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How to use your iPad as a guitar amp with GarageBand

As if stuffing GarageBand for iPad with Apple Loops, drum sounds and smart software instruments wasn’t enough, Apple has pulled out all the stops to accommodate guitar players too. The Guitar Amp instrument lets you connect an electric guitar and play it through one of a selection of nine different virtual amps based on classic designs. All the amps have the same set of controls, including an Input Gain control, a three-band EQ to adjust bass, middle and treble, a Reverb level control, a Tremelo effect with variable depth and speed, a Presence control to add extra zing, a Master loudness control and an Output level setting to make sure you don’t go into the red. For best results, you’ll need to connect via a suitable adapter to bring the guitar’s output up to a useable level.


Step 1

1 Select Guitar Amp

Create a new track in your GarageBand project and swipe through the sideways-scrolling instrument selector list until you see the Guitar Amp instrument. Tap to select it.

Step 2

2 Set input level

Plug in your guitar and tap the Input button in the top-left corner. Drag the Input level slider left or right so that loud playing illuminates the meter’s yellow stage.

Step 3

3 Monitor

Tap the Monitor button in the Input Settings menu to turn monitoring on. This enables you to hear the guitar sound through the virtual amp as you play and record.

Step 4

4 Tune up

Tap the tuning fork button to access the built-in tuner function. Play an open string and watch the display. When the note is in tune, its name will turn blue.

Step 5

5 Choose guitar sound

Tap the name at the top of the screen and choose the preset you want to record with. You can also save presets you’ve edited by tapping the Save button.

Step 6

6 Switch amps

You can adjust controls just as you would on a real amp. Touch and drag vertically to change settings, or swipe horizontally to switch to a different amp model.

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