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Guitar Effects in Garageband

Guitar Effects in Garageband

Garageband is one of those Apple applications that I appreciate massively. It isn’t the fact that it is one of the most powerful and easy to use podcast creators or audio editors but the appreciation comes for its power as a multitrack recorder. Having played in numerous bands growing up I am no stranger to multitrack tape recorders, I frankly hated them.garage

Nothing ever really sounded as it should and the recording process was an utter nightmare. I so envy the guitarists and musicians growing up in today’s Garageband generation. I think what I find most shocking is that Garageband comes as part of the iLife application pack and this pack costs considerably less than ?100.

I am not going to mention the fact that Garageband can actually teach you both guitar or piano, I am not even going to mention how easy it makes the process of recording podcasts the I love Garageband statement is simply for the software’s functionality for any guitarist.

Garageband 09 takes the great multitrack recording features and adds a range of software based guitar processor systems. The big benefit is the effects are controllable from within the Garageband interface and can even be tweaked in post production.

If you are used to the classic stomp box and amp set up then using your guitar with Garageband is going to be a breeze.  Firstly you will need an audio interface (USB) to connect your instrument to the computer. I recommend the Native Instrument Guitar Rig Session device. This not only allows you to connect a guitar but you can connect other instruments and Mics in essence allowing you to record your entire band.

Once you connect your hardware you should be able to hear your guitar (or at least see the audio meters jumping up and down as your hit the strings). If you don’t, click Edit or double-click the amp, then choose the input from the Input Source pop-up menu.

If your guitar is connected to your computer with an adapter cable, choose Line In. If your guitar is plugged into an audio interface connected to your computer, choose the correct mono channel from the list.


To hear your guitar as you play and protect against feedback, choose “On” or “On with Feedback Protection” from the Monitor pop-up menu. “On with Feedback Protection” lets you hear your guitar as you play, but warns you if feedback occurs.

Garageband 09 comes with around 40 preset sounds but you can also easily create your own using the drag and drop stomp boxes.

You can see in the image above I have a number of stomp boxes in a chain connected to the main amp. The image shows the back of the amp as I double clicked it to change the input setting. Garageband allows 5 stomp boxes in a chain and you can drag and drop to alter the order. You can add or remove boxes from a great selection of pedals.


Double clicking on an amp or stomp box brings up a larger image of the pedal on which you can adjust the various controls.


You can take one of the Garageband preset sounds, double click on a stomp box and make adjustments and then save it as your own with just a few clicks. It is actually surprising the range of custom settings each pedal offers and given the range of amps virtually every guitar sound is easily achievable.

Once you have created your very own custom tone you can now use Garangeband’s multitrack recording and editing to record your songs. I am pretty sure you could record a professional sounding output using Garageband.

When you consider iLife costs just ?59 (click here) and offers not only Garageband but iMovie, iDVD, iPhone and iWeb I really consider it to be one of the biggest software bargains going.

If like me you are facing a midlife crisis and want to revisit your guitar slaying youth then Garageband offers a low cost system that not only provides you with every guitar pedal you ever dreamt about but also allows you to record into the bargain.   What more could you want ?

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