Arts & Entertainment, Music

Gear: Pedals and Effects

Tom Morello

Lesson time 16:22 min

Tom walks you through his basic pedal rig from delays to tuner and wah-wah to whammy. Learn how he uses each to create a diverse collection of sounds and effects.

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

Topics include: Gear Doesn’t Matter • Embrace Limitations • Phase 90 and EQ • Delay • Whammy • Wah-Wah • Tuner • Space Station


Many guitar players-- most guitar players-- harbor the delusion that there's a shortcut to greatness. That like if you have the right-- what are the right pickups, Tom? What strings should I use? Should it be an ebony fretboard or a maple fretboard? Let me just tell you-- none of it-- none of it matters. And I know there's people heading quickly to comment sections right now. It all matters, man. Trust me. None of it does. Like I've had Flea-- he was one of the greatest bass players of all time-- he has come over to my house, and he's played and sounds exactly like Flea on the shitty-- I own maybe the shittiest bass in LA-- he sounds just like Flea when he's playing it. But there's no magic bullet. If you prefer a particular string to another, well, then, that's fine. And you can let that fantasy be yours. But I'm telling you that what is going to make you a compelling guitar player has nothing to do with the shades of variation between different kinds of strings. It's who you are and how you express yourself with whatever instrument you have. If you've got only four strings on your guitar, and you play it with conviction and sing something that you really mean, I'm going to feel that more than if you've got the hottest tone that "Guitar World Magazine" recommends. All right? [ACOUSTIC GUITAR] The way I look at playing guitar and pedals and amps is by embracing limitations you can expand your creativity. But I came to that realization the hard way. It was a Valentine's Day ages ago, and all of my gear was stolen from the back of my van. I had a session that next weekend. So I had to go to a local music shop in Hollywood, and I had to buy the amp head-- the one amp head they had-- which was a Marshall 50 watt head. I thought that was pretty cool. And then they had only a Peavey 4 by 12 cabinet. Now that was an embarrassment to all rockers-- I have no prejudice against the company now-- but at the time it was like you can't have a Peavey. You have to have a Marshall. So I immediately unscrewed the front of that. And I thought, well, this is my amp now. So I'm stuck with it. I also had a guitar at the time that I was stuck with and a couple of pedals. And I was always searching for a particular sound in my head that wasn't coming through my amp and wasn't coming through my guitar. Frustratingly, I tried to buy some expensive rack gear that I couldn't afford, and it sounded like shit. And so I had these kind of couple of greasy pedals, and I had that amplifier. And I never, ever liked the way that it sounded. So I went to my rehearsal one day. This was in 1988. And before the band got there I gave myself two or three hours. And I played every combination of tone, knob, and switch on the amp. And I never found the sound I was looking for. I got it so it was passable. It was pretty good. I marked those settings and I decided, I will never think about my guitar tone again in my life. I'm going to use this tone...

About the Instructor

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Tom Morello

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

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