Learn how to record complete songs with drums, keyboards, bass, strings, even horns...even if all you have is a beat-up electric guitar!

Take Control of
Recording with GarageBand ’09

Get real-world guidance from Seattle musician Jeff Tolbert while learning how to record songs with vocals, drums, guitars, MIDI keyboards, and more. You’ll not only learn how to use GarageBand more effectively, but also get hundreds of professional recording tips and tricks, and advice on applying effects.

This product has been discontinued.

This book explains how to use GarageBand ’09 to create musical compositions with vocals, drums, guitars, MIDI keyboards, and even the kitchen sink! Seattle composer Jeff Tolbert shares his GarageBand know-how and years of recording experience to help you get the most out of your existing gear or purchase new equipment that fits your budget and style. You’ll find out how to plan a recording session, and you’ll learn real-world recording studio techniques, such as using a microphone effectively, getting the best sounds from your gear, applying effects like a pro, using the new Electric Guitar track and the new stompbox effects, recording multiple tracks at once, and fixing mistakes easily. Two example songs demonstrate many of the techniques discussed.

Bonus! Linked-in audio lets you listen to examples while you read about them, and a glossary covers many recording-related terms. Remember us when you’re famous!

Questions you’ll find answers to include:

  • How do Real Instrument and Software Instrument tracks differ?
  • How can I make my GarageBand recordings sound less lame?
  • How do I best record a vocalist?
  • How do I use the multi-take recording option?
  • I don’t have an electric guitar. Can I still use the new Electric Guitar track?
  • How do I use the new stompbox effects and how are they different from the old GarageBand effects?
  • How can I change an effect over time in a track?
  • What should I know about punching in?

What’s New in Version 1.1

The sole purpose of the version 1.1 update is to cover the way Electric Guitar tracks function in GarageBand 5.1. GarageBand 5.1, released August 3, 2009, allows users to add up to three track or Audio Units effects to an Electric Guitar track. This was not the case with GarageBand 5.0.

What’s New in This Edition

I updated this book to cover new features in Apple’s latest upgrade to the program, GarageBand ’09, as follows:

  • The most significant change to GarageBand, for our purposes anyway, is the new Electric Guitar track. I added a whole new topic, Use an Electric Guitar track , as well as additional references to Electric Guitar tracks where appropriate.
  • In order to simplify the potential confusion around the multiple Real Instrument recording methods, I created a flowchart in Set Up to Record.
  • I added the new stompbox effects several areas of the ebook, including Understand GarageBand Effects, and Add some pedals .
  • GarageBand will now automatically monitor your input volume and adjust it as necessary. I added a comment about it in the bullet item about Automatic Level Control.
  • I made small edits here and there to reflect new names or functions for certain GarageBand features and deleted some items that are no longer relevant.
  • Finally, I updated the screenshots to reflect GarageBand’s new interface.

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):

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 both ebooks.

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Quick Start to Recording with GarageBand
  • Strategize Your Recording Session
  • Choose a Recording Method
  • Recording Software Instruments
  • Recording Real Instruments
  • Fix a Section
  • Understand GarageBand Effects
  • Learn GarageBand Tips and Tricks
  • Listen to the Sample Songs
  • Learn More
  • Appendix A: GarageBand MIDI Drum Sounds
  • Appendix B: Troubleshooting
  • Glossary
  • About This Book
  • April 2011 -- The 1.1 version of this ebook, which is currently for sale, was updated for GarageBand 5.1 (part of the iLife '09 suite). We do not plan to create a new version to further discuss GarageBand 5.x/'09. However, a GarageBand 6.x/'11 edition of the ebook is available.

    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.