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.