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Using GarageBand To Record Your Guitar

Updated on June 21, 2009

Garage band is the software from Apple that allows anyone to create songs that sound almost as good as professional ones. Garage band has features that allow easy creation of music if you have an external keyboard, or if you just want to record live music.

If you play guitar, garage band provides for a great way to do experimentation with your sound. You can start by just recording your music, and then adding effects that make it sound even better. You can also play with loops for other instruments, to make the result even better.

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Adding Loops

 Another interesting option of GarageBand for guitar players is the use of music loops. A loop is a prerecorded fragment of music that can be reused on any music project.

There are music loops for several instruments in GarageBand. For example, drums' loops are among the most useful, because they are repetitive by nature. There are also hundreds of bass lines to choose from. Your can even add loops with other instruments, such as piano, violin, or other parts that may make your music even more interesting.

Recording Live Music

Using garage band makes it easy to record sound from your guitar. While other programs and special requirements may be necessary in other situations, Garage band allows you to literaly just plug and play your instrument.

You need first, however, a connection between the guitar and the Mac. This is just a cable that you can buy on any music or electronics store, that has a 1/4" terminator at one side (for the computer) and a 1/2" connector in the other side (for the guitar).

Another option, is just to buy a connector from 1/2" to 1/4", so you can use your normal cable plugged on the connector. Either way, the sound you make on the guitar will be eventually recorded on the computer.

Using Garage Band

 When you start Garage Band, you have the option to define the tracks of your song. These are representative of the instruments you want to add to the sound mix. If you add a guitar from the list of available instruments, you will have the option to record a live guitar feed, and use it as part of the music project.

To start recording, just click on the record icon located on the bottom of the screen. Garage Band will start recording your music and adding to the selected guitar track. Later on you can stop recording, rewind and play the result from the beginning.

Adding Effects

 The described use of Garage Band will give you a pure guitar sound, which is rich, but sometime doesn't match you music style.

You can have different sounds by adding effects to your record. Garage Band comes installed with several common guitar effects. Just for a simple example, you can select the effects option and add a chorus effect to the whole or part of a track. When you do this, GarageBand will automatically translate the original sound and add the effects you want.

Instrument effects will also change the sound you hear at the time you play. To hear the sound with effect as you record, select the pass through among the track options. When you select this option, the next time you record a song, you will hear the guitar sound with whatever effects have been previously selected.

Saving the result

GarageBand allows users to save the musical project in their native, internal format. However, the software also allow users to save music in the mp3 format, that is recognized everyone as the standard for music storage.

When creating an mp3, GarageBand can also export the result to iTunes, so you can play it as many times as you want. You can also share the resulting file to your friends. Remember, this is your first step to conquer all your future fans.

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      So I have the small cable that attaches to the regular guitar chord that is 3.5mm on the other end. Is that all I need?

    • profile image

      brion dub 

      9 years ago

      Proper connection from Guitar to Computer is

      1/4" inch guitar output > 1/8" inch Computer input


      I think you meant to say this when writing about connecting devices together!



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