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Arts & Entertainment

Developing Your Creative Voice

Tom Morello

Lesson time 10:07 min

Tom teaches you how to think beyond your musical influences, challenge the traditional boundaries of the electric guitar, and start developing your own voice as a musician.

Tom Morello
Teaches Electric Guitar
In 26 lessons, Grammy-winning musician Tom Morello will teach you the guitar techniques, rhythms, and riffs that define his signature style.


From the first time I strapped on a guitar, stood with a band, and made something loud that happened, it felt like absolute freedom. Whether you're making a bunch of noise or whether you're wailing away on 64th notes, the redemptive joy of strapping on an electric guitar is something that should always be savored. [MUSIC PLAYING] All of us guitar players start playing guitar, because we admire other guitar players. For me, it was Randy Rhoads and Angus Young and Eddie Van Halen who made me love the electric guitar and to want to play. So, of course, what you think is good guitar playing is their guitar playing. And what makes-- I could be like-- Ace Frehley was my first guitar hero. And I-- the excitement that I felt when I learned the solo to "Detroit Rock City" could not be compared. Then, you know, as I began practicing more, I was learning the Van Halen solos, and the Randy Rhoads solos, and shredding-- shredding up a storm. All of this was very satisfying. All of this was amassing technique. But none of this was finding my own voice on the instrument. The reason why I loved Van Halen and Rhoads and Angus Young was because they were singular, and they were unique in the way they sounded, the way they expressed themselves, the way that they played. That wasn't part of my game. My thing at the time was I was an amalgamation of the good guitar heroes who I liked, which is totally fine. When I began to-- my first glimpse into what a world might be like where I'm finding my own path-- a road less traveled-- I was in college. And my poor roommate, he was a fan of opera. And I was, you know, had my Marshall Half Stack in the room, and he was driven insane by me practicing like grim reaper riffs, you know-- ad nauseum. And then one day-- this was actually with a guitar of mine-- the Gold Explorer over there. At the time, the guitar that was in fashion was the Eddie Van Halen Model Guitar. It was cool, because it just had one knob on it-- volume. Everybody had that guitar. I did not. I had the guitar over there that was saddled with a bunch of knobs and stuff on it. It was super not cool. But one of the things that I did have on it was a toggle switch. This is a toggle switch, just like the one on that guitar over there. What a toggle switch does is it decides which pickup you're using. When it's in this position, you're hearing the sound coming out of this pickup. [PLAYING GUITAR] When it's in this position, you're hearing the sound that comes out of this pickup. [PLAYING GUITAR] When it's in the middle, you're hearing both pickups. [PLAYING GUITAR] Right? But if you turn the volume off on one of the pickups-- the front one-- you can't hear it. And leave the volume on on the other pick up. [PLAYING GUITAR] And then you switch between the two pickups-- it acts as an on/off switch. These days everybody knows what a DJ killswitch is. But it's basically the same thing that exists on any guitar t...

Strike a Chord

Tom Morello is a two-time Grammy winner and one of Rolling Stone’s "greatest guitarists of all time." In his first online guitar class, the co-founder of Rage Against the Machine will teach you the riffs, rhythms, and solos that launched his career and sent his music to the top of the charts. Tom will share his approach to making music that challenges the status quo and teach you how to create your own musical style.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I'm leaving this class smiling. Here's to making music that's pleasing to the ear and honest to the soul. Tom as an OG for sure.

Awesome job! I liked how Tom related his story to the audience and made it easy to understand his background, musicianship, and growth among the years!

Tom taught us that we didn't need expensive equipment to make music, and to let the tools that we have guide us in finding our sound. Loved it.

The overall thing that I have learned is to think outside of the box, forget traditional guitar restraints and break through into new and uncharted territories.


A fellow student

Anyone notice how he sounds like Obama? Close your eyes and listen... It's crazy!


Very Inspiring...but as a player, this kind of inspiration has to be post processed as I learn again (for the 4th time?) in my late's always been a matter of the music I 'know' (and at this stage, for a lifetime listener, across all genres, it's note-for-note in my mind...we can all 'play' Eddie) vs. making it happen in my simple magic is increasingly important (Ramones: indeed: 80% of it can't be that tough)...blues always does it, but many mechanics still trip up...another thought: look at the length of his fingers...every successful guitar player has long fingers...not so much what? Here we go... :)

Widgett W.

I hope that producer who took out all Tom's signature sounds enjoys the Hall of Fame they share with the umpteen publishers who rejected HARRY POTTER and the publisher who rejected Stephen King's CARRIE (and was called out for it hilariously at an event).

A fellow student

One thing I think Morello is not stressing enough: Your personal voice is developed thorugh listening of several different genres. As a musician, your playing around with a vaste amount of different voices from other musicians, will eventually give you enough input to start making your own ideas. My point: Listening to different sources gives you a great starting point for making yourself interesting,

Jontelle T.

Enjoying the lessons so far. I've learned quite a bit already and feel more confident in my creative exploration. If anyone wants to collaborate feel free! My Instagram is @j0ntelle

Michael N.

Great! very first lesson and I haven't got the correct type of on/off pickup. Maybe Tom should specify before joining this site you need special equipment cos Iv never owned a guitar that can do that. I'm gutted cos it sounds awesome. I'm thinking of cutting the wires of my top pickup thats thinking outside of the box Tom.

Jacques B.

Tom Morello for president! Thank you for your personal take on cultivating the self. I love the self-permission to both admire others and develop your own voice as well. No permission needed from anyone else besides yourself. Watched the whole chapter with a big smile.

mark W.

man he has a really interesting point of view and i love how he shared how he came up with his sound.....i'm surprised he didnt mention edge as one of his inspirations cause i think they both have that "thing" in regards to unique sound.

Drew M.

I can't stop watching his uncut strings bounce around while he's talking with his hands.

A fellow student

For someone the dared under the communist dictatorship its insulation that he wears a baseball cap with CCCP on it and that his guitar has the soviet flag on it. very sad and poor statetment!