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Garageband Tips and Shortcuts

URL’s for Garageband support

The above site is an ongoing discussion group where you can

ask questions and search a database for past discussions.

GarageBand Keyboard Shortcuts

You can use your keyboard to quickly accomplish many tasks in

GarageBand. To find the shortcuts for common commands, look in the
menus (or see the menu shortcuts below). To complete an action, press
the shortcut keys indicated below.

Navigation/Moving the playhead


Space bar

Go to beginning
Home or Z

Go to end
End or Option-Z

Move back by one measure

Left arrow

Move forward by one measure

Right arrow

Move back by the visible width of the timeline

Page up

Move forward by the visible width of the timeline

Page down

Zoom out
Control-Left arrow

Zoom in
Control-Right arrow



Create new track


Duplicate track

Delete selected track


Select next higher track

Up arrow

Select next lower track

Down arrow

Mute/Unmute selected track


Solo/Unsolo selected track


Show/Hide track volume curve


Show/Hide master track


Track Info Window

Show/Hide Track Info

Select next higher category or instrument

Up arrow (when track info window is open and either a category or an
instrument is selected)

Select next lower category or instrument

Down arrow (when track info window is open and either a category or
an instrument is selected)

Move from instrument column to category column

Left arrow (when track info window is open and an instrument is

Move from category column to instrument column

Right arrow (when track info window is open and a category is

New Track Dialog


Select next higher category or instrument

Up arrow (when New Track dialog is open and either a category or an
instrument is selected)

Select next lower category or instrument

Down arrow (when New Track dialog is open and either a category or
an instrument is selected)

Move from instrument column to category column

Left arrow (when New Track dialog is open and an instrument is

Move from category column to instrument column

Right arrow (when New Track dialog is open and a category is selected)

Toggle between Real/Software Instrument options


Editing and Arranging








Select all

Split region

Join selected regions


Snap to grid



Record Start/Stop

Turn cycle region on/off


Turn metronome on/off


Adjusting master volume

Raise master volume
Command-Up arrow

Lower master volume

Command-Down arrow

Showing windows and editors


Show track mixer


Show track info window


Show track editor


Show loop browser


Show onscreen keyboard


File menu functions






Save As...

Application menu functions


Show/Hide GarageBand Preferences

Command-comma (,)

Hide GarageBand

Hide other applications


Quit GarageBand

GarageBand 3 Hot Tips

If you're looking to get the most out of GarageBand 3, here are some
nifty tips and tricks that will have you making music like a pro. For
maximum efficiency, use GarageBand keyboard shortcuts to quickly
accomplish many tasks.

Maximize Your Mac's Instrument and Effects Capabilities

GarageBand's instruments and effects are pro quality, and are always
played in real-time. However, using too many can take its toll on your
Mac's processor. Here are some suggestions that will allow your Mac to
use more of them:

Turn Software Instrument Loops into Real Instrument Loops—

Software Instrument loops (green loops) are a combination of a
software instrument and effects and are fully customizable—you can
change the instrument, effects, and even the loop's individual notes.
However, they have higher CPU requirements than Real Instrument
loops (blue loops), which play prerecorded audio (you can't change the
performance). If you want to use more Software Instrument loops, turn
them into Real Instrument loops to spare your system resources. Just
Option-drag a Software Instrument loop from the loop browser into the

The top loop is an original Software Instrument loop; the bottom one is
its converted Real Instrument version.
Lock Unused Tracks—When you lock a track, GarageBand
automatically renders that track to your hard drive, freeing up CPU
power. When you're happy with how your tracks sound, lock as many
tracks as you like by clicking the lock icon in each track. Then click the
Play button to render your locked tracks to your hard disk. Locked
tracks sound identical to unlocked ones, and you can still adjust the
volume and pan at any time. If you need to do further editing (such as
adjusting effects, changing notes, and moving regions), simply unlock
the track (click the lock icon), make your adjustments, and then relock

IMPORTANT: Locking tracks shifts the performance burden from the

CPU and RAM to the hard drive. Systems with slower hard drives won't
benefit as much from this feature.

Click a track's lock icon to render the track to your hard drive amd free
up RAM and CPU power.

Improve Pitch and Timing Issues in Recorded Tracks

Like the best recording engineers, GarageBand can help improve pitch
problems (like if you sang off-key) and timing issues after you've
recorded your performance. Just click any recorded audio track (they're
purple) and click the Edit button (scissors) to open the editor.

Enhance Tuning—To improve pitch problems, move the Enhance

Tuning slider to the right. This moves all notes to the nearest note in
the 12-note chromatic scale (default) or in the song's key (select the
“Limit to Key” checkbox). If you move the slider to “max,” you can
create a cool synthetic effect that's popular in some styles of modern

Enhance Timing—To improve timing issues, move the Enhance

Timing slider to the right to tighten up guitar, bass, and other rhythmic
tracks. This moves notes to the nearest beat as dictated by what
appears in the pop-up menu below the slider (you can change the
timing from 1/16 Note up to 1/4 Note).

Enhance Tuning and Enhance Timing can help you improve your less-
than-stellar recorded performances.

Customize the Loop Browser

By default, GarageBand displays 30 keyword buttons in the loop
browser, but you can customize what it shows. If you want to see the
entire collection, drag the gray brushed metal area above the loop
browser upward to reveal them. You can swap the positions of two
buttons by dragging one on top of another. You can also reassign a
button's keyword by Control-clicking a button and choosing any
available Apple Loops keyword from the shortcut menu. To view loops
by package (such as those from specific Jam Packs, third-party loop
libraries, or loops you've created), click the Loops title bar and choose
a package from the pop-up menu.

Jam on Any Mac Keyboard

GarageBand 3 features Musical Typing, which allows you to play any

software instrument using your Mac keyboard. From the Window
menu, choose Musical Typing to open its window, which displays
which Mac keyboard keys correspond with what musical keyboard keys.
You can audition instruments and even record performances right on
your computer keyboard. Play melody lines or even chords. Use the Z
and X keys to move down and up octaves to access all registers of your
chosen instrument.

With Musical Typing, you can play any software instrument right on
your Mac keyboard.

Tune Your Guitar or Bass

GarageBand 3 features a built-in instrument tuner to help you get your

instruments in perfect tune. To use it, enable a Real Instrument track
for recording (click the red Record Enable button on the track). In the
time display, click the tuning fork icon in the upper left corner to
display the instrument tuner. Make sure that your instrument is
connected to your computer, and play a note. The tuning meter will tell
you what note is being played and how far off you are from the proper
pitch—shoot for the zero (0) mark. The tuner displays a green light
once you've hit perfect pitch.

The instrument tuner can tell you if your guitar or bass is in tune.
Here, our guitar's E string is a bit sharp.

Optimize Your Musical Keyboard

USB and MIDI keyboards all have different feels—that is, they respond
differently to your finger pressure to trigger note velocities. This can
have an impact on Software Instruments that play alternative sounds
when you strike a key at maximum velocity (for example, a string slide
on an acoustic guitar). Some keyboards may force you to really pound
the keys to play the alternative sound, while others may play the
sound with too light of a touch. If you want to optimize the sensitivity
of your keyboard to your playing style, do this:
1. Add a New Track in GarageBand by clicking the plus sign (+)
2. In the New Track dialog, click the Software Instrument tab.
3. Select Guitars in the left column, select Classical Acoustic in
the right column, and click Create.
4. From the GarageBand menu, choose Preferences.
5. Click Audio/MIDI, then drag the Keyboard Sensitivity slider left
to make it harder to play string slides, or right to make it easier.

Your keyboard should now be optimized for all other instruments that
feature maximum velocity note variations.

Create Your Own Loops

There are tons of great loops available on the market, including those
found in Jam Packs, but if you truly want to be unique, make your own.
GarageBand 3 allows you to do just that. Before you do, make sure that
your song's key is set to the right one if you're recording from scratch
(the default is C). Record a performance (or modify an existing loop in
the timeline), and then do this:
1. Use the Split command to trim the region's beginning and
ending to your desired length.
2. Drag the region from the timeline into the loop browser.
3. In the sheet that appears, give your loop a name and define
its sound attributes, which will be used for loop searching.
4. Click Create.

You can now browse for your loop in the loop browser and add it to any
song in any tempo or key.

Create Your Own Software Instruments

To create your own Software Instruments, add a new Software

Instrument track, then click the Details disclosure triangle in the New
Track section of the main window. From the Generator pop-up menu,
choose an instrument on which you want to base your new sound, go
wild with the Effects settings, and click Create to add the track to the
timeline. Then double-click the track and click Save Instrument in the
Track Info window.
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