From Tom Morello's MasterClass

Gear: Pedals and Effects

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.

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


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.

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

Tom Morello

Teaches Electric Guitar

Learn More


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...

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.

Literally changed my life!!! Tom is the best teacher I have ever had! If every teacher was like him, the world would be light years ahead! Thank you very much for your amazing Masterclass and for your masterful enlightenment in guitar, music, art, and life!

I haven't touched a guitar in over 15 years, and this Masterclass has motivated me to do so. I've recently been learning bass guitar, and this Masterclass and Tom's unique perspective has helped me look at music differently in a very positive way. Thank you, Tom.

Having a degree in guitar already, I just wanted to learn about Tom's approach to songwriting, riff writing, and his philosophy on the instrument and music. The course delivers in spades. There's a lot here for people just getting started as well. Tom is authentic in his presentation. Well worth the price of entry.

Very practical masterclass, Tom is very clear, direct and honest. Theoretical and practical information very useful.


Gerry M.

Tom, thank you for mentioning that we should NOT make the Wah-Wah mouth shape while using the Wah-Wah pedal. Someone forgot to mention to you that you should NOT do the eerie pop-eye thing while using the Space Station. LOL

A fellow student

Where’s are the overdrive and distort pedals? What does he use for overdrive ?

jeff B.

If it wasn’t for his politics I would say he is the friggin coolest dude on earth.

Art G.

Making the 'Wah Wah Facial Expression" whilst playing with the wah wah pedal is acceptable, but only if your name is Robin Trower. :-D Seriously though. A lot of good information in here. Makes me glad that I purchased a Boss Kitana 100 now. Hah hah. I'll save some bucks on stomp boxes.

Ross M.

I love what is said about gear and setup. We have a little group of guys, friends who have families, commitments and have left the band dream behind. We get together to jam and just play our instruments. One night I had my meticulously set up Variax and HD500x pedal. I turn up and my gear just won't work! I ended up with the basic bitch pickup at the bridge in my guitar and the JCM800 (I think) amp + 4x12 cab ... I don't think I've ever played or sounded better! The song we jammed the most? Sleep Now In The Fire. I've never got that sound, tone or feeling since. I LOVE this class.

Jacob H.

The wah pedal part is incredibly true hahaha. Tom is such a calming and fun instructor!

Shaun J.

I lost it at making faces with the wah-wah hahaha, so true! loving the lessons so far and interesting to see how Tom derives his ideas and sounds and riffs and licks and everything!

Chris S.

What I like here is his pedal board. No cork-sniffer boutique stuff here, just bog standard, off the shelf workhorses.

A fellow student

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Robert G.

I personally think this is about how they did it. You're either an artist or a robot. I want to experiment with pedals. I use a dfx, 50 Marshall. Pure fun. I love it. Hahahaha. What wallet! Lmao! I will probably buy one of those pedals and thanks to Tom I know what I want.