A Newbies Guide to Using GarageBand For the iPad

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Before you start randomly chucking around blips and bloops like digital confetti, allow us to guide you along the path of GarageBand enlightenment by highlighting its best features and showing you how to get the best from them. These tips use GarageBand However, many of them also work on earlier versions of the software. On macOS and iOS, GarageBand has a loop browser, enabling you to create songs by dragging and dropping pre-made loops to tracks on the timeline.

You can search for specific instruments or genres.


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  • How to create a new song using Live Loops;
  • Starting a New Project and the Main Window.

Drag a loop to an empty area underneath any existing tracks to get started. Many musicians dismiss loops, but they are useful for building confidence in songwriting, and they can help speed along working on new ideas.

2. A different Drummer

Using the occasional loop can add texture to otherwise fully custom compositions, and be handy to jam along with. Ignore music snobs who balk at the idea of automated accompaniment. Smart Instruments in GarageBand for iOS are an excellent way to learn how to construct chord progressions, and a speedy means of fashioning a custom backing track to jam with. You can choose from smart bass, drums, strings, guitars, piano keyboards. World instruments can also be played as Smart Instruments. The other instruments let you tap out notes within specific chords, or use autoplay to quickly record bass riffs and keyboard arpeggios.

Sting needs a new gold car! The Live Loops feature gives you a grid of loops to trigger with taps. To start, you select a genre, and then trigger canned loops by prodding them, while simultaneously pretending you're a combination of Fatboy Slim, Skrillex and Carl Cox. Live Loops are handy for experimenting with song arrangement, and you can record into empty cells, or add new tracks for custom loops. You can record an entire live performance, too, making Live Loops a means of quickly creating a sketch for a new song that could later be worked on in the studio.

Typically, small speakers de-emphasise bass, and make it hard to place instruments in the stereo mix. So get some cans on your ears — we like the Sennheiser Momentum 2. On the desktop, we also suggest using headphones when working on music. But do sometimes take a break and listen to your composition through a set of decent speakers ideally not the ones welded to your computer.

When doing final mixes, also ensure your output sounds good enough through the kind of headphones most people use daily as in, the rubbish ones that come with their smartphones. Songs saved to iCloud are primarily designed to be accessible only on the same platform.

A Beginner’s Guide to Making Music on iPhone and iPad

This means if you save a track on your iPad, it's designed to be played and edited on other iOS devices, and Mac compositions are designed to be sent to other Macs. Tap any item to read more about it, listen to a preview, or download. Note that additional sounds may not work across Mac and iOS devices. Bear that in mind if you, for example, compose on an iPad but arrange, mix and master on a Mac. Improve the timing of live-played virtual instruments by using quantising to align notes to a grid.

Arpeggiators are excellent tools for musicians, playing chord patterns by sounding each note in sequence. The arpeggiator is especially good for quickly creating bass and rhythm tracks for electronic music. If you lack a USB piano keyboard, there are virtual equivalents.

In-depth video guide

Use the Keyboard button to toggle velocity sensitivity or choose a new key thickness. Tap the Scale menu to restrict available keys to those within a specific scale.

Built-in presets soon become overly familiar, but GarageBand enables you to adjust synth settings to create something unique. On macOS, the tuner button is found in the main toolbar; on iOS, it appears when viewing an Amp track. Use the levels indicator to get your strings sounding perfect.

Instead, they are digital recreations of real-world amps. This means you can fiddle with dials to get the perfect sound for your current recording, adjusting gain, EQ, reverb, distortion, presence, and other settings. Tap the pedal button to see the effects set-up for your guitar track. Individual pedals can be fine-tuned and reordered. You can also add new pedals. On macOS, just drag them; on iOS, tap an empty slot then add a pedal.

You can add up to four on iOS, and more on macOS. When you have a real guitar plugged into your Mac or iOS device, carefully test levels before any serious recording. Play parts of the full range of your song, watch the indicators and, where relevant, adjust the input level accordingly. Avoid whisper-quiet input and unwanted distortion. The iOS Smart Drums interface is a grid on to which you drag instruments from a selected kit or tap the dice to randomise everything.

Drums positioned at the top are louder; those to the right have more complex patterns. Note that drums can be moved during recording, for example to make a snare more complex at the end of a bar. For direct control over beat creation, use Beat Sequencer.

If you need inspiration, tap the Patterns button and select from dozens of built-in presets. GarageBand lets you play virtual drums manually. On macOS, select a drum kit and use musical typing or a connected USB piano keyboard to trigger sounds. On iOS, the drums are velocity sensitive, and acoustic kits offer different sounds depending on where the drum is struck.

For example, tap the edge of a snare for a rim shot. To start, select a drummer and a style.

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When happy with your loop, record it. After that, make sure the musical typing keyboard is open, and start playing with different cymbal sounds. Once you feel like you have it down, stop the playback, rewind to the beginning of the track, and start recording again. The cymbals will be added to the recording. If you might want to edit them separately, add a new music track, and select the same instrument. Want to see how those notes sound in a different instrument? Just click on the instrument and select a new one. Try it out with a few different sounds I changed the Heavy drums to Funk Splash Lead, for example, and it resulted in a rather entertaining rhythm.

You can even plug a guitar or bass right into your phone or iPad. Especially with the drum machine Got Rhythm? The iPhone in your pocket has you covered. The guitar and bass also offer smart chords, which makes it easier to play on your mobile device. Here are a few sites that can help if you have playing a musical instrument as one of your resolutions. Read More , too. Recording an instrument is similar to the desktop version of GarageBand: just press record and start playing.

If you want to record a real instrument instead of a software-based one, you can do that, too. Guitar and bass can be recorded directly by plugging them into your computer, and any other instrument can be recorded through a microphone. You can plug your guitar into your iPad or iPhone to record, process or simply capture inspiration as it comes to you, but you'll need to invest in a guitar interface. There are a lot of options for effects, tuning, and otherwise making sure your instrument sounds exactly how you want it to. If you have perfect timing, all of the bars will look the same.

If you have less-than-perfect timing, like me, it might look more like this:.

Just click notes and drag them to a new location to reposition them. You can also drag them up and down to change the pitch.

How to master...GarageBand

You can also click a note and drag it up and down to change the pitch; on a drum track, this changes the drum or cymbal hit. Play around with the notes until you get them where you want them. But with a little patience, you can make the tweaks you want. It still sounds a little weird to me. Hopefully, this tutorial got you up to speed with how to use GarageBand. Just start adding tracks for different instruments, playing music on whatever you have available, and using GarageBand to tweak the results. Read More. Have you become an expert in GarageBand?

Are you just starting out? Share your best tips in the comments below! Your email address will not be published. Hi there. Is it possible to insert a line break to start a new line of music. Appreciate any comments. Top Deals.

How to create a song in GarageBand iOS for Beginners (iPhone/iPad)

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