Tom Morello Masterclass

Tom Morello Masterclass

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.

  • What do you need out of a course? If you’re looking for a way to build a foundation as a new player, this electric guitar masterclass probably isn’t it — this is a course that’s more about creative playing and thinking.
  • What’s your experience level? Like we mentioned above, this probably isn’t the ideal beginner course. As long as you have some experience, we think you can get a lot out of the course.
  • What genre do you want to play? Since this course is focused on developing your own creative voice, it focuses some on Tom’s various influences. If you have a set genre you want to master, it may not be right for you. But if you’re interested in creating your own music, you might find it helpful.
  • Do you want to learn about gear? Many online courses, especially those aimed at beginners, don’t talk much about pedals and effects (or even about amps). If you want to learn more about the effects and how to use them, this might be a good choice for you.

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:


  • You get plenty of guidance on what pedals and amps to use, which is great for players new to effects.
  • You’ll be learning from a Grammy-winning artist.
  • You get insight into Tom’s path as a guitarist, and this can help inspire you, too.
  • With this course, you get more outside-the-box thinking and instruction than you do with most online guitar courses.


  • The Masterclass site is expensive and doesn’t let you pay by the month
  • The course focuses more on Morello’s style than it does on helping you develop a style

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.

Course Layout

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:

  1. Introduction
  2. Developing Your Creative Voice
  3. Riffs
  4. Gear: Pedals and Effects
  5. Tones and Sounds
  6. Tom’s Noise Chart
  7. Tom’s Influences: Rock, Jazz, Classical, and Folk
  8. Tom’s Influences: EDM, the Blues, and Hip-hop
  9. Practice
  10. Technique: Developing Speed
  11. Beginner Theory: Pentatonic and Blues Scales
  12. Theory: Unlocking the Fretboard
  13. Improvisation
  14. Solos
  15. Solo Case Study: “The Ghost of Tom Joad”
  16. Rock Songwriting Fundamentals
  17. Riff Rock Writing: Verses and Multitracking
  18. Riff Rock Writing: Chorus, Solo, and Arrangement
  19. Lyrics and Melody
  20. Studio Recording
  21. Case Study: “Killing in the Name”
  22. Live Shows: Philosophy and Nerves
  23. Live Shows: Practicalities and Performance
  24. Bands and Collaboration
  25. Gear: Tom’s Guitars and Amps
  26. Conclusion

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:

Tom Morello Masterclass review 01

This review snapshot comes from 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.

Tom Morello Masterclass review 02

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.

Tom Morello Masterclass review 03

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 covers fundamentals for beginner guitarists
  • There isn’t as much information on developing your own sound
  • It covers techniques for playing both electric and acoustic guitar
  • At just under $130, it’s more expensive than the Tom Morello course


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

  • You get to learn to play hit songs with backing tracks
  • You don’t get a lot of music theory instruction
  • At about $30, it’s more affordable
  • Can be a lot of fun, especially if you find that you have trouble staying focused


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

  • Two courses help you build a solid foundation as a guitarist
  • The course is focused on helping you understand the guitar and are able to improvise
  • Video lessons are designed to break down essential playing concepts
  • There’s less focus on helping you develop a distinctive voice


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!

In Conclusion

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.

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