Production, Workflow

The Main Way I Use GarageBand Daily

Written By : Andrew Siemon

The primary way I use GarageBand these days is not so much for producing music, but as a practicing tool. I use it for guitar improvisations, learning songs, and solos that I’m working on.

I use the Chrome browser extension, “Sample,” to record part of a song I’m learning from YouTube, and then I load it into GarageBand. I select “Enable Flex,” “Follow Tempo and Pitch,” and then I use the AUPitch plugin to adjust for my guitar tuning. I change the BPM to slow the section considerably.

How to Use GarageBand as the Ideal Practicing Tool

1) Use “Sample” to Record A Clip from YouTube

1) Use
You can get the Sample Chrome Browser Extension from this link. I use this tool all of the time. It’s ideal.

Click the ‘red’ button as shown here, and then you’ll notice it’ll start pulsing to indicate that it’s recording. When you’re done, either click the red button again or click the Stop button to the right.

2) Edit the Clip in “Sample,” then Download it to your Desktop

2) Edit the Clip in Sample, then Download it to your Desktop - A
From there, you’ll have a clip as shown here, and you can use the lines on the right to distinguish where the clip begins and ends.

Click on the “Download” button which is on the bottom left of the audio waveform square. It’ll go to your browser downloads which is shown down here.

2) Edit the Clip in Sample, then Download it to your Desktop - B
Click on it and drag it to your desktop.

3) Open GarageBand and Select an Empty Project

3) Open GarageBand and Select an Empty Project
Open up GarageBand and get your tracks set up. You’ll need an audio track for the audio file to import.

But you don’t really need to do much; you just have to drag the audio file into the project.

4) Use “Cmd + Shift + i” to Import the Sample

4) Use Cmnd + Shift + i to Import the Sample
Use “Command + Shift + i” to bring up all of your folders and then drag the audio into your project.

5) Check the Box “Enable Flex” and “Follow Tempo and Pitch”

5) Check the Box Enable Flex and Follow Tempo and Pitch - A)
Click on the audio file and bring up the Track tab. You can select the “Enable Flex” box.
5) Check the Box Enable Flex and Follow Tempo and Pitch - B)
In some cases, it’ll turn on the “Follow Tempo & Pitch” by default. If it doesn’t, make sure it’s turned on.

6) Drop the BPM by 50% to Slow It Down to Practice Levels

6) Drop the BPM by 50% to Slow It Down to Practice Levels - 60 BPM
Drop your BPM down to a particular level to slow it down to where you want.

For instance, the clip was originally at 120 BPM in the DAW, so putting it to 60 BPM effectively cut it in half. Now I can learn the clip at a speed that’s far more manageable.

7) Use the AUPitch Plugin In Case of Dropped/Raised Tunings

7) Use the AUPitch Plugin In Case of Altered Tunings
In some cases, it’ll make sense to use the AUPitch plugin to raise or lower the pitch of the clip according to your guitar’s tuning.

For instance, if I have my guitar tuned to C# Standard, but the clip is recorded with guitars in E standard, I’ll drop the tuning down by -300 cents. 100 cents is one semi-tone.

If you’re in Eb Standard and the clip is in E Standard, increase the Pitch by 100 cents instead.

All-in-all, I think this is a great way to use GarageBand. Lately, I’ve been using this all of the time to practice guitar solos and other sections which I explained at the start of the article.

Do you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

I’d be curious to hear of any ideas for how to improve this process. Or maybe you have your own way to use GarageBand as a practicing tool.

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Andrew Siemon is the principal creator of ProducerSociety.com, a website dedicated to all things music, including music production, music theory, recording, and how to use the most popular DAWs. Starting out as a metal guitarist, Andrew has since moved into other areas of music production including hip-hop and fusion

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