Turn it up to 11 as you record 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 ’11

Get real-world guidance from Seattle composer and musician Jeff Tolbert while learning how to record songs with vocals, drums, guitars, MIDI keyboards, and more. You’l 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 ’11 to make great recordings of your music with vocals, drums, guitars, MIDI keyboards, and anything else that makes a sound. Seattle composer and musician 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. New in this edition is a complete discussion of all of the many GarageBand synthesizers, as well as a section on fixing mistakes easily with the new Flex Time and Groove Matching features.

The book also covers the 12 GarageBand guitar amps (including the seven new ones!) and the greatly expanded selection of stompbox effects. You’ll also learn real-world recording studio techniques like using a microphone effectively, getting the best sounds from your gear, and applying effects like a pro.

Bonus! Linked-in audio lets you listen to examples while you read about them—and, new with this edition, you can follow links to download the project files for the two example songs which demonstrate many of the techniques discussed. Remember us when you’re famous!

Questions answered in the book include:

  • My GarageBand recordings sound lame. Can I even make a decent-sounding recording with this program?
  • How do Real Instrument and Software Instrument tracks differ?
  • What’s the best way to record a vocalist?
  • How do I use the multi-take recording option?
  • I don’t have an electric guitar. Can I still use the Electric Guitar track?
  • How can I fix up a sloppy performance?
  • What amplifiers are the GarageBand amps supposed to represent?
  • How do I set a compressor?
  • How do I program the GarageBand synths to make my own sounds?
  • How can I automate effects?
  • What should I know about recording multiple tracks at once?
What’s New in the GarageBand ’11 Edition

I updated this book to cover new features in Apple’s latest upgrade to the program, GarageBand ’11, as follows:

  • Apple has added seven new amp models to GarageBand ’11. I discuss all 12 of GarageBand’s amps and tell you what they’re supposed to represent in Just What Are Those Amps Anyway?
  • GarageBand also has five new stompboxes for use on Electric Guitar tracks. I describe them all in Understand GarageBand Effects.
  • Flex Time and Groove Matching help you clean up sloppy performances without complicated editing. I tell you how to use them in Fix It with Flex Time and Get In the Groove.
  • From analog to digital, you can play with quite a few synthesizers in GarageBand. I explain how they work in Program Your Own Synth Patches.
  • I added a section on using score view. Although score view is briefly covered in my other book,Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ’11, I give you more detailed instructions in Learn the Score.
  • Compressors and limiters can be a bit daunting at first. I added a few tips about using them in Dynamic Effects.
  • I updated and remixed the two sample songs, and added links to their GarageBand project files. Read about the changes in Listen to the Sample Songs.
  • I added a few small tips and tricks in various sections, and made small edits here and there to keep the book relevant to the new version of GarageBand.
  • Finally, I updated screenshots to reflect GarageBand’s new interface, and added many more to illustrate tricky concepts.

Note: This book talks about the Mac OS X version of GarageBand ’11, not the iPad version. The two applications share some features, but this book does not discuss the iPad version at all.

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 '09 (version 5):

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 Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand 3.

  • 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
  • June 17, 2015 -- We aren't planning to re-issue this book in a new edition for GarageBand 10, GarageBand for iOS, or any future version of GarageBand. The author, Jeff Tolbert, currently has a full-time job, and what with Apple's now-yearly releases of iOS, OS X, and new developments like watchOS, it is difficult for us to find time for nifty niche titles like this one. We like GarageBand, and if the right author or sponsor came our way, we'd certainly consider a new edition.

    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.