“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” - Aldous Huxley
Most people have streamed or listened to music online. Most music nowadays is listened to online. Most people are familiar with Spotify, Deezer, Soundcloud, or YouTube for listening to our favourite songs and discovering new ones.
Whether you’re an amateur guitarist or a professional, you might be interested in recording software so that you can share and upload your composition onto these platforms.
But how can you do it on a Mac?
In this article, we're going to look at music making software, the best tools for music production, and which digital audio workstation (DAW) you should use for music creation and audio editing on your Mac.
In another article, we will look at all of the great tools available online to advance your guitar playing...
How to Record the Sound from Your Guitar
There are different ways to capture the sound from your guitar, but it’ll depend on the type of guitar you’re using:
- If you have an acoustic guitar, you’ll have to use a microphone (either a built-in microphone or an external microphone)
- If you have an electro-acoustic guitar or an electric guitar, you can use a microphone, plug your amp directly into your computer, or plug the jack into a pre-amp or external sound card.
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You can also use a mini-recorder to plug your guitar directly into mini-recorder via the jack. A mini-recorder is light, easy to transport, and can record onto devices such as SD cards. On the other hand, you can’t do multi-track recording.
If you have the money, the best solution is to get quality recording equipment and set up your own home studio. This obviously isn’t the most common method used as it’s expensive. All this equipment can cost you around a grand and you’ll also need a powerful computer. Furthermore, most free programmes won’t be good enough for what you’re trying to do.
You’ll also need to buy monitor speakers and you can expect to pay several hundred for them. As you’ll have probably understood, if you’re just starting off and aren’t a professional, you probably don’t want to spend thousands of pounds on professional-grade recording equipment to record your guitar.
Three Steps for Recording Music on Your Mac
To record music onto your Mac, you can’t just plug your guitar into the computer. You need to take the following steps.
Open Your Recording and Editing Software
We’ll have a look at some of the programmes for the Mac later on the article. However, no matter which programme you’re using, you’re going to have to open it and start a new project.
Let’s take Logic Pro, for example. To record, you’re going to need to go to Audio and Create Audio Track. Make sure you regularly save projects as you work on them.
Choose the Input for Your Sound Card
We’re going to assume you’re using a sound card that provides quality audio recording. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. You’ll just need to ensure that your microphone is plugged in.
When you record your guitar, you’re going to need to choose the input for the instrument on your sound card. Certain external sound cards allow you to choose the inputs via the touch of a button. Finally, connect your instrument.
Set Up the Programme and Start Recording
At this point, you’re almost ready to start recording. You just have to:
- Choose the right input on your programme.
- Choose the sampling frequency
- Adjust the buffer
- Activate monitoring and start recording.
- You’ll then be able to listen to what you record.
If the levels are too low, you want to change the levels on your sound card or input device rather than on the programme first. It’s the input you’ll need to alter.
Of course, to record a guitar solo, you first need to learn how to play. So look up guitar lessons London or Cambridge today!
How different are these instructions from those for recording music on a PC?
Recording Guitar with Garage Band
Garage Band is a complete suite for recording, mixing, and sharing music.
To record sound, you’ll need to plug in your microphone or external sound card into your mac or use one of the virtual instruments via your keyboard or MIDI keyboard. Once you’ve finished recording, you can edit the sound, add guitar effects, or create a hip-hop, dubstep, electro, or rock beat to your music.
There are hundreds of loops and samples you can download to your Apple device.
You can use 255 different tracks. Of course, you use these to mix several instruments together, too. You can then share your music on social networks or the Apple Music Connect platform.
As with most things on Mac, the interface is clean and intuitive.
Recording Your Guitar with Cubase
When it comes to Computer Music, Cubase has all the functionality you can ask for and modules that meet the demands of professional musicians.
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You can compose music on your electro-acoustic guitar, record via an amp, and edit and mix your own songs. You can save your melodies and tracks with MIDI sequencing, too. This can be used to record, edit, and play music using the MIDI interface.
There are also plenty of VST plugins available as well as MIDI plugins and virtual instruments. Cubase isn’t just for professionals as there are several versions: Elements for beginners, Artists for bands, and the top-of-the-range suite for professionals.
Prices start at around £80.
Logic Pro X for Recording Guitar on Mac
Logic Pro X is for professional guitarists rather than amateurs. You can create songs, edit them, and mix them. There are 250 audio tracks available so whether you’re into Gibson or are a Fender fan, you can record to your heart’s content.
There are over 3,000 sounds, 1,800 audio patches, and 3,600 loops available. The tool can also use MIDI files if you want.
You can save a lot of time when it comes to mixing. Logic Pro X is aimed at the general public and has an easy-to-use interface making it great for beginners.
You might try it out by recording some of these charming, easy to play French songs...
Composing Your Music with Ableton
This programme is designed with live recording in mind. There are two interfaces which you can use across two screens: a Session view for managing your sets and a Arrangements view for recording live scenes, adding effects, modules, and plugins.
There are a number of virtual instruments available and quality samples that you can add to your audio creations.
There are three versions available: Intro for beginners, Standard, and Suite, for the advanced users. Each version has gigabytes of sounds. You can also try a free version for 30 days.
Recording Your Guitar with Reason for Mac
This programme is designed for live performances. It’s different from other programmes as it offers an interface with an instrument rack and MIDI effects. You can’t use external plugins for equalisation and sequencing.
With Reason, you can record and edit your own raw files and mix them with a mixing deck and several racks (samplers, sequencers, arpeggiators, equalisers, vocoders, etc.).
It’s better to have several screens to use this tool as there are three main windows you’ll need to use with a MIDI keyboard.
The programme is a bit confusing at first but it has a lot of potential and you can personalise it to your heart’s content. That said, the trial version is really limited and you’ll be expected to a few hundred for the professional version of the programme.
Recording Your Guitar with Pro Tools
Often seen as the must-have programme for Computer Music, Pro Tools allows you to record, edit, and mix music in the same way as the other programmes in this list.
There are plenty of options for helping you make your own unique guitar creations.
You can adjust the tempo, add instruments like the clarinet, trumpet, or saxophone. Let your imagination run wild with this easy-to-use programme.
So which music software are you going to use to start recording your own guitar music?
Don't forget that if you're working on PC, you can also use software such as FL Studio, Ableton Live, or Magix, for example. Whether you're looking for a drum machine, wanting to make music with music production software, or are interested in using a MIDI controller for mixing and mastering music, you're spoilt for choice!
If you want to get better at the guitar before you start recording, you should check out some of the tutors on Superprof. You can search for what you want to learn and by where you live. Most tutors offer free tutoring for the first hour, so try a few out and see who you like!
If, for some reason, you can't find any suitable guitar tutors in your local area, don't forget that you can always opt for online private tutorials via webcam using a programme like Skype. This is a useful solution for those who live remotely or have awkward schedules as you just need to have a computer with a decent webcam, microphone, and a good internet connection. Additionally, they tend to be cheaper than other private tutorials as your tutor doesn't need to factor travel costs into their rates!
Now explore the wonderful world of online tuner utilities for your guitar's best sound!