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Create custom music loops in Garageband – iLife Tutorial

Learn how to get the most out of Garageband's loops by cutting out the best bits and looping them for a more original sound with this easy, step-by-step tutorial.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops Sidebar
Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops
Apple’s built-in GarageBand loops really are one of the program’s best assets.
Loops allow you to take a piece of music and repeat it to create interesting and individual sounds, but with more and more people using GarageBand to produce music there’s a chance that your favourite loops from Apple could be much less original than you first thought. In order to keep your songs sounding fresh, why not make use of Apple’s easy-to- use editing tools and cut the best bits out of longer loops? You can then re-arrange your selections and loop them for a more interesting and original sound. It can sometimes be a little fiddly and it requires a good ear and an even better eye to select the correct audio, but if you follow these nine simple steps, you’ll be creating a more unique sound in next to no time at all. Don’t settle for the standard but get creative and you’ll appreciate the unique songs you get as a result.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step-by-Step

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 1

Step 1: New beginnings
When you open GarageBand you’ll be faced with this dialogue box. Click New Project and then on the Loops icon.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 2

Step 2: Give it a name
Give your new project a name. From this dialogue box you can also set your project’s tempo, key and time signature, but these are all adjustable later on.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 3

Step 3: Drag the beat
In the loop browser, click on Beats and browse through the selection. Click loops to preview them and drag your selection into the multi-track area.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 4

Step 4: Click and click again
Double-click on your loop to bring up the track editor along the bottom. This allows you to edit and adjust your loops in greater detail.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 5

Step 5: Drag the playhead
Drag the red playhead to the point where you want your loop to start. You might have to play it through a few times to get a feel for where it should be.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 6

Step 6: Split it
In the Edit menu click Split to separate the beginning of your new loop from the rest of the original loop. Alternatively use the shortcut Cmd + T.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 7

Step 7: Top and tail
Repeat this for the latter end of the loop you don’t need. If you look in the multi-track area you’ll see the loop you want in the middle of the other parts.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 8

Step 8: Delete and repeat
Delete the parts of the loop you don’t want; you’ll be left with your newly cut loop. From here you can repeat this by dragging the loop from its right edge.

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Step 9

Step 9: Add it to the library
If you want, you can add your new loop to the loop library. Just click on it so it’s highlighted and click Add to Loop Library under the edit menu.

(Click on the image below to zoom in and view the annotations)

Garageband Tutorial - Custom Loops - Annotated