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How To Use Apple’s GarageBand

How To Use Apple’s GarageBand.
Apple computers have traditionally been associated with creative users, although they are much more popular these days as well.

Beloved by artists, filmmakers and musicians, Apple has been perfecting its own creative software for years. The Apple Garageband app is an amazingly powerful music production tool. Not only is it great for communicating musical ideas. There have been quite a few mega hits that were created as off the shelf products at Garageband. So don’t underestimate this brave little app!


In this quick start guide, we’ll give you a basic understanding of how to use GarageBand and walk you through creating a basic song.

Where can I get Garageband?

One of the great things about Garageband is that Apple offers it for both macOS and iOS You can move project files between iOS and macOS versions, so you can start your idea on iPhone and then transfer the project to Mac via iCloud to continue working on it when you get home.

However, there are significant differences in the GarageBand feature sets across the two platforms. The macOS version of GarageBand is designed for home recording and performance with live instruments or microphones. The iOS version is designed to create brand new songs or song ideas using only the touch screen.


In many ways, the iOS version is more advanced and intuitive than the macOS version. Ultimately, you’ll get the most out of GarageBand if you have access to both versions.

We are using a MacBook Pro in this article, but the general principles apply to both versions.

Gadgets (iOS only)

GarageBand has a fantastic set of virtual instruments. You can play many of them manually, but Apple has provided smart automatic modes for its instruments as well. Unfortunately, this feature is currently only available on iOS


If you are comfortable with a particular instrument, you can play with a virtual version of that instrument in GarageBand. Apple’s virtual drummer is particularly useful and intuitive to use, as you’ll see in a moment. The Virtual Drummer is one of the features that came to the macOS version of the software.

Live Loops (iOS Garageband and Logic Pro X

GarageBand for iOS also offers a feature known as Live Loops. These are pre-recorded pieces of music that you can mix and match to create new sounds and songs.


We will not be covering Live Loops in this guide as it will require an entire article, but you should know that you can combine your Live Loops and music pieces in one song. Live Loops are not available in the macOS version of GarageBand, but they recently appeared in Logic Pro X, which is a complete professional package using the same core engine as GarageBand.

Connect live audio sources

You have access to more than just the built-in loops and Garageband instruments. You can add real instruments and vocal performances to your song using the device’s built-in microphone or by connecting a live sound source. We do not recommend using the built-in microphones unless you are only doing rough work with placeholders.


GarageBand lets you select any audio source that’s connected to your device, which can be either an analog line-in device on a Mac, or a USB device. Yes, it even works on iPad. We were very successful in connecting the guitar to GarageBand using the Rocksmith Real Tone cable

Compose your first song

When you first open GarageBand, you’ll see a list of projects. If this is your first project, you will see the option to create such an empty project.

Go ahead and select an empty project so we can start our song!


We need to start our song with a track. You can record any track you want from. For example, if you already have ideas for melodies, riffs, or some component of your song, you can start with them and build a track around them. There is no right or wrong way to start the process.

Adding a drum track

Since we don’t have any specific ideas, why not start by creating a drum beat? Click on the drum track and then click Create.

We’re going to use one of the automatic drummers, in this case Zach, the garage rock drummer, but you can choose any style you like. If the drummer you want is not active, just click the small download icon to the right of the name.


With the drummer selected and without touching anything, hit the play button to hear how they sound by default. You can extend the start loop by dragging its right edge. While the drummer is playing, you can change the sound. Beat preset lets you select a beat style. to the right, you can drag the dot to set the drum style to loud, quiet, hard, or easy. You can also specify which parts of the kit should be involved in each section.

To add a new section with your own settings, simply click the “+” sign to the right of the existing drum part. This way you can create a complex and realistic drum rhythm for your song with separate sections and dynamic play. Now that we have a basic drum rhythm, it’s time to add another instrument.

Kick in with some guitar and guitar

Let’s add a nice bass line to our drumming. Click Track New Track.

Now, as before, select the track type. However, this time we choose a software tool.


Select Bass and then select the bass you want. In our case, we selected the selected bass. You can adjust the bass sound before recording the bass part by turning the various knobs on the virtual guitar body.


So how exactly are we going to play the instrument? The standard way to play a software instrument in the macOS version is to use a MIDI controller of some kind. In the iOS version, you can use direct touch controls. Don’t have a MIDI controller right now? Do not worry!

You can use a Mac or MacBook keyboard instead. Just press Command + K and this keyboard will appear.


Now press the Record button and after the countdown ends, play your song along with the drums. By the way, you can just press R to stop and start recording. Now, to finish this section, repeat the process for the bass, but this time create an additional guitar track.

Excellent! You created the basis of the song with drums, bass and guitar. Okay, we agree that we wouldn’t want to share this rough little ditty with anyone, but with time and effort it is possible to write some awesome tunes.

There is more to explore

The goal of this guide is to teach you how to use GarageBand and get started with the simplest song. If you’ve gotten to this point, it means you know enough to start sketching out real-world song ideas. However, GarageBand has many features, despite being a free program aimed at hobbyists.


By using Real Instrument Recording, which works just like software instruments, you can quickly record your musical talent to tape. The only difference here is that you have to make several choices when choosing a track type. For example, you need to select a sound source and decide if you want to hear the instrument as you play.

There is always something to discover in GarageBand, I hope the ice is broken and you are on the road to musical greatness!

How To Use Apple’s GarageBand

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