An Introduction to Garageband

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About Garageband

Using GarageBand - Adding More Samples. Joe Shambro -

If you own a Mac built anytime in the last couple years, chances are you've got one of the most powerful music production tools available for a home recording user: Apple's GarageBand, bundled as part of their iLife suite.

Let's take a look at how to create a simple song using GarageBand's included loops. I did this tutorial in GarageBand 3. If you're using an older version, you might find some of the menu choices slightly changed. Let's get started!

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The First Steps

Using GarageBand - Starting The Session. Joe Shambro -

When you open GarageBand, you'll get the option to start a new project. Upon selecting that option, you'll be presented with the dialogue box you see above.

Name Your Song

Set The Tempo

Set The Time Signature

Set The Key

Now, let's look at our options for using sampled content.

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The Sample Bank

Using GarageBand - Sample Bank
Using GarageBand - Sample Bank. Joe Shambro -

Let's take a look at the sampled content banks that come with Garageband. Click on the eye icon in the lower left corner. You'll see the box open up giving you several different categories of samples.

type genre mood

Now, let's look at actually using a sample.

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Adding & Mixing Samples

Using GarageBand - Sample Dropping. Joe Shambro -

I selected a drum kit that has a sound I like, Vintage Funk Kit 1. Select a sample that you like, and follow along!


, which is the ability to move the sample left or right in the stereo image. This is good, because it allows you to separate the instrument from others in the mix. You also have options to solo the track, which means to listen to it without the rest of the mix; you can also mute the track, which cuts it out of the mix completely. You then have a fader which allows you to change the volume of the track itself. Now let's look at stretching the samples for use in your song.

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Time Stretching

Using GarageBand - Sample Stretching. Joe Shambro -

Move your mouse to the end of the sample. Note how it becomes a straight line with a looped arrow? Click and hold down your mouse button. Drag the sample to your desired length; you may need to take a minute to listen to how it's sounding before you're done. It's as easy as that! You can now drag and drop other samples.

Now let's look at the options you have for the individual tracks.

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Track Options

Using GarageBand - Track Options
Using GarageBand - Track Options. Joe Shambro -

Let's take a look at the editing options you have for your individual tracks. This is really useful for many things.

By now, you should have a creation ready to bounce down! Let's look at getting that track out to the world.

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Bounce Your Song

Using GarageBand - Bounce. Joe Shambro -

The final step we do is "bouncing" your mix. This creates a single .wav or .mp3 file of your song, so you can distribute it or burn it to CD!

GarageBand is extremely powerful - you're only limited by your imagination!