GarageBand rocks more with less

I still remember my first electric guitar. I’d plug that shiny black Strat knockoff into my little red single-channel amp, crank that sucker to eleven, and let her rip. Jamming along with songs on the radio or my favorite tapes and CDs was fun, but it wasn’t long before I was disappointed with the sounds I got out of that amp.

For the next decade, I battled an affliction that plagues many hobbyists known as G.A.S. — Gear Acquisition Syndrome — a compulsive pursuit of the shiny brand new. Amps, guitars, pedals, effects boards, speaker cabinets. I wanted anything that I thought might help me find that perfect tone to let me rip like Slash or groove like Stone. I don’t even dare to think about how much time and money I must have spent buying all that stuff, lugging it around and storing it over all those years.

Thankfully, most of that stuff is gone now. When I record at home, I use Apple’s Logic Studio which does a reasonable job of replacing all of that equipment I bought, sold, and lost over the years. It’s a pro software bundle at an amateur price, though there’s definitely a learning curve. Logic Studio may be for the advanced user, but Apple hasn’t forgotten about the beginners.

By now, most Mac users know about GarageBand. Apple has included it as standard software on every new Mac since 2004, and each year it gets better. The new iLife ’09 suite updates GarageBand with several exciting new features that will help beginner, and even advanced, guitarists keep their hobby clutter-free.

Apple added more guitar sounds and effects, and an intuitive new interface that lets you visually tweak your “rig” without the cost and clutter of buying tons of equipment. Add pedals or switch out entire amps with a click of the mouse.

“Basic Lessons” help you learn new songs at your own pace, complete with a backing band, while “Artist Lessons” let you learn your favorites from the original artist. Pretty cool.

6 Comments for “GarageBand rocks more with less”

  1. posted by Jason on

    Ahhh yes. Music clutter. Here is a question, How do you store, 2 electric guitars, 1 acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass and amp in a 10×8 nyc bedroom. Possible. I have never bought any recording software, although I’d like to, but dealing with music clutter has always been an experience for me living in nyc.

  2. posted by Kelly on

    Jason – It’s been awhile, but I remember a make-over show that had a really cool set-up for someone with a lot of guitars. I think the show was “While You Were Out” and they mounted everything to the wall so that it was a combination of storage and decoration/display. I don’t know if that’s something you could do in your apt, but it’s a good way to use vertical space.

  3. posted by Christy on

    Jason, I was just going to suggest something similar – my friend bought her husband a guitar wall mount that displays her husband’s guitar like a piece of art on their tiny living room wall. I plan to buy my husband one and I think she paid $15 at a music store. Musical Instruments are art and what better way to honor the role of music in your life that by giving it a p;lace of respect. :)

    Re: Garageband – My husband and I won a macbook air about a month ago. We have been DYING to record for years (he is an arranger and guitar player and I am a singer) and so to say this was a blessing is an understatement.

    My Brother in law works for Adobe and knowing my husband now had the computer to record, sent him Adobe Sound booth for his birthday. It is still in the mail, but we’ve just started working a little bit with garageband and DH is sufficiently impressed with it that he doesn’t think he’ll want to use sound booth.

    And to say he is PICKY is also an understatement. ;O)

    So to have our recording equipment and computer fit in a backpack with room to spare is pretty uncluttered.

  4. posted by martin on

    Hi, Garageband has made music composition so much more accessible. I’ve been looking for a Garageband blog for tips, news, samples etc but I haven’t found one yet. So I started one. If you’ve got tunes or tips for Garageband 09 drop me a line…

  5. posted by Jason on

    Thanks for the ideas. I am moving in a couple months and was toying with some ideas for better display/usability in my new apartment.

  6. posted by Chris | GaragebandLessons on

    Nice post Brian!

    I have a few instruments that are gathering dust too.
    Time to totally switch to digital :)

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