Creating simple beats in GarageBand
February 24, 2017 10:51 AM   Subscribe

I am a GarageBand newbie/occasional user looking to create super-simple, sort of lo-fi beats I can then track some acoustic guitar and vocals over. Right now my only option seems to be to select one of the built-in loops, which are all super produced-sounding and complex, and then dragging that beat along the timeline until I get it out to where i want it. What I would like to do is something like I believe you can do in Ableton, where you have 16 little squares and you can assign each a different sound -- kick, snare, etc. -- and once I have that sequence dialed in, drag it into a new track and just select the amount of time I want it to loop for. Is anything like that possible in Garageband, or is the only option to drag the prerecorded loops along the timeline? I am not looking to play my own drum track on the keyboard.
posted by Clustercuss to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Here is a good basic video on making some drum beats in Garage Band.

And here is an older video about using the Simply Drummer feature. A virtual drummer system that lets you pick some styles of drummer and their kits.
posted by dreamling at 11:01 AM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, if you don't need high specificity, I'd recommend the garage band virtual drummers too. They can do usually do most classic styles you know of, and within a few minutes of fiddling with their parameters I'm usually fairly happy. But, they cannot be given literal specific instructions, and so you can't make them play *your* beat.

I don't think Garage Band has the kind of thing you describe. That is more the domain of drum machines (software and hardware), and full DAWs like Ableton et al.

But - there are also many options outside of Ableton and Garage band. Lots of free and paid software on a variety of platoforms, and also drum machine hardware can be relatively inexpensive these days.

Just spitballing: the Pocket Operator line of mini synthesizers is currently selling like hotcakes. The PO-12 might be just the kind of fun little lo-fi beat maker you'd love. $60 MSRP, Guitar center was selling them for $30 recently.
posted by SaltySalticid at 12:29 PM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: GarageBand on iOS has the grid interface thing that you're looking for.
posted by emelenjr at 12:57 PM on February 24, 2017

Something to maybe check out is Hydrogen (it says GNU/Linux, but there's a Mac version too). It's a pretty neat (and free) drum sequencer that works pretty well, and I have fun with it. I've been meaning to try it with GarageBand, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
posted by General Malaise at 1:08 PM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can totally do this in Garageband. Basically, just make a new instrument track and select a drum kit. Drum sounds will then be mapped to the piano roll so you can make whatever beat you want.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:34 PM on February 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: P.S., that guy suggests playing the drum track on your keyboard using layering, but if you want to enter the notes using a mouse that's called "step sequencing" and you can also do that in GarageBand.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:38 PM on February 24, 2017

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