Tom Morello Style

by Marcus Siepen

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    Hi everybody!

    Today's lesson is dealing with the style of Mr. Tom Morello. He hit the spotlight in the early 90's with a band called Rage Against the Machine, a band that mixed heavy, extremely groovy music with rap vocals, highly political lyrics and high energy live shows. His way of playing is rather conventional when it came to rhythm guitars, he uses a lot of more or less simple pentatonic riffs, but together with his band mates he plays them very tight and they have an incredible groove. I always loved this way of playing, simple, but incredibly effective and powerful!

    When it comes to his leads he uses a very different approach, he is no big shredder or a guitar hero in the conventional way, he uses his guitar to create completely new sounds, sometimes it is really hard to believe that his parts were actually played by a guitar, that's why he keeps mentioning that all sounds on his albums were created by guitar, drums, bass and vocals only, no keyboards ;-)

    For this lesson I was inspired by a song called "The Worm" from Audislave, his follow up band after Rage Against the Machine broke up. (Actually Audislave is nothing else but Rage against the Machine with former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell on vocals) The riffs are those typical simple power riffs, based on pentatonic licks, and I tried to keep a kind of song structure here, with a main theme part, a verse part, a kind of chorus part, and a solo over the main theme part in the end. For the solo I tried to create something that sounds like Morello without using all of my effects here, it would not really make sense to do something that most of you can't really reproduce, so I only used a wah, some reverb and a bit of delay for the lead part.

    Have fun practicing this one, and feel free to record some own variations of the solo, I would like to hear how you guys try to get close to Tom's freaky tone.



    Equipment used for this lesson:

    Guitar: Gibson Les Paul Standard Premium Plus with EMG 81 Pickups

    Amp: Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra (Mesa Boogie Rectifier)

    Drums & Bass: Sample Tank

    Recorded with Pro Tools

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