often recommend the Yamaha EZ-AG as a way for a beginning guitarist to get the most
from their Gigajam lessons and software. Here’s a quick rundown on the pros and cons.
- 1. Is a midi controller- can be used as an input device for notation and sequencing
programs –guitarists do not have to input via a keyboard.
2. Has built in hardware synthesiser.
3. Is a very cheap midi input solution (approximately £140 ex VAT + £40 for Midi-USB
4. Is funky – kids like it
5. The buttons on the fret board do not hurt fingers – many children give up on the
guitar because the strings hurt their fingers. With the EZ-AG, they learn the fingering
and patterns, etc and succeed without sore fingers. They are then more willing to
‘put up with the sore fingers’ when transferring to a ‘real’ guitar.
6. It is always in tune.
7. It has a range of sounds
8. Can be used as a Bass guitar:
• It has a number of Bass voices – when used with a bass voice the sounds are transposed
to the correct octave and the midi data when analysed appears in the bass clef.
• The frets are closer together and smaller hands can manage it better.
• The bass patterns and knowledge can be learned and acquired and practised on the
• The performances can be analysed using Xtractor and Analyser.
• The learner can quickly adapt to the ‘proper bass’ fret spacing and feel.
9. Can be used with batteries/or with a mains power supply.
10. Can be used with a standard guitar ¼ inch jack lead to connect to an amp – for
11. Has a built in ‘Capo’ function.
12. It works.
1. Is not a ‘real’ guitar – this poses some problems for some music teachers (esp.
2. Constantly sends ‘System Exclusive’ data as well as midi performance data which
can cause problems with various combinations of interfaces/OS/SequenceXtra (in Xtractor)
– e.g. will only work with MOTU Fastlane on Mac version of Xtractor.
3. Needs a power supply/batteries.
4. Is a bit ‘plasticky’.
5. Controls are in a daft place on the neck where everyone picks up the instrument
and triggers several keys at once causing the device to need a re-set (power OFF/ON).
6. Has only 12 frets.
7. Can’t bend strings.
8. Can’t glissando in an analogue manner – can do a ‘digital (i.e. stepped)’ glissando.