Morello: 3 Note per String Soloing (Guitar Lesson)


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Chris Liepe

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 on each string. Chris provides some examples of legato lines to get your soloing juices flowing.

Taught by Chris Liepe in Style of Tom Morello seriesLength: 19:49Difficulty: 3.5 of 5
Lesson 3: A Tom Morello Soloing Tool: 3-on-a-string Scale Patterns
When you look past the masterful use of effects, and the creative melodies Tom creates, you start to see some of the fundamentals that make up his playing. One of his main soloing tools is the use of 3-on-a-string scale positions played in ascending legato patterns.

This lesson details and demonstrates all of the complete 3-on-a-string positions across all six strings. It also introduces an exercise designed to work up the chops to blaze through effect heavy, intense runs similar to some of the licks found in Tom's solos.

All of the scales are written out and demonstrated in the key of G major. The backing provided for practicing your improvisation is in the key of F# minor (a typical Tom Morello riffing key). So, you'll find that if you shift all of the positions up 2 frets to the key of A major, there will be some nice sounds that will happen when you draw from the 3-on-a-string patterns. This is because F# minor is the relative minor key of A major. Relative major and minor keys share the same set of notes. However, make sure you phrase your melodic ideas so that you're landing on strong notes that support F# minor and not A major.

In addition to developing your chops, learning and becoming comfortable with these scale positions and accompanying exercises will give you a greater understanding of how to utilize the entire neck during your improvised solos.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


TherustybTherustyb replied on June 26th, 2017

This is extremely hard to follow

ZerimarZerimar replied on August 25th, 2010

Really!? Chicago Cubs? San Francisco Giants is the way to go. Good information in the video. Thanks.

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on September 18th, 2010

Tom likes the cubs and frequently wears a Cubs hat. I make no endorsements for such a baseball team :)

clarke1966clarke1966 replied on September 1st, 2010

Hey Chris, I figured out something cool from learning the three on a string scales; if you want to quickly find a mode in a certain key you just start on that note and play second position for Dorian, third position for Phrygian, fourth position for Lydian, etc. Far out! Now if you could just teach me when those modes are appropriate my mind would clear a little more.

clarke1966clarke1966 replied on August 24th, 2010

This is a really good lesson Chris! Keep up the good work.

roy944roy944 replied on August 24th, 2010

Awesome lesson!

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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