Get Started Producing Dubstep: Learn “Bassics” with Apple GarageBand and Splice

If you’re a Mac user, it is very likely you already have GarageBand installed on your computer and can get started producing music right away! With Splice, producing music in GarageBand makes for an even better experience because you can easily back up and save all of your work, collaborate with other GarageBand users around the world and share your work with our community so others can learn from the music you’ve created.

In this project example, we’re going to walk you through some basics for how this session was created so you can learn to produce Dubstep in GarageBand. To get started:

1) Sign up for a free Splice account
2) Install the Splice client
3) Click “splice” on the project below to download it and dive in to the full session.

About Dubstep:

Dubstep originated in London in the early 2000’s. Early stylistic influences included Drum and Bass, 2-step, and Dub Reggae. The genre is defined by bass driven riddims, minimal half time drums and dark atmospheres. Most Dubstep tracks are written at 140 bpm (or thereabout).


To build the drum arrangement we created a software instrument track and loaded the ‘Dub Smash’ kit and then programmed MIDI notes to write the parts. Different regions were used to create sections and variations as the track progresses. Each MIDI note represents a different drum sound, you can use the pencil tool to draw in hits or play the different parts by triggering a MIDI keyboard or pad. Hitting the [command] key will transform the pointer into the pencil tool. Notice how the drum parts change with the bass-line.

Bass Line

The bass line is arguably the most important element of a Dubstep track. This particular part was created by taking several bass loops from the garage band library. By cutting them up and re-arranging them we are able to write an EDM-esque Dubstep bass line. Notice the several different phrases that keep the track interesting.

Synth Lead

The synth lead was created by loading the festival lead patch. In the intro it’s used as a background/building part, but later in the track the synth is used to play a more melodic line. If you don’t have a MIDI keyboard you can hit [Apple – K] to bring up the musical keyboard, which will allow you to preview and record parts. It’s important to find a good sound that works with the bass line and sits nicely on top of the mix.

Texture and Sound Effects

We chose an atmospheric sample from the GarageBand library to use in the intro, breakdown and second drop. This addition gives the track texture and a dark vibe, as well as adding to the rhythmic pulse. The sound effects are also from the Garageband library and are used to enhance the transition between the different sections of the track.

January 6, 2015