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Create beats using the Smart Drums

A thumping beat is the perfect bedrock. Here’s how to forge your own Smart Drum patterns

A steady rhythm section is ideal for stirring new musical ideas.However, many GarageBand fans have often felt constrained in this department. Previously we’ve relied on pre-packaged loops, which although great, can soon feel unoriginal and recognisable. While there’s nothing wrong with that, we longed for something different.
Luckily new features have arrived to assist here, including Smart Drums on iOS 7. This intelligent Touch Instrument simplifies the beat layering process for iPhone and iPad, generating intricate drum tracks rapidly. Within just a few simple gestures you’ll have usable custom loops ready to use in your projects. So fire up GarageBand and follow our straightforward nine-step tutorial to get started.


1 Picking a kit

Select Smart Drums from GarageBand’s main carousel. Here you’ll find a gridded workspace, blank by default. Begin by tapping the button on the left, then Classic Studio Kit.


2 Adding drums

You begin creating beats by dragging the drum icons onto the grid to form a groove. As soon as you add a drum to any available square, the looped preview begins playing.


3 Deeper grooves

You form beat patterns by adding multiple drums onto the grid. Each part is made more intricate by moving it left to right; or louder or quieter by being moved up or down.


4 Filling the grid

Adding all the constituent drum parts at varying levels of complexity and volume creates fuller patterns. Drag icons back off should you wish to remove them from the grid.


5 Recording the beat

With your chosen pattern in place, press the record transport button in the control bar situated above. Press record or stop once more to halt after the desired duration.


6 Mixer controls

The mixer button, situated top-right, opens controls for the new track. Here you can solo if within a multi-track project, while varying volume, panning, echo or reverb.


7 Master Effects

Click through to the Master Effects menu from the mixer controls. Here you can set the type of those applied effects, in this instance Reverb, from a checklist of presets.


8 Song Settings

The Song Settings (spanner) button offers access to metronome and key change options. You can also alter your beat’s tempo here, using the tap pad or arrowed input box.


9 Get the right view

The two View buttons left of the transport controls toggle between the Smart Drums and your project Tracks view. From here you perform basic edits to the recorded region.