With GarageBand for the iPad, Apple has brought an inexpensive, very powerful music recording studio right to your favorite mobile device. This fantastic $5.00 app lets anyone with an iPad create, record, and enjoy making music, even if they have little experience with recording software or musical instruments.
With a killer beat in place, it’s time to add the second (mostly unsung) hero of modern music: the bass. Whether your tastes run to big, fat and bottom heavy or to quick, snappy and distorted, GarageBand has you covered. With GarageBand for iPad, you can create bass tracks that sound incredibly good with very little knowledge or expertise. Let’s take a look at the simplest way to do just that: Smart Bass.
Smart Bass allows you to play the four string instrument without any previous experience. I prefer to put down a bass track on top of some drums, but your preference may vary. If you choose to put drums down first, use your example from yesterday’s tip, or add a quick drum loop that stretches across eight measures. Then tap on the Instruments at the top of the screen to select Smart Bass. You may need to swipe left or right to find it. Once you do, though, tap it to open it up in your song.
Notice that the default view shows you a bass instrument in the upper left corner, typically the Liverpool style bss made famous by Sir Paul McCartney. Tap on the picture to choose one of the other eight bass sound choices. I grabbed Picked for this example. The background of the bass guitar changes to the bass instrument you chose, which is super fun.
Tap the Play triangle at the top of the screen to get your drum tracks rolling, and then take a look at the bass screen. There’s a toggle switch that lets more advanced bass players tap representations of the bass strings as they might on a real bass. Make sure the silver toggle switch is set to Chords. A new option shows up, and the strings disappear. The AutoPlay option allows up to four different patterns to play when you tap in the column under the chord names. Tapping on a new column changes the notes the bass will autoplay, while changing the number in the autoplay section will change the arpeggiation of those notes. If you turn off AutoPlay, the bass strings come back up, even with the keyboard bass sounds. Odd, but it makes sense. The strings will now play one of four notes within an arpeggio, but only when you tap them
Choose a bass sound, then one of the AutoPlay options that best fits with your drum track, then hit the red Record button at the top of the screen. Tap the chording columns in time with the music, and GarageBand will record the changes as you tap them out. Swipe across the measure ruler on the top to switch over to a new eight bars to record over. Repeat until your song is filled with sexy bass and drums. You did it!
Feel free to share links to songs you’re creating along the way – we’d love to hear them.