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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you probably have already heard about MasterClass. Perhaps you’ve seen the advertisements, or you’ve heard some good things about this e-learning platform.
One of the most appealing things about it is they use celebrities to teach you everyday stuff. Most of the skills taught here are what people consider hobbies or interests. Guitar playing is one of them and what better way to learn from a famous guy like Tom Morello?
So, in this Tom Morello MasterClass review, we’ll uncover how the course itself looks like, and what you’ll learn in it. Hopefully, you’ll learn to recognize its value and if it’s worth it for you.
What is MasterClass?
MasterClass is one of the most popular hubs for online classes on the internet.
You’ll be able to learn from instructors like Tony Hawk, who teaches skateboarding, Malcolm Gladwell, who teaches writing (read our review here), Steph Curry, Steve Martin, Serena Williams (tennis), Garry Kasparov, Helen Mirren, Daniel Negreanu, and many others.
The library of courses is also very diverse. You’ll be able to learn skills like acting, singing, cooking, tennis, basketball, and, guitar playing.
You can learn to play classic guitar with Carlos Santana, or you can opt for a purely electric guitar course with Tom Morello (as we’ll discuss here). Both are included in the MasterClass all-round subscription where you get access to all of the courses hosted on the platform.
This subscription costs $180 per year which gives you unlimited access to all of the courses until you cancel. Or, you can opt to buy individual courses without the subscription – courses normally cost $90.
This makes the yearly subscription seem like a bargain, which it is. And if we compare it to some other class platforms, I think you’ll agree it’s a very reasonable price since you’re learning from the world’s best – we often say that, but in the case of MasterClass, it really is like that.
The instructors (most of them) are celebrities, and they’ve done it all themselves. They’ve gone from the bottom to the top and have been stuck anywhere in between.
Who is Tom Morello?
Rock and metal fans probably need no introduction to Tom Morello. He was a big part of the rock band called Rage Against the Machine, which is a group that started in the 1990s and continued intermittently throughout the 2000s. After a period of inactivity, the band has started playing together again in 2019.
Tom was also a part of the rock supergroup called Audioslave. Later on, he started performing on his own, where he started expressing his political views through music. During this period, he became known as “the Nightwatchman”.
Tom Morello is a big figure in the world of rock. He’s often described as one of the best electric guitar players. The magazine Rolling Stone named Tom number 40 on the list of “100 top guitar players of all time”.
He is known for his whacky and creative playing style, as well as his constant improvisation with different voices with the help of guitar effects. He also has his own unique style of playing and picking, as well as tapping.
If you want to learn how he does that, or how to develop your own unique style, then this course is perfect for you.
Tom Morello MasterClass Review
So, how does Tom Morello’s MasterClass course look like?
There are 26 lessons altogether in the course. The lessons are relatively short – 10-20 minutes per lesson. But you’ll find that these lessons will absolutely fly by if you follow the course with your own guitar and you try to replicate some sounds.
The lessons are both practical and theoretical, so you will need a pen and paper for some of the lessons. An important thing to note about this course is that you already have some knowledge about playing the guitar.
For example, when Tom starts showing us some of the most famous riffs, you only get to see which chords compose the riffs. You’ll see how Tom plays these riffs, and you’ll be able to follow them as long as you know how to play these chords, and you’ll also need some strumming and tapping knowledge.
So for complete beginners, this might not be the best of courses. Sure, the theoretical lessons will teach complete beginners too. But the practical lessons are slightly more advanced and will show you how to develop your own style and take your skills to the next level rather than teach the elementary stuff.
In terms of theory, I absolutely loved the part where he discusses the theory for beginners. He talks about gear, tones and sounds, his noise chart, pentatonic and blues, how to play solos, and how to improvise on the spot.
There’s another layer in this course, too. It’s the part where Tom Morello talks about his own journey and how he formed himself and his unique playing style. He discusses how different musical styles influenced his playing styles, such as EDM, the Blues, Hip Hop, Jazz, Classical music, and many other styles.
Who is it For?
Tom Morello’s MasterClass course is for those who want to advance their electric guitar playing skills.
But it’s not for every player out there. If you’re looking for a beginner crash course, you’ll walk away disappointed. While you will get something out of it even if you’ve never played the guitar before (especially theory), most of the content is designed for those who already have some knowledge and skills.
Mainly, this course is for those electric guitar players who want to develop their own style. If you’re still figuring out what your “sound” is, then this course is fantastic. It shows you how you can combine different sounds, different styles, and combine various effects to develop your own style.
That’s what makes Tom special in the first place. While he is known for his sometimes overly political music, his main trait is that he uses a variety of effects to create a very unique sound that’s typical for him. Pair that with the guitar’s whacky appearance, and you get what Tom Morello is. But above all, he’s just a fantastic guitar player.
This course is for:
Intermediate guitar players who want to develop their own style and become more like Tom Morello
Tom Morello fans (and Rage Against the Machine fans), rock fans, or anyone who constantly listens to electric guitar willing to learn the secrets behind the sound
Players who love to experiment with different guitar sounds and those who still don’t have their own style in place
Those who want to learn how to play some of the most famous Morello riffs and some other riffs perfectly
What We Liked
There’s a lot to like about this course. Let’s get into the things we loved most about this course.
- Firstly, we enjoyed the part where Morello shows us how to play some riffs, but also how to come up with your own riffs. This is key if you want to become a serious songwriter and not just a guitar player. In this sense, this course is very different from other guitar courses on Youtube that only teach you how to play the guitar, but they don’t tell you much about creating your own music.
- You get to learn more about Tom Morello himself. He talks about his history, how he went from zero to hero, and how he used to create his own music. He also shows you how you can use your gear to your advantage, and what sort of gear he normally uses to create his own music. That’s great if you want to learn more about the gear and how music is made.
- The course also tells us more about the philosophy behind playing the guitar. This is crucial for any guitar player, no matter their skill level. You’ll learn how to get into the mindset to start practicing, how to record, how to perform at a high level, and much more. Honestly, this sort of advice is very hard to find elsewhere on the internet and it’s only possible if you personally know a famous guitar player.
- Morello also helps intermediate guitar players develop their own playing style. This is one of the key things that will take you from being a decent guitar player to being a great, or even a top and desired guitar player. Anyone can learn how to play the guitar, but not everyone uses their creativity and musical genius (if you have any, of course) to become a unique guitar player.
- The additional materials for the course are also great. Firstly, you can download a dedicated audio file where you get recordings of all the Morello’s solos, so you can play along. As with all MasterClass courses, you also get a free PDF download that will stay with you forever.
- The community. This is perhaps one of the more active communities (some topics can be only a few days old, and there are at least a couple of replies for every thread). This community encourages you to play and learn together, which is great if you’re an aspiring guitar player.
What Could be Improved
There’s a lot to love about the course. Mostly, the experience has been positive, although there are some things that could be improved.
- This course is not the best for beginners. While there are some sub-topics that can be beneficial for beginners, most of the content in this course is designed for intermediate or advanced guitar players who want to advance their guitar playing skills and want to learn how to develop their own style.
- Some lessons felt out of place. This point ties nicely with the first one. Some beginner theoretical lessons were slightly out of place, considering the course is for intermediate players who probably already know the theory. It’s great for beginners, but not so great for advanced players.
Final Verdict on Tom Morello’s MasterClass Course
Overall, we really enjoyed the Morello’s MasterClass course. It’s full of unique points and viewpoints that you probably won’t find anywhere else on the internet.
The course teaches you how to become a more complete player in regards to composing your own riffs and songs. You also develop your own creative style through the course, which most other online guitar playing courses don’t do.
And of course, there’s Tom Morello, who is a reason to get this course alone. If you love him, you’ll love the course.