Rock’s biggest “DJ” proves that, though his gear hasn't changed since the early ’90s, he still can rip out fresh ideas with ease and flair.
During the unrivaled axeman’s solo tour supporting his 2018 album The Atlas Underground, PG’s Chris Kies stood amazed as Tom Morello revealed the tricks that fortified a legacy of riffs in Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. Plus, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee member (yes, he knows that Iron Maiden needs to be inducted) breaks down how he’s still aiming to shoot the instrument into the future.
The guitar that’s probably most associated with Tom Morello has to be his Frankensteined “Arm the Homeless” “super strat” that he’s had since 1986. Morello admits the story on the guitar’s evolution is murky, but the only thing from the original custom-order instrument is its body. He apparently spent upwards of two years trying every combination of pickups, necks, electronics, and trems to appease his tonal aspirations, but finally settled on honing his craft through practice rather than gear lust. The final conglomeration of parts have been in place for 30 years and includes a set of EMG pickups, a knock-off graphite Kramer neck scooped up from the bargain bin at Nadine’s, and an Ibanez Edge trem/bridge. And as they say, the rest is history. For this one, he uses Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinkys (.009–.046, for all vibrato-equipped guitars) and always grabs Dunlop Tortex Jazz III picks.
In a 2018 interview with PG, Tom Morello asserted that the single-coil was a big part of his heavy sound: “One of the things that I find, that’s attributed to the ‘heaviness’ of my riffs, is a lot of them are played on a single-coil pickup.” Enter another longtime mainstay of Tom Morello’s—a run-of-the-mill 1982 Fender Telecaster coined “Sendero Luminoso.” He wanted to start writing/performing songs in drop-D tuning, but all of his other guitars at the time had a locking nut, so he traded his roommate for the Tele and Morello had to part ways with a 50-watt Marshall. The Tele is completely stock (aside from the stickers) and to maintain similar string tension to the “Arm the Homeless” he goes with Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys (.010–.046).
When it’s time for Tom Morello to cover Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” or digging back into the Nightwatchman (his acoustic troubadour alter ego) catalog for “The Garden of Gethsemane,” he grabs this Ibanez GA60SCE-14-01.
All of Tom Morello’s gear was stolen in after a Valentine’s Day gig back in the ’80s and he had to scramble to replace everything before an upcoming session. He went to his neighborhood shop to buy anything they had, and what they did have was this Marshall JCM800 2205 50-watt head and a 1987 Peavey 4x12 cabinet with Celestion G12K-85 speakers. (On this short winter run, he opted to leave the Peavey at home in California and used a Marshall 1960B 4x12.)
Tom Morello quickly bonded with the 50-watt Marshall and once he found a sound he could work with, he etched in the settings and has left them the same ever since.
When PG asked Tom Morello if he ever tries to find inspiration in new effects, he mentioned trying to take back his sound: “In the mid ’90s, DigiTech basically tried to steal all of my sounds and put them in a pedal and called it the Space Station [laughs]. I got one of those and I started stealing some of their sounds back.” If you’re catching a theme here, Morello doesn’t change his gear much and his pedalboard is no exception (aside from the aforementioned plagiarizing Space Station)—it includes a MXR Phase 90, two Boss DD-3 Digital Delays (one longer for solos and one tighter for rhythms), original DigiTech WH-1 Whammy, Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby wah, and the DigiTech Space Station XP300. Everything runs off the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus and relies on two Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuners (acoustic/electric).
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.