How To Change Instruments Used By Loops In GarageBand

When you use Software Instrument Loops in GarageBand, you can switch the instrument used by the loop to something else. For instance, a piano loop can be changed to use guitar or orchestral strings. You can also change the drum kit instrument used by drum loops. Software Instrument Loops can even be edited at the note level to create unique loops.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: How To Change Instruments Used By Loops In GarageBand.

You can use GarageBand to create music for different projects that you have like background for videos, slideshows, or whatever you want. You can do it even without using an instrument or even having one connected to your Mac because you can use the loops which you access here with this Loops button. There's all sorts of different ways to search through Loops and see what loops are available and different types of loops. You can combine them in interesting ways and different tracks to create something.

Now there are two different types of loops. The blue loops with the little wave form here those are actual recordings. So when you have those in there there's only so much you can do to change them. You can change the tempo. You can, you know, edit them with filters a little bit. But a piano is still going to be a piano. These green ones here though with the musical notes they're actually notes and instruments assigned to them. So you can change the instrument. This makes these far more versatile.

So, for instance, let's take this first one right here. I can test it by just clicking on it. Hear the piano. I can drag it in here to add it to my song. I can even see the musical notes here. They're represented by little lines as part of a piano roll type of representation of music. Now I have it in here and I can play it.(Music.) But I can also change the instrument. So the way to do that is click here to open up the Library. This is the instrument library. It will allow me to select a new instrument. You can see the default instrument for this track was classic electric piano. That's what's selected. But I can change it to something else. Like a different type of keyboard. Now I can play it.

I can even go to a completely different type of instrument like a hard rock guitar. You're going to see different instruments than me because it's what I have installed. (Music playing.) I can go to an orchestra, to strings (music playing.) So you can see this gives me far more variety than the regular type of audio recording loop because I can select from all the different instruments I have. As a matter of fact I can even go in and if I wanted to double click on the instrument here it brings up Settings. The settings are going to look different for each type of instrument. There are different settings for each one. So there's a lot that you can do here to actually fine tune the instrument even beyond the default instrument. So the combinations are almost infinite.

Now in addition to actually having like a melody that you can change you can also do this with Beats. So I'm going to delete this track here and go into Loop Browser, and go into All Drums and just find a drum loop here that is not blue. So it has a green icon there. This is something that I can change. So I can bring it in here and I can set this to loop by the way. I'll extend this out here so now it's going to loop and continue to play as I test out new instruments. So I'll go into the Library here. You can see when I select this I can now go into say Drum Kits and I can change the drum kit to something else, like that. So let's hear that and then I'll keep selecting new drum kits. (drums playing.)

So that gives you a ton of variety because there's a lot of different drum kits and you can really change the sound of your song by changing the drum kit with the beat. Now you can even edit this. If I double click on the track here it brings up the piano roll here at the bottom and I can select notes. I can move them up and down. I can delete them. Do all sorts of things with them. So you can do little tiny edits to a beat like this to actually change what it sounds like completely and create your own. So you have even more variety if you take into account the note editing that you can do in GarageBand.

You can combine these loops. Create a very unique sounding song. You don't have to use the loops as they are. It's a lot of fun. It's really easy and quick to create something that you can use in projects.

Comments: 4 Responses to “How To Change Instruments Used By Loops In GarageBand”

    1 month ago

    What version of garage band are you using? I have 10.3.2

    1 month ago

    Dan: I always use the latest for my tutorials. 10.3.2 is the current version.

    Joseph L. Juliano
    1 month ago

    I find Garage Band so confusing and I’ve been a pro musician for 50 years. That may be why—pre digital. Would you confider a Udemy course of the basic song production. YouTubes don’t start basic enough, simple guitar recordings. I’ve reverted to cassette but can’t do multi track.
    Thanks for MacMost

    1 month ago

    Joseph: I’d love to do a course on GarageBand, but two things hold me back. First, GarageBand is huge. A comprehensive course would also have to be huge. So a lot of work and a low return since not as many people use it as other apps. I could easily make a big course and not have time to cover certain aspects of GarageBand, and then have people sign up for it that use only those aspects I didn’t cover. The second reason is that I’m not a musician. I don’t think it would make sense for me to make a course on GarageBand as I can’t even demonstrate simple things like the very thing you want: simple guitar recordings.

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