebody with a Jaminator, ask to try it and do this trick. If they're
unaware of the hack, they will be quite surprised.
- You'll have to power it down to get out of this mode because it can play
forever (bypassing the usual automatic battery saver power down)
- Even though this goes against typical training with electronic gear, we've never known a
Jaminator or cartridge to get damaged by this.
- And no, this wasn't planned, but we're sure glad it happens. And yes, we've shown it to
© 1999 Noise Toys Inc. Jaminator is a registered trademark