Paper Jamz – Review

Got my chance to have a good play around with a Paper Jamz guitar this weekend, after WowWee kindly sent me one to review.

I’ve been looking forward to testing it out for months, ever since it was announced back in February.  I took it round to my grandmothers house as all the family were round, and we all had a good laugh playing with my new toy.

Paper Jamz is a revolutionary guitar that uses something called Active Graphics Technology. All of the electronic gubbins is contained on the surface of the guitar, so just strum the strings and the guitar will scenes it and play the note. It’s incredible when you consider that the guitar is only 2cm thick at it’s biggest part.

Designs

I recieved Guitar design number 3 out of the 5 available. Each Design has three different pre-loaded songs to jam along too, so you can either choose your favoraite guiatar according to the looks or the songs. I was very pleased with my review copy as I had what I consider to be the best design as it has the best three songs, Born to be Wild, Mississippi Queen and Smoke on the Water.

All the Available songs are:

  • Guitar 2 – What I like about you, Two Princes, It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)
  • Guitar 3 – Born to be Wild, Mississippi Queen, Smoke on the Water
  • Guitar 4 – You Really Got Me, Blitzkrieg Bop, Godzilla
  • Guitar 5– Hey there Delilah, All Star, Helicopter
  • Guitar 6 – Woman, Rockstar, Take it to the Limit

Before you ask, no your eyes aren’t deceiving you there are only 5 guitars but I’ve put Guitar’s 2-6. Well there is a Guitar 1 (a country version) but it’s only sold in America, But i’ve still listed them 2-6 as that’s how they are listed in the online shops and I wanted to make sure you got the pre-loaded songs that you were after.

Modes of play

There are three modes of play to choose from:

Perfect Play – Basically in this mode you strum and the song plays. You don’t need to have the correct cords or hold your fingers in the right place, you just need to strum and it’ll sound perfect. You do need to strum along in the right places though, as if you miss a note you should have played theres just silence.

The first song I played along to was Smoke on the Water, and as everyone obvioulsy knows what it goes like I was strumming along in all the right places. My uncle didn’t believe I was actually playing (which I technically wasn’t, but it looked like I was) so I stopped touching the strings and the Guitar stopped, just leaving the backing track and vocals. I have to say he was very impressed until I explanied it all to him, and then he just wanted a go at being Ritchie Blackmore!

Rhythm Mode – Ok… this is where things start getting difficult. Basically as in the Perfect Play mode you strum along to the song in all the right places, only this time you have to get the chords right too!

I have to admit I didn’t play around in this mode too much as I just didn’t get it. I really wanted to have a good go at perfecting that famous intro, but just didn’t know where to start.

There is a chord guide included with the Guitar but this didn’t help me with which notes to play for Smoke on the Water. There was also some chords in the instruction leflet which seemed to relate to the songs numbers, and I tried to use these but still didn’t get it at all.

My Uncle does actually play the guitar, so I gave the leaflet to him to have a look at, but he didn’t have any luck either. He’s lucky because as he can play he was finding the chords by ear and having a go at playing along, me I didn’t have a clue.

Freestyle – This is where your Paper Jamz turns it up to 11, and shows it’s not just a kids toy. In Freestyle mode you can just rock your heart out and see where the mood takes you, no backing track, vocals or anything just you shredding alone.

Over 30 different chords can be played – Majors, Minors, Sharps and Flats whatever you fancy.

Again though at this part your left on your own. I think you could get a lot out of the Freeplay mode, but it’s going to be up to you to put in a lot of practice and work out what all the different chords are. Although saying that, you’d have to do all of that with a real guitar too.

Extras and Accessories

As well as the Guitar’s there are now also Paper Jamz Drums available too. Using the same touch technology as the guitars, the also have exactly the same modes and pre-loaded songs too. So If your planning on getting both, it’s a good idea to get the same design number so you can play along to the same songs with both the drums and guitar when you fancy getting the mates together for a jamming session.

There’s also some lovely straps for your guitar to leave you free to rock out in style handsfree, and even a cardboard amp which as well as your Paper Jamz drums and Guitar you can also plus your MP3 player into.

Summary

I was really impressed with the sound, design, song choice and playability of my Paper Jamz guitar. In Perfect Play it;s a lot of fun, and the freestyle mode is cool too for showing off. As a toy for youngsters I think it’s amazing and much better than the usual kiddies toy guitar, but as a real musical instrument I’m not totally convinced.

I think that it could definitely spark the imagination in your child and the more they practice it the better they will get. It will help you monitor how well they’re doing and possibly buy them a real guitar if they keep up the practice and show that they’re really into the guitar and it’s not just a fad, so for that purpose I think it’s perfect… and for only £25 the price is more than right.


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