How to Connect an Electric Guitar to GarageBand


GarageBand is a home recording studio created by Apple for the Mac as part of iLife, a software bundle, but it's also available for a PCs and can be purchased separately. For use on a Mac, the built-in microphone is the most convenient input. However, there are many advantages to connecting an electric guitar or bass guitar directly to the program. For example, you'll achieve a higher signal input than if you use a conventional amplifier and record the sound with the built-in microphone.

Things You'll Need

  • USB guitar cable
  • Plug the guitar USB cable into your electric guitar or bass guitar and the USB end into an available USB port on your computer. You computer recognizes the new input and a window pops up asking if you wish to use the input. Select "Yes."

  • Open GarageBand and click on "Preferences" under the "GarageBand" drop-down menu. Select the "Audio/MIDI" sub-menu. From the "Audio Output" drop-down menu, select "Built-In Output." From the the "Audio Input" drop-down menu, select "Unknown USB Device."

  • Create a new "Real Instrument" track. In the "Track Info" window, find the drop-down menus for "Input Source" and "Monitor." Select "Mono 1" for the input source, and turn the monitor "On."

Tips & Warnings

  • With the monitor set to "On," you will be able to hear your instrument in real time, with your computer acting as an amplifier. You can now select any instrument or effect for your electric guitar from the menu in the "Track Info" window, and you will be able to play your instrument with the selected effect and record the instrument into the track you have just created.

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