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How to Add a New Track in Mac’s GarageBand

You record the separate parts of a GarageBand recording on tracks. Each instrument in a GarageBand recording is laid down on a different track, which allows you to control its volume, rhythm, and other aspects separately. You can add software instrument tracks, real instrument tracks, and other tracks to a GarageBand recording.

GarageBand supplies more than 100 digitally sampled software instruments, heard as you play a small on-screen keyboard by clicking its keys with the mouse. When you create a new track, you can choose from these software instruments, or download more instruments from the Internet. You can also plug real instruments into your Mac and record them.


Click the Create a New Track (+) button and choose Track→New Track

You can also press the keyboard combination Alt/Option +Command+N. A window slides into view offering some choices.


Select Software Instrument to add a software instrument track.

You can change your instrument selection from Grand Piano to any other available instrument. To do so, choose an instrument category from the left column of the Track Info pane (Pianos and Keyboards in this case) and a software instrument in the right column (Whirly).


To add a track for a real instrument, select Real Instrument instead.

Select an instrument on the left, and an effect (such as Helium Breath) on the right. You can also choose No Effects to get pure sound.

Odd though it may seem, besides Software Instrument and Real Instrument, you can also choose Electric Guitar (a “real instrument” if there ever was one) to record using GarageBand’s built-in amps and stompbox effects.


Click Create.

A new track shows up in the Tracks list, accompanied in the header by its icon, name (Grand Piano until you change it), and several tiny controls. Among other functions, these controls let you mute the track, lock it to prevent editing changes, make it a solo, set volume levels, and more.

You can open the Track Info pane anytime by clicking the little i icon at the lower-right corner of the screen. Alternatively, choose Track→Show Track Info or press Command+I.

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