Apple launches a new updated Garageband which is set to change how we use Technology in the music world using an iPad. We look at some of the highlights and explore it's most exciting features.

GaragebandWhile travelling in the back of the tour bus I normally pack my acoustic guitar to write new melodies and come up with interesting chord combinations for my solo album to run down the miles. I always keep my trusty notebook and sharpened pencil close-by to make notes of all my ‘eureka’ moments. The downfall of this I have noticed over the years is that they don’t always translate naturally when I play them on my electric guitar. What to do? If only there was some way I could use my Gibson LP and hear the sound I am looking for without lugging Amps and a power supply around too. What about a way of recording those ‘flights of musical fantasy’ so I can listen back to them at a later date much like a digital pocket diary? Or even better share them with others without the pressure of doing it live and forgetting what comes after Am7?

This surely is asking a lot you might think. However help is at hand from our friends at Apple and boy they really have delivered this time. Imagine a scenario where you plug your electric guitar into your iPad and it becomes a real-time amp instantly. Sure the volume is not loud enough to entertain large crowd with, but that isn’t the point of this technological wonder. Taking it a step further it provides the user with a choice of 10 realistic sounding Effects pedals which can be combined for sound and independently controlled. Even better it will record everything that is produced in both stereo and digital format which can be uploaded to iTunes and emailed to others instantly.

Another feature certainly worth highlighting is the ability to add backing tracks to any guitar pieces you record. This was once the preserve of late nights in rehearsal studios losing the plot trying to communicate your vision of a song while the clock ticked on and on. Now I can add drums, base, rhythm guitar and a whole host of other instruments and send it to the band and ask them to add their own musical genius to the track. As a band we are far more productive in rehearsal and the creative process is much easier... in fact I would almost say it flows at times! 

And what about for those really creative pieces where someone suggests that a Cello would really enhance the song chorus. Sure there will always be laughter, followed by a detailed discussion starting with ‘does anyone know a friend with a Cello?’ or ‘how about using a Violin instead’? Yes, we have all felt the frustration of starting the rehearsal all guns blazing before falling into endless winding discussion and confusion. I’m happy to report that now I can add a Cello, Violin or even a Cow Bell piece to the track within minutes... and either it works musically, or it doesn’t. Either way this has to be one of the most impressive features of Garageband.

Not to be left out, the song writer or singer will find this useful too. Bands work in a variety of ways to create a workable song and very often the singer will actually have put pen to paper for once in his life before sharing the idea for a song. Instead of plugging in a guitar, the iPad can take a microphone to record the session which can then be sent by email. If the singer is musically knowledgable in any way they can lay down drums and guitar pieces to it aswell for the complete package.

So what’s the damage for this little peace-maker? Well clearly you’ll need to have your electric guitar already sorted, then there’s owning an iPad, but once you have those crucial pieces Garageband is a tiny €3.99 for all the features mentioned here and includes many more. In fact it’s the same price as the last bag of plectrums I bought in X-Music a few weeks ago... so a bargain by any standard! 

As always there is a learning curve in getting to grips with any new piece of software, but in this case the interface is very intuitive and everything is where you think it should be in the touch menus. I really struggle to say anything bad about Garageband and if you use it creatively by sharing ideas via music files before hiring a rehearsal studio, then you will recoup the cost of the iPad itself fairly quickly. There are many more great features of this application that I could rave about, but perhaps now is the best time to see it in action for yourself Here

by Liam Carey @Bandpages_ie