Plenty of people who play guitar would love to have a chance to have one of their favorite musicians teach them. If you're a fan of Rage Against the Machine, this masterclass might be right for you. Tom Morello, the co-founder of Rage Against the Machine (and a brilliant guitarist in his own right), teaches a course called "Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar" on Masterclass. But unlike many online guitar courses, this one has a special focus on helping you develop your own sound and voice as an artist.
Is the Tom Morello masterclass right for you? In this article, we'll take a closer look and help you decide whether this is the right tool for developing your creative voice.
Things to Consider Before Signing Up for an Online Guitar Course
As we've mentioned before, we think that online learning is great for guitarists -- you can learn at your own pace and select courses that you think will be most helpful. But with so many options to choose from, it's good to ask yourself a few things beforehand.
Tom Morello Masterclass
Tom Morello Masterclass
PRO's & CON's of Tom Morello Masterclass
But before we get into the specifics, let's take a look at some of the pros and cons:
Features and Benefits
Now, let's take a closer look at the Tom Morello masterclass -- whether you want to sound like Rage Against the Machine or develop your own style, we think this is a course worth considering.
Before purchasing any course on Masterclass, you get to view a course trailer and check out the learning plan. Check out the course trailer in this video.
As for what you'll learn, here's a class-by-class breakdown:
- 2Developing Your Creative Voice
- 4Gear: Pedals and Effects
- 5Tones and Sounds
- 6Tom's Noise Chart
- 7Tom's Influences: Rock, Jazz, Classical, and Folk
- 8Tom's Influences: EDM, the Blues, and Hip-hop
- 10Technique: Developing Speed
- 11Beginner Theory: Pentatonic and Blues Scales
- 12Theory: Unlocking the Fretboard
- 15Solo Case Study: "The Ghost of Tom Joad"
- 16Rock Songwriting Fundamentals
- 17Riff Rock Writing: Verses and Multitracking
- 18Riff Rock Writing: Chorus, Solo, and Arrangement
- 19Lyrics and Melody
- 20Studio Recording
- 21Case Study: "Killing in the Name"
- 22Live Shows: Philosophy and Nerves
- 23Live Shows: Practicalities and Performance
- 24Bands and Collaboration
- 25Gear: Tom's Guitars and Amps
As you can see, the course covers a range of topics, and we like that the lesson on developing your creative voice comes early. Hopefully, this will help you think about how you can apply each skill you learn to your own creative process. Like many classes on Masterclass, this one covers both the teacher's philosophy of playing guitar as well as techniques for playing.
In total, these lessons add up to five hours and 35 minutes of instruction time, making it a bit shorter than some guitar courses.
Areas of Focus
The Tom Morello guitar masterclass is a somewhat different course than most. Our impression of it is that it's somewhere between an artist study and a guitar course -- you'll learn some of the playing styles that Morello used to create hit songs. You'll also get some theory knowledge, although these sections are somewhat brief.
We think that this course is a useful one for anyone aspiring to record, perform, or both. After all, the teacher is someone who has played around the world (check out this video of the band playing live), and you'll get valuable tips for recording and performing.
While we see that the Tom Morello class doesn't teach you a whole lot of theory or techniques, we think it's a useful course for guitar players who really want to get their music out there. While we wouldn't recommend it as a stand-alone course on how to play guitar, we think it has the potential to be a very useful adjunct.
That recommendation comes with a caveat -- since most noises, effects, amps, etc. are what Tom Morello uses in his music, we think the course is best for those who like (or want to sound like) him. Of course, the goal of the course is to help guitar players shape their playing in a way that develops their own creative voice, but it's good to learn from a player you at least somewhat admire.
If you're familiar at all with the Masterclass platform, you probably know that you don't get as many pricing or payment options as many other courses. The site says courses are $15/month, which sounds reasonable. However, there is no monthly payment option -- you only have the option of paying $180 annually. The site does periodically run promos, so if you like the idea of the course but aren't thrilled with the cost, one of these may be an option down the line.
When you consider the fact that you get access to all courses, this price isn't bad. However, $180 is a lot to pay upfront, and not all guitarists have that. Alternatively, you can purchase a single class on Masterclass for $90.This course is more expensive than many others, especially when you consider that the total runtime is significantly shorter than most. If you aren't sure if the Tom Morello masterclass is worth it for you, check out this helpful video review.
Social Proof of the Course
One of the challenges with taking courses on Masterclass is that you don't get to know a whole lot about a course before you take it. We've found a few reviews that we think might help you make a decision:
This review snapshot comes from BenjaminMcEvoy.com. This user found the riff lessons especially helpful since Morello explains that your skill isn't the only factor -- you need to consider instrument tone, effects used, and more.
This review snapshot is from the site Guitar Chalk. This site noted that a lot of information you get with the site can be found for free in other places. While other sources aren't as thorough as the full masterclass, this is still something to consider.
This review comes from Education Speaks. It offers a pretty thorough breakdown of the Tom Morello course, and this person found the "Noise Chart" section especially helpful.
Alternatives to Tom Morello Masterclass
This masterclass may or may not be for you. However, given the incredible range of video lessons you can find online, it's wise to check out a few alternative options:
Ultimate Beginner Guitar Masterclass
How it Compares to Tom Morello Masterclass
This course can be found on Udemy, a platform that's a lot like Masterclass. If you're new to guitar and looking for a solid foundation, this one might be a good choice. It's designed for those very new to guitar, but you learn a lot in the 12.5 hours of instruction -- you'll get everything from acoustic guitar basics to electric guitar riffs, and you also can access 26 free resources.
If you're more interested in taking a course that will give you a great foundation as a beginning guitarist, make sure you check this one out!
How It Compares To Tom Morello Masterclass
Of all the guitar courses we've found, Rocksmith might be the most unique. This course takes gamified learning to a whole new level: it works a lot like the famous games Rock Band and Guitar Hero. However, instead of a guitar-like controller, you control the game with a real guitar.
If you want the fun of learning guitar and playing a video game at the same time, make sure you check this one out!
Learn Practice Play
How It Compares To Tom Morello Masterclass
This site is the guitar course website of Paul Davids, a well-known guitar Youtuber and a skilled guitarist. Like Masterclass, this site offers you a one-time payment option for lifetime access. It costs $199, which is somewhat expensive, but both the beginner and intermediate courses are well thought out and offer a balance of theory and application.
If you're looking to build a great foundation and really understand the guitar for the first time, make sure you check this course out!
While we're impressed with what we've seen from Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar, we realize that this is not a course for everyone -- players who are very genre-focused or very new to guitar may find that it doesn't suit their needs. However, if you're a creative thinker who wants to start writing music or develop their abilities, we think it may just be the right choice for you. That said, we think that fans of Rage Against the Machine will probably get the most out of the class -- after all, if you want to learn about writing music, you probably want to make sure you're learning from an artist you like.