How to Use Real Musical Instruments with GarageBand on Your iPad

It’s time to plug a real instrument into GarageBand to see what it can do .

It’s time to plug a real instrument into GarageBand to see what it can do

GarageBand isn’t just good for recording, you can also use it as a space-saving practice amp for listening to your guitar or keyboard through headphones.

It’s also perfectly possible to use GarageBand’s microphone option to record an acoustic instrument, such as a violin or a tuba, but the quality will never be great, because you’re relying on the iPad’s external microphone to pick up the sound. To get the best results, you need to connect an electric instrument such as a guitar or a keyboard directly to your iPad.

For guitar and bass you’ll need a special guitar cable – we’ve long been fans of the AmpliTube iRig (, and also the Griffin GuitarConnect cable (, which is cheaper. To connect most MIDI keyboards to your iPad, you can use the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit. This plugs into your dock connector and gives you a USB port, into which you can connect a USB keyboard. There are also MIDI connectors such as the iRig MIDI, which hook up MIDI keyboards, drum machines, drum pads, pedal boards and more to an iOS device.

Get Your Guitar Connected

Turn on the Monitor

Tune Up Your Instrument

Choose from Seven Amps

Play with the Effects Pedal

Record Some Sounds

Customize Your Recording

Set Up Keyboards

Record Vocals