For Mac users, GarageBand may be the best bargain in the music production world.
Already preinstalled on your computer, GarageBand offers multitrack recording and editing of audio and MIDI. It also provides numerous virtual instruments, a loop collection, pitch and time correction, and plenty more useful and engaging features. For many hobbyists, this is enough to learn the basics and get started recording at home.
Listed is a small selection available online. Many more guitars are available in store!
- Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from Take Control of Recording with GarageBand ‘08, a $10 electronic book available for download from TidBits Publishing.The 122-page ebook.
- GarageBand Music is a family owned music equipment company in Michigan. GarageBand Music is run by musicians for musicians. Authorized dealer for D'Addario, Ernie Ball, GHS Strings, SIT Strings, DR Strings, Elixir Strings, Yamaha Guitars, Gretsch, Jackson, Danelectro and more!
- Given that, it would be ridiculous if Apple’s GarageBand didn’t have some fairly hefty support for guitar and bass players. And it does, particularly if you drop the $5 in-app purchase price.
That said, GarageBand is an entry-level DAW. The more serious you become about music production, the faster you’ll begin to run up against its limitations. Here’s a look at a few red flags signalling that it’s time to upgrade your DAW software.
1. GarageBand's Limited Virtual Instruments
GarageBand has a sufficiently varied collection of synths and VIs in terms of instrument type. However, you only get a small selection of patches in many of the categories, paired with very little sonic control. The synths only have a small subset of editable parameters available – a lot fewer than you’d get on a professional synth plugin, such as those included with most pro DAW software. Additionally, GarageBand doesn’t offer users the ability to program sounds from scratch using their synths.
It is worth noting, however, that GarageBand does host Audio Unit plugins. This allows users to supplement GarageBand’s existing collection with third-party instruments. In most cases, you’re still better off upgrading to Logic Pro X or another DAW with a similarly expansive instrument collection despite this capability.
The GUI for Logic Pro X’s ES2 synth (top) and for one of GarageBand’s synths (bottom). Guess which one gives you more control?
2. GarageBand’s Mixing (In)Capabilities
Yes, you can mix from GarageBand. But to say its mixing features are limited would be a massive understatement. GarageBand doesn’t have a dedicated mixing-console screen and is missing a lot of features that are pretty standard in most pro DAWs because of that.
Do you want to add aux effects? Sorry, you can’t. Want to create subgroups? Nope. Track groups? Not in GarageBand.
Moreover, even though many of the effects plugins that come with GarageBand have the same names and algorithms as those in Logic Pro X, they have much simpler GUIs. Just like with the virtual instruments, you get less control than you’d have in Logic or other pro-level DAWs.
The Reason 9 mixer (top) and the GarageBand mixer (bottom), which is the same as its tracks screen. Key mixing features like aux tracks and subgroups are impossible in GB.
3. GarageBand’s Frustrating Pitch Correction
Garageband 5 String Bass Guitar
If you want vocal tracks to sound like they do on professional productions, you need good pitch-editing features. GarageBand’s pitch correction is rudimentary at best, lacking the capabilities you need to really clean up a singer’s performance. Successful pitch editing requires more than just selecting all of the notes and hitting the “correct” button. You need the option to edit notes individually and to be able to adjust the amount of pitch modulation (i.e. vibrato) on each note.
For example, if a singer scoops a note (starts flat and slides into the correct pitch), or sustains a note unsteadily, it’s important to be able to adjust the amount of wavering on the note. This ensures that the note stays on pitch when you apply correction to it.
If you were to use Logic Pro X’s Flex Pitch, or the pitch correction features in Digital Performer 9 or Reason 9, you’d have those capabilities. With GarageBand, you don’t. If your pitch editing is leaving something to be desired, perhaps it’s time for a more powerful DAW.
This comparison of the Space Designer GUI between Logic Pro X (top) and GarageBand (bottom) is typical of the difference between the two programs in terms of editable parameters for effects.
4. GarageBand Doesn’t Support Songs with Multiple Time Signatures
Even if you don’t play in a mathcore band, you might have some songs that change time signatures. Unfortunately, GarageBand doesn’t support that.
The meter you specify at the beginning of the song is what you get throughout. So if you have, for example, a bar of 3/4 in the middle of a 4/4 song, you’ll have subsequent measures starting at places other than beat one in GarageBand’s counter. Essentially, your song could become a confused mess.
Above the MIDI notes in this Digital Performer screen, you’ll see time-signature changes entered in the Conductor Track. You don’t get that luxury in GarageBand, which supports only one time signature per song.
5. GarageBand’s Editing Limitations
The more audio and MIDI editing you do, the more you’ll notice GarageBand’s restrictions when compared to pro DAWs. Crossfading audio is a major example. It’s very important to be able to crossfade at edit points in order to keep clicks and pops from getting into your productions. Most DAWs let you adjust the size and placement of crossfades. Some DAWs even let you adjust the shape. GarageBand does not include any such crossfading feature. It also lacks edit grouping and shuffle editing.
GarageBand is also quite limited on the MIDI-editing side. It handles the basics, like quantizing, changing velocity, and changing length, pitch, and the start time of notes. But there’s nothing akin to the MIDI Transform window in Logic Pro X, which lets users add crescendos, reverse the data in a track or region, randomize velocity, apply fix note length, and much more.
DAWs such as Cubase, Digital Performer and Sonar all give you much deeper MIDI editing features than GarageBand.
Pro Tools’ MIDI-editing features aren’t as deep those in Sonar, Logic or Cubase, but they’re still way more powerful than GarageBand’s.
GarageBand is a great tool for beginners just getting into recording, and you can’t beat the price. But it just doesn’t give you the kind of control over the recording and production process that you get with most other professional DAWs. And as you get more serious and more invested in the craft of music production, you will eventually outgrow GarageBand and find yourself in the market for an upgraded DAW.
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The Violin, the cello, the viola, the string bass: An orchestra – who doesn’t love strings?
Okay, I admit that I am a huge classical music geek but I am not ashamed. Ever since I was a young kid I loved listening to music that involved stringed instruments. The first time I used Garageband the first thing that grabbed my attention was the string tracks. For this week I explored the string tracks and added a twist to them.
String instruments, I don’t get it: Strings instruments are any instrument that produce sound from the vibration that comes from a string (they are also known as chordophones).
When it comes to strings, they can be plucked (like when people pluck at a guitar), bowed (think violins), or striked (a piano produces sound when a hammer strikes the string causing it to vibrate).
There are three types of stringed instruments:
- Harps: the strings are built in the frame
- Lutes: the strings are supported using a neck and a body with a bridge (example: Violin)
- Zithers – the strings are mounted on the body (a piano)
String instruments produce different sounds based on their size, string length, technique, etc. Take for example the Bass- it’s huge- so the air hollow that helps produce the sound, along with its long and thick strings, allow for the instrument to have a deeper vibe. An instrument like the banjo has much thinner, tighter strings – making it more high-pitched.
The Strings Ancestors: Yes the string family, like you and I, have ancestors. String instruments have been documented to date back to 2500 BC in Mesopotamia. In the medival times, a lot of music was played using a Lute.
There are various types of string performance ensembles that have been composed for and performed with.
String Orchestra: an orchestra made up only of strings. Instruments include the violin, viola, cello, and the double bass. The group can be 12 to 21 players. They usually plays work by Mozart and Haydn
String Quartet: only uses 4 players – two violins, a viola, and a cellist
Famous Composers who worked a lot with string instruments:
-Franz Joseph Haydn- known as the inventor of the string quartet
-George Frederick Handel – wrote hundreds of hours worth of music
-Ludwig van Beethoven- One of the most popular composer who most people know, he invented musical eras and revolutionized music multiple times.
The piece: So I decided to play with the string tracks I could find on the program. As much as I love the fully acoustic vibe of classical music, I wanted to spice the tracks up with a hip beat, and some edits. I was able to coming the string tracks and layer them with other string loops that could create a beat. On top of that, there is a hip-hop-isque beat that accompanies the strings to give it a small dance flare.
Strings n Hip Hop:https://sites.psu.edu/jasminesblog/wp-content/uploads/sites/31947/2015/10/strings-n-hip-hop-10_1_15-11.50-PM.m4a