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Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ‘09
Apr 23, 2009

Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ‘09

Get creative and make music with the built-in loops in GarageBand ‘09!

Seattle composer Jeff Tolbert’s step-by-step instructions guide beginning and intermediate users through using GarageBand’s built-in loops to create three songs, explaining not only how to use GarageBand’s editing and mixing features but also how to be playful and creative while composing tunes that please the ear. You’ll learn how to plan a song, get the most out of Magic GarageBand, edit and arrange Real Instrument and Software Instrument loops in numerous ways, create exciting mixes, and export your masterpieces.

The book also covers how to change track volume, tempo, and panning dynamically, and how to work with GarageBand’s effects. Plus, it includes seven suggestions for solving performance problems.

More Info

Bonus! Linked-in audio lets you listen to examples while you read about them, and a five-page glossary helps you quickly learn about music-related terms.

Questions you’ll find answers to include:

  • What’s the arrange track used for?
  • How can I use the stock GarageBand loops to make a cool song?
  • How do I edit Software Instrument loops?
  • I don’t read music. Why do I care about Notation view?
  • How do I change the tempo in different sections of my tune?
  • How do I make my mixes more dynamic and interesting?
  • How can I customize a Magic GarageBand song so it doesn’t sound like everyone else’s?
  • How do I make a killer drum break out of GarageBand loops?
  • How can I make a ringtone for my iPhone?

"I had a tough time getting started with GarageBand until I bought Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand."
    -Lyle H.

What's New

What's New in the GarageBand '09 Edition

This book is a new edition of Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand, which I first wrote for GarageBand version 1.0. I’ve updated the book for each major new version of GarageBand so far. For this edition, I updated the book to cover new features in GarageBand ‘09, also known as version 5.

Here’s what’s new in this edition:

  • When you create a GarageBand project, you now get a host of new options in the initial dialog. Most of them aren’t relevant to this book, but I cover those that are, namely Loops (for all the projects I create that use loops) and iPhone Ringtone (a special option for that purpose; see Create a Ringtone, p. 101).
  • GarageBand’s Track Info pane has been redesigned, making it much prettier and easier to use. I walk you through its use in several places.
  • Notation View also sports a new look and feel, which I talk about in Create a Track in Notation View .
  • GarageBand ‘09 has numerous other interface changes, which I cover throughout the book (and many screen shots have been updated to reflect these changes).

Does this ebook talk about the GarageBand app that runs on the iPad?

Sorry, it does not. Although the two programs share some features, this ebook has nothing particular in it about the iPad app.

I have an old version of GarageBand and don’t want to update right now. Can I get a previous edition of this ebook?

You can read about old versions of GarageBand as follows:

GarageBand ‘08 (version 4):

GarageBand ‘06 (version 3):


p>GarageBand 1 or 2: From either of the above-listed ebooks for GarageBand ‘06, you can download free copies of still-earlier editions that cover GarageBand 1 and 2. Instructions are on the second page of Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand 3.



Reader Comments

I read Jeff Tolbert’s books Take Control of Making Music with Garageband ‘09 and after that Take Control of Recording with Garageband ‘09. Being a foreigner myself (Dutch) and a complete beginner in music making and recording, I was surprised to understand every word, description, explanation, technical detail, and humorous remark in both books. Mr. Tolbert must be a born teacher, connecting all the time with the level of thinking of the beginning student in a most positive, even enthusiastic way.

In short, a big compliment!

Kind regards, Rob F.

Update Plans

April 2011 – We don’t plan to update this ebook about GarageBand 5/’09 again. However, we did create a new edition of the ebook to explain music making in GarageBand 6/’11—Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ‘11.

Posted by Adam Engst

  1. GarageBand ‘11 Update

    GarageBand ’11, the much-anticipated update to Apple’s wonderful GarageBand application, has a number of new features that make recording and creating music even easier than before. I’m currently updating my two ebooks—Take Control of Making Music With GarageBand and Take Control of Recording With GarageBand. Here’s a list of what I plan to change:

    • Flex Time and Groove Matching: Flex time lets you fix imperfect performances and correct rhythmic mistakes quickly and easily. I’ll show you how you can easily move those off notes so they line up with the rest of your tracks. I’ll also walk you through the Groove Matching feature, which let’s you lock an entire track to the timing of another. So if, for example, you’re trying to use two loops with slightly different grooves, you can now make one of them sync up with the other so they’re in perfect rhythm.

    • New guitar amps: Apple has added 7 new guitar amp models to their roster of virtual gear. There are now 12 different amp models to choose from, giving you a wide variety of tones and sounds for your songs. They’ve also thrown in 5 new stomp boxes, giving you a whole studio full of virtual toys to play with. I’m planning to talk about strategies for getting great guitar tones, how to get the most out of one guitar, and how to use guitar amps and stompboxes to effect other instruments as well.

    • Synth programming: GarageBand’s synths aren’t the most full-featured models out there, but they’re capable of some interesting tones. I’m adding a section on programming the GarageBand synths so you can create all kinds of new, exciting sounds to use in your compositions.

    • Personalizing you loops: GarageBand comes with some great loops, but they’re pretty ubiquitous. I’ll show you how to add effects and use other tricks to make your loops more unique, and I’ll walk you through the creation of a new tune using a wide variety of loop-warping techniques.

    • Mixing and effects: I plan to add to to the sections on effects and mixing, giving you more information and a lot of tips and tricks to make your masterpieces really shine.

    • Interfaces and mics: I plan to update the sections on audio interfaces and microphones, adding some newer equipment and suggesting compelling options for those on a budget (which is all of us, really!).

    • Creating a Ringtone: I touched on iPhone ringtones in past editions, but I’m adding a much more detailed walkthrough, showing you exactly how to write and export your very own personal ringtones.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  2. Listen to Jeff

    Author Jeff Tolbert talks about GarageBand ‘09 in MacVoices podcast #967 with host Chuck Joiner. You can tune in and find out what Jeff has to say about guitar amps, Magic GarageBand, in-GarageBand artist lessons, and more.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  3. Savvy GarageBand ‘09 Documentation Now Available

    Good documentation can be hard to find these days, and Apple’s GarageBand has particularly suffered in this regard, since relatively few books have focused on it over the years, with even fewer titles for later versions of GarageBand. Our guess is that most publishers didn’t sell enough books about earlier GarageBand versions to make it worthwhile to release new editions. It’s also tricky to find someone who is good at writing about how to use the Mac, who has time to write book-length documentation, and who is well-versed in real-world GarageBand usage.

    In an example of ebooks breaking the constraints of the physical world, our two GarageBand titles have been steady sellers, and interest in them has grown over time, so naturally we wanted to update them for GarageBand ‘09. We were relieved that author Jeff Tolbert found the necessary time while working on his ever-increasing number of music-related projects. (We’re hoping that we don’t regret our flip “remember us when you’re famous” line by having Jeff sucked out of the Take Control orbit when he hits it big.)

    So, we’ve just released new editions of the 117-page Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ‘09 and the 134-page Take Control of Recording with GarageBand ‘09.” They cost $10 individually or $17.50 in a bundle. To purchase both books with the bundle discount, use this direct link or look for the “Buy Both” option in the left margin of either Web page.

    • Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ‘09: This 117-page ebook provides step-by-step instructions and linked-in audio examples for using GarageBand’s built-in loops to create three songs, explaining not only how to use GarageBand’s editing and mixing features but also how to be playful and creative while composing tunes that please the ear. Readers will learn how to plan a song, get the most out of Magic GarageBand, edit and arrange Real Instrument and Software Instrument loops, create exciting mixes, and export projects. The ebook also covers how to change track volume, tempo, and panning dynamically, and how to work with GarageBand’s effects.

    • Take Control of Recording with GarageBand ‘09: This 134-page ebook explains how to create musical compositions with vocals, drums, guitars, MIDI keyboards, and even the kitchen sink. Readers will learn how to get the most out of their existing gear or purchase new equipment that fits their budget and style. The ebook covers how to plan a recording session, and it discusses real-world recording studio techniques for tasks such as using a microphone effectively, getting the best sounds from your gear, applying effects, fixing mistakes, using the new Electric Guitar track and new stompbox effects, and recording multiple tracks at once. Two example songs demonstrate many of the techniques discussed.

    If you own an earlier version of one of the Take Control GarageBand titles, you may have received an email message about getting a free (for those who purchased after January 1st, 2009) or discounted update; otherwise, open your PDF and click Check for Updates on the cover to get update details.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

The Author

Jeff Tolbert is a composer and musician living in Seattle. He is currently writing music for advertising and video games in the comfort of his home studio. He plays bass for several Seattle acts, as well as guitar, piano, ukulele, trombone, percussion instruments, and household objects. He wishes he had an extra $200,000 so he could buy all the gear on his wish list. Jeff’s blog is Film Scoring.Info.