How To Plug Your Guitar Into GarageBand - Producer Society

How To Plug Your Guitar Into GarageBand – Producer Society

In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to connect your guitar to garageband through a quick overview and a detailed step-by-step process. the way i do it not only sounds good but is also convenient plus it minimizes latency and other issues as well.

to connect your guitar to garageband, connect the computer to an audio interface such as the scarlett 2i2. in the garageband preferences, set the input to the interface and the output to “built-in output”. after plugging in the guitar and selecting the audio track, click the monitor button to listen to it.

Reading: How to connect instrument to garageband

By the way, I’m always looking for deals in the music industry (there’s usually something if you know where to look). at this moment, there are 3 offers that catch my attention

how to connect your guitar to garageband

There are a few different ways to do this, and some are significantly better than others. I’m just going to show you how I do it with a short video below and then a full tutorial.

I have a couple of pieces of equipment needed (the next 4 links take you to amazon):

  • obviously your guitar.
  • a firewire to usb cable
  • an audio interface (I use the focusrite saffre 6usb. the scarlett 2i2 is also good).
  • a usb-c to usb cable (the only reason this adapter is needed is that I’m using the latest edition of the macbook pro. the previous generation macbook pro doesn’t need this adapter).</ li
  • regular guitar cable.

If you’re new to music production, know that much of this equipment will serve you well for years to come.

if you’re serious about recording and producing much of this gear and more are a must so just grab some amazon and be done by the way couldn’t recommend the jamplay website highly enough if you’re serious about learning to play the guitar in one of the most efficient ways you can imagine (use coupon code “1buck” which makes the first month practically free).

without further ado,

the actual steps:

1) connect your firewire cable to your macbook pro. In most cases, this cable will come with the purchase of an audio interface or midi keyboard. however, if you don’t have one for whatever reason, I’m sure you can buy one on amazon for cheap.

USB Firewire Guitar

2) Usually, the port for the firewire cable is on the back of the Audio Interface. Plug the other part of the firewire cable into the back of the Audio Interface.

in my case the firewire to usb has to go in the usb-c adapter i mentioned above.

3) Now, assuming you have the Focusrite Saffire 6usb, it should be powered by your computer. you don’t have to plug it in or anything like that, so all the lights you can see on the front of the unit will come on.

4) open garage band.

5) click “open project” or one of your old files. it doesn’t matter.

6) Once the “choose a track type” page appears, click where it says: “integrated input”.

7) this should be all that is needed for this part of the process. however, assuming this is your first time doing this, it might not be a bad idea to click where it says “embedded output”.

8) which should show your “output” and “input” devices in the audio-midi region preferences.

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9) Make sure you have selected “integrated output”, if you are using your computer as a speaker or the speakers that are connected to your laptop.

10) select your audio interface for “input device”.

11) now, once you’re back on the “choose a track type” page, click on one of the two subheadings below, either the “guitar option” or the “microphone”. option.” this should show your midi region and all your controls.

12) in the “smart controls area”, make sure you have selected your audio interface where it says “input”.

13) Now, connect your guitar to the front of your audio interface.

14) click the “follow button” which looks like an inverted wi-fi symbol. this part is important, otherwise you won’t even be able to hear what you’re playing.

15) You can now select the type of amp you want, be it a “clean guitar”, “crisp guitar”, “acoustic guitar”, “distorted guitar”, “experimental guitar”, ” “clean bass”, “crisp bass” and “experimental bass”.

16) You want to press the “monitor” button next to the track header as well. I have highlighted the backwards wi-fi symbol with a black circle. it will turn orange once selected.

Under each heading, there are quite a few options that sound pretty good, especially after you adjust them to your preferences.

and it’s as simple as that.

There are some problems you may run into when doing all of this for the first time. for that reason, I’ll explain some of the problems I had when I started.

common problems and annoyances as a beginner

1) make sure the gain on your audio interface is not set too high, otherwise you are going to be feeding the garageband too high a signal, which will make it sound distorted and bad.

2) make sure the “pad” and “inst” buttons are off on your audio interface, assuming you have a focusrite saffire 6usb. I imagine there are similar controls on other audio interface models.

I think these buttons also make the signal too powerful and thus create distortion. for example you can use the “inst” setting (which stands for instrument), on the focusrite scarlett 2i2 instead of keeping it off. use the “air” function to give it a little more juice if you like.

3) latency. I’ve never really had latency issues when using an audio interface, but some people do, and the fix, as I explained in my dedicated article, is usually pretty straightforward.

Basically, if you’re experiencing latency issues, there could be a number of different causes, however, most of them will be a result of your configuration and the misconfiguration of your equipment.

for example, you’ll want to make sure that if you’re playing more than one track, you have the follow button activated for just one of them, rather than all tracks.

other ways to record your guitar in garageband

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1) You can also use your macbook’s microphone. this is for very rough demos, obviously, because this way you’re going to make a very low quality recording. however, if you are desperate and want to record something, this method will work.

  • To do this, simply open a new “audio” track in your workspace.
  • and then click the “record” button.
  • start playing the guitar with your amp nearby, and that should be enough for a very rough demo.

2) You can also buy a guitar to usb cable and connect your guitar directly to garageband. this is also an inferior way to record guitar tracks, but it works if you have a limited string budget.

(This is what a guitar to usb plug looks like. I don’t have one so I couldn’t take a picture. I had to put these two pictures together, but this is what it looks like.)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is USB-to-Jack-.jpg

GarageBand will immediately recognize this as an input, so you don’t have to worry about there being compatibility issues.

however, like the previous method, you will likely experience latency.

3) use a small portable audio interface like the irig hd 2 (my dedicated review) if you plan on running just one instrument through your daw. this is more or less the same as the main method I described in detail above.

the only difference is that you will be using a much smaller and probably limited audio interface. The good thing about this is that it is relatively inexpensive. small interfaces are becoming extremely popular, like irig for example.

I haven’t bought one of these yet, but once I start traveling around Europe, I figure I’ll eventually buy one. I’ll be sure to write a review on it once I do.

update: you have to use the irig hd 2 if you want it to work with a pc or mac computer. irig 2 is only good for mobile devices.

Gear iRig HD2 Products (Edited)

4) Another popular way would be to mic your guitar amplifier up to your audio interface and then through GarageBand.

This is a decent option, but I’d rather run my guitar directly through garageband, rather than do this. the amps are too big and cumbersome and i would rather limit the amount of gear i have to just one guitar like my prs se custom 24 from zzounds and bluecat’s ax boutique plugin pack.

before you play your guitar in garageband, be aware that there is a default tuner right in the daw, although blue cat audio’s hot tuna (also in the plugin boutique) is much better. there was a time when I used the default tuner from time to time, but these days, I use the hot tuna instead because it’s so much better.

how to tune your guitar using garageband

1) your guitar is connected to the computer’s audio interface, so it’s as simple as clicking on the fretboard next to the center of the daw where the time signature is displayed , tempo and key signature.

2) When you click on the fretboard icon, the meter will appear where you can tune your guitar.

other functions

one of the best things about using a daw for your guitar is all the great vst plug-ins you can use for your guitar.

for example, you can download amp and cab simulators for your setup using my tutorial here, and while they may not sound as good as the original the plugins were modeled on, they still sound good enough to use, and they are good enough for the vast majority of people.

That’s all for now. If this helped you, please do me a favor and share it on social media.

youtube video tutorial


I hope this has been useful to you. share it on social networks, it would be much appreciated.

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