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Master the Vintage Clav Smart Controls

We examine how each dial on the Vintage Clav affects your sound

Perhaps the biggest improvement GarageBand has made is in bringing you closer to the amazing sounds it features.The real highlights here are Smart Controls that change to suit the software instruments applied to your tracks. By tweaking knobs, dials and sliders you can quickly emulate all kinds of iconic sounds, including the Vintage Clav. For those unfamiliar, the Vintage Clav actually refers to the Clavinet – an electronically amplified keyboard popularised from the mid 1960s to the 1980s. Deriving its sound from the Clavichord, a Baroque-era stringed piano, the Clavinet is often combined with guitar-like effects on funky, disco recordings. Over the next few steps we’ll break down each of the Vintage Clav’s Smart Controls and suggest how they impact your output.


1 Select Vintage Clav

With a new software instrument track in your project, click the Library button in the top-left to open. For our example, select the ‘Classic D6’ preset under Vintage Clav.


2 Smart Controls

Click the Smart Controls button along from the Library button to view. The first four rocker switches are filters affecting tone, turned on when toggled toward you.


3 Four filters

Applied to the selected pickup combination, these filters cut and boost treble or more ‘medium’ rhythm tones. Brilliant and Soft add a sharp versus fluffier feel overall.


4 Pickup combinations

The first toggle selects a single pickup (C) or both pickups in phase (D+A) or out of phase (D+B). Out of phase offers a more raucous, raspy tone that isn’t as versatile.


5 Single pickups

The second toggles the treble (B) or rhythm (A) pickup alone if the first switch is set to C. Each pickup in isolation gives a more concentrated sense of tonal extremes.


6 Pickup positions

An interesting feature is the ability to move the virtual pickups. These Low and Up sliders move those selected to fluctuate tone and add options for live expression.


7 Damper slider

The unique Damper control applies a more muted, muffled tone. Produced traditionally on the Clavinet by physically dampening the strings and ranging from none to maximum.


8 Flanger and Ambience

Typically the Flanger mixes two identical signals together to achieve a sweeping, undulating effect. Raising the Ambience control adds general lustre below your tones.


9 Drive and Reverb

Drive produces a more powerful, thicker signal and gives the sense of raising volume. Crank up Reverb and you add space to the sound, a resonance and lengthier note decay.