How to Make Beats on GarageBand

One of the best things about GarageBand is that it makes the music-making process so easy, and this also applies to making beats. With apple loops and the built-in drum machine, you can start making good beats in minutes. 

Hi there, I’m Donovan, and I’ve been making music in one way or another for most of my adult life. I have plenty of experience making beats on GarageBand and am familiar with what you can make happen with this awesome app. 

In this post, I’ll show you how to start making beats on GarageBand. I’ll point you to the best tools within the app to make this happen and give you some general advice on the elements of a good beat. 

Let’s get bumping.  

Can You Make Good Beats with GarageBand? 

There are no rules when it comes to how good beats are made. From the most basic drum machine to the most high-end studio in the world, good beats come in all shapes and sizes. Ultimately, a good beat is a good beat, regardless of what software or app allows you to make it. 

That said, you can certainly make good beats with GarageBand. And this is a great way for beginners to learn the beat-making process because the app is free, and you don’t need to dish out any money to get started. 

Ultimately, it usually comes down to the skills of the producer or composer when making a good beat. Practice makes perfect, and the more time you spend working on the craft, the better the beats you’ll be able to make.  

How to Make Beats on GarageBand Mac

The easiest way to get started with making beats on GarageBand on your Mac is to utilize some of the excellent tools that come built into the app. Using Apple Loops and a built-in drum machine, you can start making all sorts of sounds and compile them into killer beats. 

I’ll start things off here by telling you how to use Apple Loops to make a simple beat because that’s the quickest way to get started. The sky is always the limit for what you can do, but knowing the basic tools will allow you to practice and perfect as much as you want to. 

Make Beats on GarageBand using Apple Loops 

1. Open up a new project in GarageBand. You can either choose to use an Empty Project or choose the Hip Hop or Electronic preset options to take advantage of those presets. 

2. If you choose an empty project, you can start making a beat by adding an Apple Loop into the first track. You can do this by clicking on the Loop icon on the left side of the screen that looks like a roller coaster loop. 

3. When you click on the Loop icon, you’ll see a bunch of loop options come up on the right-hand side of the window. You can select any of these to insert a beat into the project and start building things from there. 

(Screenshot taken from GarageBand on my Mac)

4. With the foundation of the beat in the form of a loop now on your project, you can lay down other tracks. Click the Add Track button, which looks like a + sign on the upper left side of the window. 

I like to start with a fun synth sound or some other type of keyboard. This helps you layout a melodic line over the top of the Apple Loops beat. 

5. Hit the Record button to lay down any tracks you want to include on top of the loop. And add as many other tracks as you want to add texture and more interest to the beat. 

You can also make a beat from scratch without the assistance of a preset loop. This takes more skill but gives you more creative options in the long run.

Make a Beat on GarageBand Without Using Apple Loops

1. Open up a new empty project in GarageBand.

2. Select a drum track for your first track. You can choose any of the preset drum kit sounds or a drum machine. 

3. Hit the Record button and lay down a beat using the Keyboard roll. It’s a better idea to have an external MIDI keyboard if you want to make a good beat. This will help you keep on time and is easier to use than the Keyboard roll in the app.

4. Just like with making a beat using Apple Loops, you can start to add more tracks and instruments once you have the basic drum beat down. Just add another track and hit record to put more on the beat.  

How to Make Beats on GarageBand iPhone

You can also easily make beats on your iPhone with GarageBand. The iOS app makes it even simpler to start a good beat, so this might be a better place to start for beginners than making beats on a Mac. 

To make beats on GarageBand using iPhone, follow these steps: 

1. Open up the GarageBand app on your iPhone. 

2. Click the + button to open up a new project. 

3. You can either select the Drummer option for the Tracks tab or the Beat Master from the Live Loops tab. Both of these allow you to get started with making a beat quickly. 

4. The Beat Master option will give you a grid-like interface to start making a beat. You can turn different elements of the beat on or off by clicking through the options listed in the grid. Play around with this until you have a groove that you like. 

5. The Drummer option is also very intuitive and looks more like the standard recording window in GarageBand. You’ll see a set of drums and other parameters that you can adjust to start making a beat. 

By tapping on different pieces of the drum kit, you’ll alter the preset beat. You can also move the slider on the left side to make the beat more or less complex and adjust the volume.  

Tips for Making Beats on GarageBand

There are endless tips to help you create beats in GarageBand, but I’ll touch on a few here to get you pointed in the right direction. 

The first thing to know about making a good beat in GarageBand, whether that is a trap beat, a rap beat, or an electronic beat, is that you need to keep things in time. Utilize the metronome feature of the app to help you out with this. 

I think that having external equipment like a MIDI keyboard or even a small drum machine helps out with the beat-making process. This gives you more control over the beat and helps you find your rhythm and flow a lot better. 

But you can also make a good beat without a keyboard and without any instruments. You’ll just need to get really familiar with working within the app itself to make this happen. 

Another good tip is to listen to some of your favorite beats and try to recreate them for practice. You might not be able to get things exactly set up like the pros, but this exercise will help you learn how to analyze and dissect a beat to make it better in the long run. 

Final Thoughts

GarageBand allows you to make a sweet beat pretty quickly. Apple Loops and the built-in drummers and drum machine instruments give you all the tools to start making solid beats in a matter of minutes. 

You’ll need to practice to make a really good beat and improve your skills, but GarageBand is the perfect platform for anyone just getting started with the process. 

Do you have any tips or tricks for making beats in GarageBand that were not mentioned in this post? Let me know in the comments below! 

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