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Unless you’re a guitar player - we’ll have more on GarageBand for iPad’s amps, stompboxes and audio recording capabilities soon - the first things that are likely to draw your eye are the instruments.
Open the Keyboard option and you’re presented with a grand piano, though this can easily be turned into an electric piano, organ or synth.
To cut a long story short, the keyboard sounds in GarageBand for iPad are generally pretty good, and with their vintage-style interfaces, the synths are arguably more fun to use than those in the Mac version. The velocity-sensitive virtual keyboard is OK - if a little unpredictable at times - and it’s nice to have the option of resizing this (or even creating a dual keyboard setup).
Also included are octave shift buttons, a sustain button/switch, the option to change how the keyboard reacts to being swiped (there’s a handy pitch swipe option here so that you can run your finger up and down the keyboard while holding a note) and even a Scale button that enables you to choose the likes of pentatonic, blues and mixolydian so that you ‘can’t go wrong’.
‘Proper’ keyboard playing on the iPad is still out of the question, but recording riffs, basic solos and simple chord progressions is certainly possible. If you want to plug in a MIDI controller keyboard, the iPad Camera Connection Kit will help you out.
The Drums Touch Instrument is similarly effective, giving you the chance to bash away on a graphical representation of a real kit (for acoustic sounds) or a drum pad (for electronic ones).