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Video of the Day 18 December 2014: Tom Morello on “The Ghost of Tom Joad”

I love Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics. I tuned in to a broadcast of the Springsteen tribute concert on PBS recently and saw this absolutely mind-blowing guitar solo by Tom Morello, who’s done a lot of great work with Rage Against the Machine, on Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”

Harp players–especially players armed with a Digitech RP and one of my patch sets–can learn a lot from this solo. (So can any other musician.) In a few minutes, Morello shows you a massive range of sounds you can make with an electric guitar and a pedal or two, and some of it translates to harmonica (harmonica with FX, anyway) practically verbatim. Check out the section where he’s playing straight quarter-notes, pushing down on the wah-wah on the attack of every note. Check out the section where he pushes the wah pedal to the floor and leaves it there, giving the guitar an angels-on-high singing quality.

Check out everything, man. It’s an epic performance, brilliant and complex in multiple dimensions–line, timbre, harmony, rhythm. It’s not just played, it’s orchestrated. Easily one of the greatest and most profound solos I’ve ever heard, and time spent studying it will surely reward the student.

3 replies on “Video of the Day 18 December 2014: Tom Morello on “The Ghost of Tom Joad””

@Boris: great stuff, that’s gonna be the Video of the Day here soon. What’s that Korg device, and what’s making those mad pitch-shifting FX–is it a delay model on the POD HD? Some of the delay models on the Digitech do pitch shifting when you mess with the delay time. Oh, wait, you just said it was the pitch shifter. Never mind.

It’s Korg Kaossilator touch panel synth (actually sampler). It can be usefull as noise machine or termenvox. Here I use it like drum machine. You can check iKaossilator if you have any iOS device, at least it’s fun.
Scratching is pitch glide effect in Line6 POD HD Desktop assigned to TWEAK knob. It’s actually change pitch gradually from 0 to -24 semitones. I play one note, articulate it by tongue
“ta” and “ta-ka” and turn the knob. It’s actually the same thing as Morello do with pitch shifter and on-off switch on a guitar.

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