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Lesson 4. Working with Real Instruments > Adding Preset and Custom Effects

Adding Preset and Custom Effects

In the old days of recording electric guitars—less than a decade ago—the particular sound the guitar made was determined by the amplifier, stage, and additional recording equipment used by engineers to alter the sound. Amplifiers were just big black speakers used to project the sound of an electric instrument. Now that digital recording has emerged, the new amplifiers have settings to alter the sound of the guitar itself.

GarageBand builds this extraordinary technology into the software with an effect called amp simulator. Amp simulation lets you change the sound of the guitar as you play and record. All you have to do is play your guitar, and then select the type of amplifier simulation sound and feel for your guitar. For those of you raised on a computer, this may not seem like a big deal, but for those of us who used to perform on stage with amplifiers and racks of equipment, it’s huge.

Preparing the Project

If you recorded a guitar riff, keep your project open as is. If you didn’t record with a guitar or you prefer to use the prebuilt project, follow these steps:

1.
Choose File > Open and select 4-1 GuitarTest Starting from the Lesson_04 folder.

2.
Choose File > Save As and save the 4-1 GuitarTest Starting project to your GarageBand Songs folder on the Desktop.

Using Amp Simulation

At this time, there is only one track, titled No Effects, in the Timeline, with a recorded Real Instrument region that is also titled No Effects.

1.
Press the spacebar to play the guitar region in the Timeline so that you can hear the part with no effects.

Now let’s listen to it with one of the different guitar amp simulators. To change the sound, all you have to do is change the track info.

2.
Double-click the track header to open the Track Info window.

The Track Info window opens.

3.
Click-drag the top of the Track Info window to move it below the track in the Timeline.

You want to be able to see both the track and the Track Info window at the same time.

4.
Click Arena Rock to change the sound of the guitar amplifier to Arena Rock.

The name of the track changes as well as the sound.

5.
Press the Home key to move the playhead to the beginning of the Timeline.

6.
Play the track and listen to the guitar part using the Arena Rock amplifier sound.

7.
Click the Cycle button and create a cycle region above the recorded guitar region in the Timeline.

8.
Play the track again. This time, click through all the different guitar amplifier sounds as the track plays to hear them one at a time.

Note

GarageBand 2 comes with 9 new amplifier simulations for a total of 15. Additional amplifier sounds are available in the Jam Pack expansion packages.

Tip

You can use your up and down arrow keys to cycle through the different guitar amplifier sounds.

Notice that each guitar amp simulator sounds different.

9.
Select No Effects in the Track Info window.

Our next step will be to add some effects to our No Effects track.

Adding Custom Effects to a Track

The fact that your current track is called No Effects and has no effects doesn’t mean that you can’t add effects to it. This exercise will acquaint you with the effects included in GarageBand and how to add one to a track. You will work more with effects later in this book. For now, you will just add a simple effect like Reverb.

1.
Double-click the No Effects track again to reopen the Track Info window, if it isn’t already open.

Note

When you selected No Effects, the track icon changed back to a speaker.

2.
Locate the Details triangle at the bottom-left corner of the Track Info window.

3.
Click the Details triangle to get more details about the effects used in the track.

The Track Info window expands to reveal additional information about the track.

4.
Locate Reverb in the list of effects.

Notice that all of the sliders to the right of the effects are disabled (gray).

5.
Click the box to the left of Reverb to add reverb to the track.

You can now adjust the slider to the right of the Reverb effect. By default the slider is set to 0 (no reverb). The highest setting is 100.

6.
Click-drag the Reverb slider around halfway (to approximately 50).

Let’s test the new reverb before closing the Track Info window.

7.
Turn on the cycle region, if it isn’t already on. Then listen to the track with the reverb.

You can also adjust the effect while you listen to playback by moving the slider.

8.
Play the region again and adjust the slider as you listen.

Repeat this process until you get the reverb just the way you like it. I’m going to stick with around 50 on mine. Don’t close the Track Info window yet.

You have successfully added the Reverb effect to your track.

Viewing Selected Instruments

Before you save the instrument effect you created, let’s take a look at one of the new GarageBand 2 features—the View Instrument pop-up menu at the top of the Track Info window.

This new pop-up menu allows you to choose which instruments to view in the Track Info window.

1.
Click the View Instrument pop-up to see the different options.

The View Instrument pop-up includes four default settings: Show All, My Settings, Shared Settings on my Mac, and GarageBand. If you have any of the Jam Pack expansion packages installed on your computer, they will show up on the list too. As you can see, I have Jam Pack 1 installed.

Note

Your pop-up may vary from mine depending on which custom loops, instruments, or Jam Packs you have installed on your computer.

2.
Choose Show All from the View Instrument pop-up.

This setting will show all of your instruments in the instrument list, including customized settings that you create and save.

Saving an Instrument

Now that you’ve added an effect to your track, you can save the instrument with your custom effect to your list of instruments. Once you have saved an instrument sound, you can use it again on different tracks or projects.

1.
Click the Save Instrument button in the lower-right corner of the Track Info window.

The Save Instrument window opens.

2.
Type Guitar with Reverb in the Save as field and click Save.

Guitar with Reverb appears in the Guitars instrument list.

3.
Click the Details triangle to hide the details portion of the window.

4.
Close the Track Info window.

The track in your Timeline is now called Guitar with Reverb.

You can use this method to create and save different instruments that you want to use later.

Project Task

Let’s reopen the Track Info window and change the View Instruments pop-up to show only your settings.

1.
Double-click the Guitar with Reverb track header to open the Track Info window.

2.
Change the View Instruments pop-up to My Settings.

The My Settings view shows only the instruments that you have customized and saved.

3.
Change the View Instruments pop-up back to Show All.

Deleting a Saved Instrument

Sometimes you may wish to delete a saved instrument. Maybe you have too many saved instruments, and you want to clean up the cluttered instrument list. Or maybe you don’t need a saved instrument anymore because you created a new instrument you like better.

Whatever the circumstances, deleting a saved instrument is quite easy. All you have to do is open the Track Info window, select the saved instrument you wish to delete, and click the Delete Instrument button.

Let’s delete the Guitar with Reverb saved instrument from the list in the Track Info window.

1.
Select Guitar with Reverb from the list. (It should already be selected.)

2.
Click the Details triangle to show the track details.

3.
Click the Delete Instrument button in the lower-left corner of the Track Info window.

A dialog box opens to ask if you really want to delete the instrument.

4.
Click Remove to remove the instrument.

5.
Close the Track Info window.

The track retains the name and effects you originally added, but it is no longer a saved instrument in the Track Info window.

6.
Click the Cycle button to hide the cycle region, if it is still showing.

There you have it. Now you can add effects, save the instrument with effects, and delete saved instruments.

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