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Unconventional Techniques (Guitar Lesson)


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Chris Liepe

Unconventional Techniques

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

Taught by Chris Liepe in Style of Tom Morello seriesLength: 18:02Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Lesson 5: Morello - Unconventional Techniques

Tom Morello combines scale ideas, melodic phrasing and strategic effects to generate the following techniques and sounds indicative of his playing, all of which are explained and demonstrated in this lesson:

Rhythmic Wah technique: Play octaves and manually sync the wah with strumming or riffing.
DJ scratch wah/kill technique: With the wah engaged at the toe, the boost on and volume cranked, rub the strings up and down the neck rhythmically while manipulating the kill switch or pickup selector to generate rhythmic interest.
Whammy Bar, Wah, Feedback/kill technique: Turn up the amp and use the wah and volume boost o trigger a consistent feedback tone. It may be necessary to trigger a tone using a natural harmonic.
Whammy Pedal pitch shifting technique: Using the whammy pedal to generate tones 1 or 2 octaves above the main note, and playing a scale or melody while inserting pitch jumps and bends creates a very cool, digital sound.
Whammy Pedal riff technique:
Play arpeggiated chords with whammy on 1 octave up.
Slap Delay/kill technique: With the kill switch off, hammer on a series of notes. Right as you hammer on, turn the kill switch so that there is sound coming out. Doing this repeatedly and rhythmically creates a neat gated sound effect. It is also frequently combined with a fast slap back delay.
Slap Delay 'Helicopter' Sound: Set a fast slap-back digital delay sound with the mix at 50% and the feedback at 0 and tap all six muted strings with your hand.
Analog Space Sound This is an unusual Tom Morello-inspired sound using harmonics and manipulating the delay time for a pitch shifting sound.

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Member Comments about this Lesson

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


prakharprakashprakharprakash replied on August 31st, 2010

how did you create the long sustain during "feedback sound effect" ? Do harmonics last that long or is it a note on a compressor?

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on September 1st, 2010

The long sustain note in the video happens by hitting a natural harmonic, and then, with the wah pedal engaged, moving the wah toe to heel till the wah catches the harmonic and causes infinite sustain. So the wah is helping to initiate the feedback. You still need a fair amount of volume, but not nearly as loud as if you can catch the harmonic with the wah pedal.

guitareroguitarero replied on August 30th, 2010

Very interesting lessons! Thanks!

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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