Guitar players - help with Garageband?


macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 22, 2008
I'm not sure if this is posted in the right place, but if anyone could help me out, I would really appreciate it.

I want to be able to play this song via the Garageband app, so I can re-record it for a birthday gift. It sounds fairly simple, and I've found the guitar tabs, but I can't figure out how to translate it into Garageband. I think I need to play those strings on the 12th fret? I don't know how to have the app sound like a similar guitar, and I have no idea if it's possible to play at different frets. Here are the tabs for the song.

Can anyone explain how to play the song, in the simplest terms possible? I need to know how to change the app to sound correctly, and then where to actually play. If anyone can do this, I would sincerely appreciate it!



Apr 15, 2012
I've played around with it and will try to explain how it works (I'm on iPad mini right now)

1. Create a new song in Garage Band, select "Smart Guitar" - the "Guitar recording screen" opens
2. Hit "Record" and just play a few random notes on the guitar fretboard
3. In the menu bar on the right beside "Instruments" you can select between the "Guitar display" (left icon, with guitar and circle) and the "Song Section view" (icon made up from rectangles), select the "Song Section view"
4. Now you should see a green block containing the notes that you have recorded - double tap it and hit "edit" - this brings you to the "piano roll" - a view of the notes and a fretboard on the left showing the according notes.

Important: Push the "Edit" slider in the top left corner to the right so that you can edit your recording. You can manually delete and add notes and change their length (by selecting the right edge of them). Hit "Done" on the top right to get back to the "Song Section view". Here you can change the length of the block that you have created, also you can copy blocks and paste them (move the bar to the end of a section to paste any copied block there).

I'd suggest to play around with it for a bit, get a feel for how notes are inserted, deleted and then create the basic blocks - the tab that you've linked consists of three different sections which just need to be arranged - copied and pasted - accordingly to the song structure.

The basic concept is that you're not actually "playing on the guitar view" but you're using the "Piano Roll" to insert the notes manually, there is no other way in Garage Band to translate tabs / notes to a song 100%

Here's a quick preview of what it sounds like, unfortunately it seems you cannot share raw song data so I can only share the audio
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macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 22, 2008
Thank you so much for taking the time to figure all of that out. I've gotten it much closer now than I was before. Doesn't sound quite as close as yours, but yours was helpful to try to base which blocks I should be playing at.

Thanks again!


macrumors 604
Nov 5, 2009
so you know you can just connect your guitar to gb and record also?

or are you trying to replicate a guitar sound using tabs inside garage band?

If you want to use notes I remember I used guitar pro for practicing, so you can write the notes appropriately there.

you can also just remove the vocals from the original, search for a program GL


macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
Midlife, Midwest
OK: I think I understand what your question is.

In the tab, it shows playing the 12th fret on the B string, which in standard tuning gives a B note. And it shows a 10th fretted note on the A string, which is a G.

Since the iPad version of Garageband only has the first eight frets , you cannot play a twelfth fretted B note. Nor can you play a 10th fretted A string, which is a G.

However, music theory comes to your rescue, since the seventh fret on the high E string is exactly the same note: B And the fifth fret of the D string produces the same G note as the 10th fret on the A string.

Just play the 7th fret of the top string (on the iPad garageband fretboard), along with the 5th of the D string (third from the bottom), and you will achieve exactly the same sound. Those are the notes shown with the 12/10 in the tab. The other notes can be played as tabbed. (I guess you know how to play an open string 0 on the iPad app?)

BTW, playing two notes at the same time is called a double-stop.

PS: I hope I explained that clearly enough. Ask again if you need more help. The tab of that song is certainly playable on the Garageband Smartguitar App - there aren't any super high notes, which would be inaccessible.
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