Arts & Entertainment, Music

Tom's Noise Chart

Tom Morello

Lesson time 15:06 min

Tom walks you through his own noise chart, including examples from “Guerilla Radio” and “Your Time Has Come,” to show you his system for keeping track of all the elements that come together to create an original sound.

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Topics include: Swirling Echo Triplets • Toggle Wah-Wah • Scottish Highland Bagpipes • Cello Delay • Octave Delay • “Your Time Has Come” Echo • Harmonica Sound (“Guerilla Radio” Toggle) • Above the Nut • Tuning • The Forest Comes to Life • Feedback Toggle • Air Raid Siren Feedback Swirl • Playing With Teeth


One of the ways that I've organized the different guitar noises that I've come up with through the years is by keeping a noise chart-- something very similar to what you see here-- and always had that at rehearsal, always had that at home. So when I came up with a new noise, I would write down what guitar I played it with, what the amp settings were. Because I, unfortunately, through years have lost a lot of-- I've got tapes filled with spectacular guitar noises that I could never play a second time, because I didn't write down how I came up with them. So the noise chart was born. And I am now going to refer to it as I take you on a journey through Tom Morello's Noise Chart. [MUSIC PLAYING] Swirling Echo Triplets. So with that, I have a long delay set at a lengthy setting, and then it's just a matter of playing triplets on one or more strings. [PLAYING GUITAR] So the pedal settings for the swirling echo triplets are a delay pedal set to a longer delay, which helps the triplets echo into the night. [PLAYING GUITAR] Swirl on. [MUSIC PLAYING] The next candidate on the noise chart is the bullet-in-the-head, Toggle Wah-Wah solo business. And for that, the wah-wah is employed. The toggle switch is toggled. And the solo is actually double tracked. So there's one guitar on one side playing the low version-- [PLAYING GUITAR] --and one on the upper E string playing the high version. [PLAYING GUITAR] And then we get into the-- [PLAYING GUITAR] And it's a simple solo using a wah pedal, a toggle switch. But it felt very original to me and like it was my own. Really, that's where I began to find my own voice as a soloist-- combining the weird stuff with traditional guitar playing, the noise chart leading the way. [MUSIC PLAYING] Next up on the noise chart are the traditional Scottish highland bagpipes which are used in the song "Voice of the Voiceless" on the "Battle of Los Angeles" record. One of the reasons why I like this ancient digitech whammy pedal is because you choose the settings with your hand. And so I thought, if I spin between those settings while fingering a note, the root note-- the G string I'm going to be playing-- is like the drone of a bagpipe, while the harmonic intervals are played by the pedal. It's a very unpredictable little number on the noise chart, and we'll see what we got today. [PLAYING GUITAR] Bagpipes. [MUSIC PLAYING] The next number on the noise chart is what I call the Cello Delay-- the approximation of a symphonic cello, or whale sounds on the guitar, by setting the guitar to a longer delay, striking the note with the volume knob turned to zero, and then bringing the volume up while using vibrato on the note-- creates something that sounds something like a cello. [PLAYING GUITAR] You can feel the mystery. [MUSIC PLAYING] So the next noise chart number is the Octave Delay, which is the setting that I used for the solo on Aud...

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.

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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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