Apple basically is giving every Mac owner an 8 track digital recorder for free. That’s exactly what GarageBand is. If you’ve ever thought about hooking up your electric guitar to your MacBook and recording it with GarageBand – Here’s the simplest and cheapest way to do it.
Most guitarists already have an amplifier and cabling. What you will need in addition is another guitar cable (1/4″ to 1/4″) and a 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter plug. As far as additional equipment, that’s all you’ll need.
If you’re confused about the size of the adapter plug, the 1/8″ plug is a the same size as an iPod’s headphone plug. Your guitar cable is a 1/4″ plug.
Note: This entire tutorial assumes that you are not using an external audio interface.
The Set Up:
– Plug your guitar into your amplifier.
– Plug the second guitar cable into either the “Line-Out” port or the Headphone port.
– Attach the 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter to the other end of the second cable.
– Plug the second cable (with adapter) into the MacBook’s Line In port. (Next to the Headphone port).
– Go to System Preferences and choose Sound.
– Click on the Input tab.
– Choose “Line-In” for your input.
– Strum the guitar and set your levels. If all is right you will see the meters moving.
Working with GarageBand:
– Open GarageBand.
– Create a New Track.
– Choose “Real Instrument” for the type.
– Strum your guitar and you should see your meters moving.
– Record your music.
– Add effects and edit as desired.
That’s all you need to do for a simple recording setup. This will also work if you want to record an electric bass or a keyboard (with keyboard amp). For recording vocals, drums and acoustic guitar, you may use the internal microphone but the sound quality may not be so great.
If you are ready to move up to a more professional setup that will allow you better sound quality and more options, here’s some of my recommendations.