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By Rick Okie


Wouldn't it be cool if you walked into your guitar lesson and there was Tom Morello, ready to explain the ins and outs of his rig and sound?  The master behind RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and AUDIOSLAVE is very discriminating about his sound, yet also wild and abandoned, always looking for a new musical horizon.

The Guitars of Tom Morello's Career

One thing hasn't changed too much over Tom's career.  His guitars have tended to be Fender Strats, or Strat clones.  In RAGE he played a fairly stock American Standard Stratocaster, mixing in a custom 1980's Ibanez semi hollow-body and a funky Goya Rangemaster electric from the 1960's.  But the guitar most of us remember is a homemade Strat-clone he painted blue and furnished with an extra wide rosewood neck and a Floyd Rose tremolo bar.

What can we learn from Tom's approach?  Different guitars for different songs! Sometimes you play in alternate tunings, and no audience wants to hear you re-tune in the middle of a set.  Sometimes one particular axe has a grungy crunch that works great in one song but sucks in any other setting.  Guess what keep it around!

The Amp Rig of the Stars!

Tom's amp rig is a fairly simple Marshall JCM900 head played through a Peavey 4x12 cabinet.  Have you noticed how often this rig appears behind your favorite stars?  What's the guitar lesson here?  You figure it out!

The Area where Tom Morello shines--Guitar Effects

Effects is an area where Tom shines.  His pedal board holds a Cry Baby Wah, a Digi-Tech WH-1 Whammy, a Boss DD-2 Digital Delay, a DOD FX40B Equalizer, and an Ibanez DFL-10 Flanger.  All commonly available tools; nothing custom here.  The lesson for guitarists is simple: build out your effects rack one piece at a time, mastering each device before adding the next one.  If you go out and buy three new pedals and wire them up in sequence, you'll never know exactly which one is doing what!

Check out VideoGuitarLessons.com's Rock Course for all the techniques you'll need to play the songs from RAGE and AUDIOSLAVE.  You get whole courses for less than twenty bucks.  Or an All Access Pass gets you all the lessons you can eat for a low monthly fee.

Tom's lesson for all of us is as straightforward as his music.  It's all about the playing.  So even if you're playing a first-time Strat-pack, play it hard, play it with heart, play it LOUD and you're on your way.

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