Hangtime's Tutorials

at a glance.... | GarageBand FAQ: your questions answered |
bsqg Backstage Quickies
aag All about
Audio Units
| All about
| All about
rcg We are the Roadcrew...

to The DoorPost
The DoorPost - GarageBand tips newsletter is sent to you every three months and is full of extra tips on how to get the most out of GarageBand. It takes a more in-depth look at some important aspects of digital audio and home recording with GarageBand. Also: Links to free loops, effects and software instruments.
Your e-mail privacy matters; we will never pass your details on to other parties |

All about......
Rescuing files

Have you ever suffered from corruption?

Nooo, I don't get into Politics at ALL . Errr, no, I mean when a GarageBand file, for no obvious reason, gets (Technical Term Alert!) wonky.

Wonky? Yes, a term used to describe random weirdness, when files suddenly stop working the way you expect them to work. Perhaps the metronome stops working, or the playhead is no longer staying over the area it's supposed to as you record. Basic Wonkiness.

Oh! Hey, I had something like that once! I tried those other things you told me about like Deleting Preferences, and Repairing Permissions, but nothing helped! Do you still have the file? Yes, but it's really broken. Would you like to try to save your work at least? Can it be done? I mean it's like REALLY broken. It's possible. Even if it's like really really REALLY broken? The odds are in your favor, though there are no guarantees. YAY for help! YAY for good odds!! Um, yeah. yay

GarageBand stores lots of information. Information about how your project is laid out, the type of effects used, Master volume, volume curves, etc, etc, as well as musical information, a combination of, perhaps, the loops you've used, Audio you've recorded, or MIDI data you may have recorded with a controller.

How's your brain holding up? Good so far. No leaks? Not yet. Good.

What we're counting on here is that all your musical information is intact, but some of the information that GB stored about your project got damaged. How does that happen? It's hard to say, computers these days are really quite complex, and things like voltage spikes or static discharges can sometimes affect things in a less than good way. There's also the chance that an App you were using crashed while it was writing to disc, this is one of those Not-A-Good-Thing™ things that can cause problems with other files. And sometimes it's just the gremlins and elves that live in your computer messing with your head. Elves live in my computer? Well sure, who do you think makes the computer bits all work together. Wowwww!

So if you can follow all that, it boils down to the possibility that the GarageBand project file may be broken, but that all of your, umm {cough} genius is still intact. Oh good {puffs out chest!}, my musical genius!

The only part that we can't rescue are the volume and Pan curves. They belong to the Track itself, not the regions, and while we can copy regions, we can't copy tracks. Okay, I understand. I guess I can redo the Curves later.

Right. The first step is to open the broken project ... I assume you don't need an illustration for that. No, I know how to open a file, thank you. Good. Once you have it open you're going to click each track one at a time, in order, from track one to the last track, and save its effect settings. How? Don't panic, it's REALLY easy. {muttering "hate you" under my breathe} Seriously, this is a breeze...

Click in the track header to select it, it will hilite Blue for a Real track, or Green for a Software track

Rescue 1

Next click the Rescue 2 button to open up track Info. Click the Rescue 3 disclosure triangle to display the details
Rescue 4

Select a category in which to store the Instrument Preset. It doesn't really matter which category you decide to use to store the presets, but I would suggest picking one for each type of track (Real and Software) and just stick with that category, even if it's not for that type of instrument. IOW, if you decide to use the "Bass" category of the Software instruments section, just store all of the Software presets there, even if it's a preset for drums or guitar. It will make finding them later on much easier, and when we're done we're just going to delete them anyway.

And click the Save Instrument button. And name each preset for the number of the track. IOW, for the first track call the preset "Track 1". For the second track call it "Track 2", and so on.

My example project looks like this
Rescue 5

So there are 10 Real tracks and one Software track.

For the 10 Real tracks I decided to use my "Basic track" category since it was pretty much empty, and when I was finished saving the presets, this is how it looked
Rescue 6

I'll let you guess how the Software side looked with the single "track 11" preset I saved.

Next, write down,in order, the type of track that each one is (Real of Software). In my example project it's pretty easy, I could just write down "10 real and then 1 software". If there's a mixture, write them down carefully. Remember the order is important.

Now we want to copy all of our regions, so click any of the Track Headers and then choose "Select All"
Rescue 7

and then "Copy"
Rescue 8

Now all your musical material is on the Clipboard. Create a New Project
Rescue 9

And refer to the list you wrote down so you can create blank tracks of the correct type in the correct order. Using my above example I'd create 10 Real, and 1 Software track. As you create each track, select its corresponding Preset that you saved from your broken project.

So when I create my first Real Track
Rescue 10

Rescue 11

I go to the track Info Pane
Rescue 12

and select my "Track 1" Preset
Rescue 13

Continue like that for each of your tracks, selecting a Real or Software Track as needed and selecting the corresponding preset for each.

Once you've recreated all the tracks in order, press the "z" key on your computer keyboard to make sure the playhead is all the way back to measure 1 and choose "Paste"
Rescue 14

And all your regions from the old broken projct will be placed into the new tracks exactly like the original. Give a quick listen, and if things sound right, save the project immediately. I can just use the Save Menu? Excellent question! Yay me. I'm excellent. That's debatable, but your question is. Okay {pout}

If you've recorded ANY audio, for instance maybe some singing or guitar playing, use Save As
Rescue 15

And then choose "Save as Archive"
Rescue 16

Why? Err, okay, this might be slightly complicated {::SPROING::} Okay, now what was THAT? I installed a spring. A spring? And a hinge. Wait, what? Yes, much less painful that way. Okay, I guess, too bad that the bandanna thing didn't work out better. Live and learn. Anyway do you know what a Finder Alias is? I think so. It's when you make a tiny little file that you can put anywhere and opening that file is the same as opening the big one. That's pretty good, actually. Yay for me.

When you copy regions from one project you are quite literally copying the regions. Not the files, just the regions, the little coloured bubbles in the GB track. The actual files remain in the original project. So what you pasted is somewhat like a Finder Alias. It's a little tiny piece of information that points back to the larger file in the other project (the broken one).

Should you move that original project, the new project may not be able to find the files, and if you delete the original project, the original recordings are G O N E. Ack!! Ack indeed. When you use the Archive option, all the files are copied into the new file, so never forget to do this when you've pasted regions into another project. If you do, you will be sad one day when you're perfect project ceases to function.

I don't want to be sad. Good, then you won't forget. No way, I'll never forget. To umm ... to, err, never... Never forget to use Save As Archive when you paste Real Recordings into a project. Right! I'll never forget that. Good. {::SNAP::} Good grief, what was That? Spring snapping shut. All good. Shut like a steel trap no doubt. Pardon? Nothing. Move along, nothing to see here citizen.

To the Top