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GarageBand '11: Connect an electric guitar

Connect an electric guitar

You can connect an electric guitar to your computer to play and record in GarageBand. You can record the sound from your guitar in an Electric Guitar track, and use the amps and stompbox effects to shape your guitar sound. There are several ways to connect an electric guitar to your computer.

After you connect an electric guitar, you choose the input source for the track you want to record in, and optionally turn on monitoring to hear your guitar as you play.

To connect an electric guitar:

Do one of the following:

  • If your computer has an audio input port, connect an electric guitar to the audio input port using an adapter cable. Be sure to set the input source to Built-in Input for the track you use to play and record the guitar.

    Track Info-Real Instrument
  • Connect an audio interface to your computer’s USB or FireWire port, then connect an electric guitar to the audio interface. Be sure to set the input source to the channel on the audio interface the guitar is connected to.

    Track Info-Real Instrument
    Track Info-Real Instrument
    Track Info-Real Instrument

To set the input source for an electric guitar:

  1. Double-click the header of the Electric Guitar track you want to record in to open the Track Info pane.

  2. In the Track Info pane, click the amp to select it.

  3. Click Edit.

    TI gtr track - amp controls
  4. Choose one of the following from the Input Source pop-up menu:

    • If the guitar is connected to the audio input port, choose Built-in Input.

    • If the guitar is connected to an audio interface, choose the input channel the guitar is connected to.

      If the audio interface channels do not appear in the menu, choose GarageBand > Preferences, click Audio/MIDI, then choose the audio interface from the Audio Input pop-up menu.

To turn on monitoring for an electric guitar:

In the Track Info pane, choose one of the following from the Monitor pop-up menu:

  • Choose On to turn on monitoring and protect against feedback. If feedback occurs, an alert appears, asking if you want to turn monitoring on or off.

  • Choose On (no feedback protection) to turn on monitoring without feedback protection. If the input level is too high, it may cause feedback.

  • Choose Off to turn off monitoring. You can hear your instrument only while you record.

Connecting an electric guitar to your computer’s audio input port may result in a very low-level input signal. To increase the input signal, you can connect the guitar to a preamplifier, and connect the preamplifier to your computer.

If you connect your electric guitar to an audio interface, check the manufacturer’s specifications to make sure the interface is compatible with Mac OS X and Core Audio. Also make sure the audio interface uses a format supported by your computer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which might include installing the correct driver on your computer.

Last Modified: Mar 13, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Mar 13, 2012
  • Article: PH1823
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