Making Loops Your Own

One of the greatest strengths of loops lies in their ability to empower musicians. For example, if you're not a drummer and you've always had a hard time programming drumbeats using a keyboard, a loop library of great drums can be a huge help. Many musicians use loops for styles of music and genres that they don't have a great deal of exposure to. They will take these loops and manipulate them to make them their own. Using effects is one of the best ways to personalize a preexisting loop.

GarageBand (and every other DAW) makes this easy. It doesn't matter if the loop is recorded audio or if a synthesizer in your computer plays it back. The end result is the same: audio comes out of your computer. In GarageBand, double-clicking on the track name will open up more information about the track. Figure 7-7 shows the track information page.

In the track information page, you have the option to insert audio effects. While effects are covered in greater detail in Chapters 15 and 16, some popular effects and what they can do to your loops include:

  • Delay: Lets your loops echo and regenerate. Delay can yield some really great sounding effects.

  • EQ: EQ filtering can radically change the quality of a loop, especially cool on drum loops when you sweep the frequency slowly over time.

  • Distortion: Adds a hard-edged grit to your loops. When applied heavily, distortion can completely change the sonic character of your loops.

These are just some basic ideas of how you can manipulate your loops to make them unique. Make sure that you spend some time working with your loop library to make it your own.

Don't think that loops are just for electronic music and hobbyist musicians. Many professional musicians use loops as guide tracks, segments that will be replaced by real musicians eventually, but are needed to aid in the composition process.

Figure 7-7: Track information

Digital Home Recording Sections
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  3. Loop-Based Software
  4. Making Loops Your Own
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