Tom Morello: Writing Tools (Guitar Lesson)


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Chris Liepe

Tom Morello: Writing Tools

Chris Liepe discusses one of Tom Morello's primary writing tools - the minor pentatonic scale. First, Chris demonstrates the five patterns of the pentatonic scale. Then, he shares a few ideas that will help you create your own Tom Morello style riffs within this scale.

Taught by Chris Liepe in Style of Tom Morello seriesLength: 18:35Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Lesson 2: Tom Morello's Main Writing Tool: Minor Pentatonics
One of Tom's main tools for riffing is the minor pentatonic scale. The groove is the most prominent aspect of his hit songs and monstrous sound.

This lesson details the five main positions of the minor pentatonic scale in the key of D minor and goes over an exercise that will help improve your dexterity and phrasing.

There is also a backing track included to give you an opportunity to experiment in a controlled rhythmic context. I've also included an example of how to use the track to practice over.

Powerful riffing is a huge component of Tom Morello's playing, and no matter what stage of playing you are in, diving deeper into the pentatonic scales and learning different ways to experiment with phrasing within them will add some nice flavor to your playing.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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rockyzrockyz replied on August 24th, 2010

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prakharprakashprakharprakash replied on August 23rd, 2010

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skaterstuskaterstu replied on August 23rd, 2010

Amazing!! This is great stuff... Really looking forward to this.

Style of Tom Morello

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

This Series will dive into the world of Tom Morello, Demonstrating how he accomplishes his very unique sound.



Lesson 1

Style Of Tom Morello: Song Introduction

Chris Liepe introduces his "Style of Tom Morello" Series with an original song that utilizes key aspects of Tom's playing. This song serves as a preview to the rhythm and lead guitar techniques that will...

Length: 5:01 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Tom Morello: Writing Tools

Chris Liepe discusses one of Tom Morello's primary writing tools - the minor pentatonic scale. First, Chris demonstrates the five patterns of the pentatonic scale. Then, he shares a few ideas that will...

Length: 18:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Morello: 3 Note per String Soloing

Chris Liepe looks into the fundamentals of Tom Morello's lead guitar style. Tom frequently plays fluid legato licks in his solos. Many of these legato lines utilize scale patterns that contain three notes...

Length: 19:49 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Gear and Effects

A key aspect of Tom's playing is his unique use of effects. His effects setup is rather minimalistic. However, he uses effects in combination with conventional and non conventional guitar techniques to...

Length: 24:02 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 5

Unconventional Techniques

Chris Liepe demonstrates how Tom Morello combines scale ideas, melodic phrasing and strategic effects to create unconventional guitar sounds.

Length: 18:02 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Structure of a Morello Style Song

Chris Liepe breaks down the structural form of a typical song written by Tom Morello. He explains how choruses can be used as emotional highs as well as where Tom may enhance the drama of a song by using...

Length: 7:31 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

They Got It All

Chris Liepe teaches a Tom Morello inspired song entitled "They Got It All." This song utilizes all of the techniques taught in the previous lessons within this series. Here, Chris demonstrates his own...

Length: 68:45 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only

About Chris Liepe View Full Biography Chris Liepe was born on September 17th, 1981 in Portland OR. His first instrument was piano which he pursued until discovering his love for the electric guitar in high school. He became fans of such groups as Soundgarden, Collective Soul and U2 inspiring him to start singing, songwriting and helping others in their musical endeavors with teaching, co-writing and album production.

Having moved to Colorado with his family, he began gigging, recording and teaching in a number of music stores as well as out of his apartment until deciding to pursue music full time. He moved to Denver, CO to complete a Bachelors in Music Technology and was then hired on by Sweetwater Productions, a division of Sweetwater Sound and one of the largest, most successful recording studios in the Midwest.

Chris spent nearly 4 years at Sweetwater as a producer, recording engineer, studio musician and writer. During this time he had the privilege of working with many artists including Augustana, Landon Pigg, Jars of Clay, and Mercy Me. He also wrote for and played on numerous independent albums and hundreds of radio/TV commercials.

Wanting to get back to his favorite State in the world (Colorado) and feeling the urge to 'go freelance', Chris moved to Greeley, CO and opened his own recording and teaching studio. He continues to write and produce music for artists and agencies and is happy to be among the proud JamPlay.com instructors.

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