Tom Morello's Guitars and Gear

📅 Published :
🧑🏼 Author : Dan Kopilovic

Summary of Tom Morello’s Rig

Tom Morello (born May 30, 1964) is a Grammy Award-winning American guitarist who is involved in bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, his acoustic solo act The Nightwatchman, and his newest group, Street Sweeper Social Club. Throughout his career, he has used a variety of different guitars and gear to achieve his unique sound.

One of Morello’s most famous guitars is the “Arm the Homeless” custom Performance guitar, which was his main guitar with Rage Against the Machine. This guitar features a variety of modifications, including a custom paint job, neck, and a kill button that cuts the signal to the guitar.

Tom Morello playing his
Tom Morello playing his “Arm the Homeless” custom Performance guitar. Photo by: Marnie Joyce

Tom Morello’s main guitar with Audioslave was a Fender FSR Stratocaster “Soul Power”. This guitar was originally made by Fender as a Factory Special Run for Guitar Center, and Tom happened to like it and to create a brand new sound with Audioslave.

Another guitar worth mentioning is the 1982 Fender Telecaster “Sendero Luminoso”, which is Tom Morello’s main drop-D tuning guitar.

Morello has also used a variety of different effects pedals throughout his career, including the Digitech Whammy pedal, the Dunlop Cry Baby Wah pedal, and the Boss DD-2 digital delay. He often uses these pedals in a unique way to create unusual sounds and textures.

As opposed to his guitars and pedals, Morello has pretty much stuck to one guitar amp throughout his old career – the 50W Marshall JCM 800 2205. Most of the time he plays the amp through a Peavey VTM 4×12 Cabinet.

Overall, Tom Morello’s guitars and gear have played a significant role in shaping his unique sound and style. By experimenting with different guitars, pedals, and amplifiers, he has been able to create a signature sound that is instantly recognizable to his fans.

List of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by Tom Morello

Tom Morello's Electric Guitars

  • Kay K-20T

    Tom Morello’s Kay K-20T SG Copy

    This is the first electric guitar that Tom ever bought. The story behind it is that the guitar was on sale at the local music shop as sort of a starter pack (guitar and amp as a combo), and Tom paid one-half of the price – which was $50, while his mother paid for the rest.

    My first guitar. A $50 Kay. SG knockoff. Lotta knobs. Didn’t stay in tune. Perfect. Got it at Rigoni Music in Libertyville, Illinois. Took two lessons which I hated and then it sat in a closet for 4 years untouched.”

    Then at 17 I bought a Sex Pistols cassette and formed a band within 24 hrs, culling beginner musicians from the Libertyville High School Drama Club. Wielded this guitar in that band, The Electric Sheep. First ever shows and recordings. When I got a better guitar this one went back in the closet. For about 30 years.

    Tom Morello, Instagram

    Tom with his Kay guitar. Photo source:
    Tom with his Kay guitar. Photo source:

    According to Tom, he sort of got mocked by the salesman who sold him the guitar, telling him that the guitar had super high action, but it didn’t matter because he’ll probably not gonna play anything serious on it.

  • 1980s Gibson Explorer II – E2

    Tom Morello’s 1980s Gibson Explorer II – E2

    As Tom became more serious about playing he decided it was time to invest some money in a better guitar. The choice fell on a Gibson Explorer with a flat gold finish.

    This was my main guitar that I practiced on my countless, countless hours on – a Gibson Explorer II. This is the gutiar that I had all through college and when I moved to LA.

    I ruined its sound by putting a Kahler tremolo bar, which of course at that time you needed in order to be a 80s dive-bombing rocker.

    A Tour of Tom Morello’s Guitars & Home Studio

    Young Tom Morello with his Gibson Explorer II. Photo source: Tom's Instagram.
    Young Tom Morello with his Gibson Explorer II. Photo source: Tom’s Instagram.

    The guitar featured a five-piece maple and walnut laminate body, an ebony fingerboard with dot inlays, two humbuckers pickups, a black pickguard, gold plated hardware, and a Gibson TP-6 tailpiece.

  • Performance "Arm the Homeless" Custom

    Tom Morello’s Performance “Arm the Homeless” Custom

    Tom Morello bought his custom guitar at Performance Guitar in Hollywood in 1986, shortly after moving to LA. He handpicked each part of the guitar, even though he was inexperienced in guitar building. The result was not what he had hoped for, and over the next two years, he made numerous modifications to the guitar until it suited his needs. The only original part of the guitar was the body.

    The history of this guitar is spotty. When I first moved to Hollywood, I wanted to have a custom-made guitar because some of my favorites, such as Steve Vai, had custom guitars. I went to a guitar shop with my first check from my first job, but I was skinned. The guitar I bought was a huge rip-off and probably the worst guitar I’ve ever played. I chose the fretboard, but I’m not a luthier and had no idea what I was doing.

    Over the next couple of years, I tore the guitar apart and the only remaining piece is this piece of wood (body).

    Tom Morello Tells the History of His “Arm the Homeless” Guitar, Premier Guitar

    Tom with the Arms the Homeless guitar at the 2011 New York Comic Con. Photo by: Marnie Joyce
  • 1982 Fender Telecaster “Sendero Luminoso”

    Tom Morello’s 1982 Fender Telecaster “Sendero Luminoso”

    This Telecaster was/is Tom Morellos’s main guitar for all of the songs which are played in a dropped-D tuning like “Killing in the Name” and “Testify”.

    “Testify ” is my Tele in dropped D tuning with a slapback delay, through a Whammy pedal set to a [flat 7]. I’m rocking a wah pedal back and forth to give it a tornado sound.As I go through the sweep of the wah it creates all these overtones that make the sound pretty hectic.

    Tom Morello, Guitar Player – July 2000

    Tom Morello playing his black Fender Telecaster on
    Tom Morello playing his black Fender Telecaster on “Killing in the Name” Live At Finsbury Park, London / 2010.

    The guitar originates from Tom’s roommate, who at the time played in a band called “Liquid Jesus” and was in need of an amp. Tom gave him a Marshall head, and got this Telecaster in return. This happened sometime prior to 1990, although we have no exact date.

  • Gibson Les Paul "Taco Bell"

    Tom Morello’s Gibson Les Paul “Taco Bell”

    Tom bought this Gibson Les Paul in 1992 and used it for overdubs on Rage Against the Machine’s debut album.

    Bought this guitar in 1992 from West LA Music. After borrowing an engineer’s Les Paul to do overdubs on the “Bullet In The Head” demo I decided I needed my own Les Paul.

    Why did I choose this one? Because it was the color of Taco Bell hot sauce, a staple food group of mine at the time. It became my principal overdub guitar and is heard on “Killing In The Name”, “Freedom”, “Township Rebellion” and many others, backing up my tele. Still sounds great.

    Tom Morello – Instagram

    The guitar is likely an early 90s, 1991 or 1992, Gibson Les Paul Standard model finished in a solid red color (as opposed to the transparent red color which was available on the same model back in those days). Nothing on the guitar seems to be changed, so it’s completely stock.

  • 1960s St. George MP-2 “Creamy”

    Tom Morello’s 1960s St. George MP-2 “Creamy”

    Tom bought this guitar at a pawn shop in Toronto for around $30. Although we’re not completely positive about this, this was probably around 1993 while the band was doing a North American tour.

    Tom with his St.George guitar.
    Tom with his St. George guitar.

    St. George guitars are a sort of a mystery. They were produced for a short period of time in the 60s in Japan and sold in the US mostly alongside Teisco guitars. Tom’s model is finished in blonde/yellow color and features two pickups, one of which was replaced with a DiMarzio Super Distortion T. His guitar is also missing the badge on the headstock, so for a long time Tom didn’t know the actual model of the guitar, and it was mostly called just “creamy”.

    Tom used this guitar to record the song “Tire Me” from the RATM’s second album, paired with a 20w solid-state amp.

  • Gibson EDS-1275

    Tom Morello’s Gibson EDS-1275

    Tom Morello used this guitar with RATM live for “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and kept it tuned to drop D. He also used the guitar more recently on his solo album The Atlas Underground Fire (2021).

    I used my Audioslave-era Les Paul that I burned the Budweiser logo off of, the Soul Power [Stratocaster] guitar, the ‘Sendero Luminoso’ Telecaster, the Jimmy Page [Gibson EDS-1275] double-neck… There was a complete freedom in the recording of the ideas on whatever day.

    Tom Morello, Guitar World

    Tom Morello playing a Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck guitar.
    Tom Morello playing a Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck guitar.
  • Ibanez Artstar Custom

    Tom Morello’s Ibanez Artstar Custom

    This guitar was custom-built for Morello. It features a two-tone red and black finish and it has a couple of built-in effects including echo, distortion, and wah.

    Tom with his black and red Ibanez Artstar. Note all the additional knobs that control the built-in effects.

    Tom used this guitar live during the RATM era on the song “Guerrilla Radio”, and later on for Cypress Hill’s song “Rise Up”.

  • Ibanez Talman Custom

    Tom Morello’s Ibanez Talman Custom

    This guitar was custom-built for Tom by Ibanez, and it was allegedly modeled after a faulty guitar that Tom happened to come across in their shop. This particular guitar that Tom picked up made a weird high-pitched sound when the toggle was set between two pickups, the reason for which was an internal pickup that was picking up this weird noise when it wasn’t supposed to.

    I noticed that when you set the toggle between the two pickup settings, there was a really peculiar, high-pitched noise,and you could manipulate the tone of it dramatically when you turned the tone knob. I asked them what the noise was, and they said it was just incidental noise, that the guitar had an internal pickup and it was picking up this weird noise that they were trying to get rid of!

    I said, “Oh, no, no-come here with that one.” [laughs] I gave them an idea of what I thought was possible with that noise, and they were kind enough to custom build a guitar for me with that feature in it. It’s an Ibanez Talman.

    Tom Morello, in Guitar World

    Tom Morello playing his Ibanez Talman guitar, 2009. Photo by: swimfinfan/Flickr
  • Ovation Breadwinner

    Tom Morello’s Ovation Breadwinner

    This guitar was used by Tom Morello around 1999 – during the time the band (RATM) was working on The Battle of Los Angeles album. Tom used it to record some parts of “Testify”.

    On the main riff (on Testify) there are two guitars – the Tele on the neck pickup, and a Les Paul overdub.I played them both through my 50-watt Marshall.

    For the disco part in the breakdown, I used an Ovation Breadwinner through a Line 6 Flextone. At the store where I got my very first Kay guitar, the Breadwinner was the top of the line, and I said to myself, “I’ll have one of those someday!” I now own two.

    Tom Morello, Guitar Player – July 2000

    Also, while working in the studio, he had the guitar connected to a vintage Vox Tone Bender fuzz pedal and a Music Man amp. As the guitar was laying around it accidentally picked up a signal from a Korean radio station which the band ended up using as a part of the “Sleep Now in the Fire” song.

  • Fender FSR Stratocaster “Soul Power”

    Tom Morello’s Fender FSR Stratocaster “Soul Power”

    This guitar is a model that was made by Fender as a Factory Special Run for the Guitar Center retailer chain. So as opposed to the Arm the Homeless guitar, which was put together from various parts, this guitar was largely already ready to play when Tom bought it, but of course, he had to do some modifications first.

    Tom Morello holding his Fender FSR Stratocaster “Soul Power” guitar.
    Tom Morello holding his Fender FSR Stratocaster “Soul Power” guitar.

    Before we get into that, it’s important to mention that the Soul Power Stratocaster was Tom Morello’s main guitar with the Audioslave, and he recorded most of the band’s songs on it. The whole purpose of buying this guitar for Tom was to start things over, to go somewhere else musically with this new band.

    This is the Audioslave guitar. It was a new band, we were discovering an entirely different sonic landscape, led by Chris Cornell’s beautiful and terrifying vocals.

    I knew with the “Soul Power” guitar, before we’ve even written a song with Audioslave, wherever this guitar takes me on that journey, that’s where the journey is gonna go for me as a guitarist. The second I got this guitar, the second I got home, I scrawled “Soul Power” on it. I knew that it was a new era for my music and a new band.

    Tom Morello Tells The Story Behind His Fender ‘Soul Power’ Audioslave Stratocaster

  • Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop "Budweiser"

    Tom Morello’s Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop “Budweiser”

    Tom got this guitar at the time of recording Audioslave’s Revelations album in 2006. The guitar itself was made in 2002 by Gibson Custom Shop in a very limited number and featured the Budweiser logo and crown on the body.

    When Tom initially tried the guitar he fell in love with the sound, but hated the beer logo – so he decided to get rid of it. He went outside of his studio and used a lighter to literally burn the design of the body, exposing the white primer paint.

    Our producer, Brendan O’Brien, brought a plethora of guitars to the studio. Usually, I try to find that one orphan guitar to use, because a lot of times, that’s the guitar you’re going to be able to get some music out of.

    One day I found this Les Paul sitting in the corner─and I love Les Pauls, of course, absolutely adore them─but the weird and shocking thing was, somebody had painted this hideous, screaming orange beer logo on it. I mean, a beer logo on a Les Paul? It just isn’t done.

    I felt sorry for it. I wanted to use it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to play it with that beer logo. I tried scraping it off─no dice. So I decided to get serious and a little inventive about the matter. I went into the parking lot with the guitar and a lighter, and I set the enamel of the guitar on fire.

    I was surprised that it burnt very slowly. So there I am, having a fine time, watching this beer logo burn, and after a while it didn’t look so bad anymore. Then I took some steel wool to it, sanded it down, and it looked beautiful. And I’ll tell you something: The guitar played and sounded awesome! I wound up using it all over the album.

    Tom Morello

    Tom with the
    Tom with the “Budweiser” Les Paul.
  • 2000s James Trussart Steelcaster

    Tom Morello’s 2000s James Trussart Steelcaster

    This is the second of at least two James Trussart guitars Tom Morello owned and played. This guitar he played mostly during the Rage reunion tour and with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band circa 2008.

    The guitar was equipped with a Hot Rails pickup in the bridge position and an Alnico pro II in the neck position. It had a perforated hollow metal body, with a maple neck fitted onto it, featuring a rosewood fingerboard. The guitar was finished in a dark green color with a red star in a white circle.

    A James Trussart Steelcaster that Tom Morello played during the Rage reunion tour and with the E Street Band.
    A James Trussart Steelcaster that Tom Morello played during the Rage reunion tour and with the E Street Band. Credit: Eden, Janine and Jim from New York City

Tom Morello's Acoustic Guitars

  • Applause AA-31

    Tom Morello’s Applause AA-31

    Tom got this guitar around the time he was heading off the college circa 1986 and used it with the band “Lock Up” and in the early days of the RATM.

    The Applause brand is owned by Ovation Guitars. In the 1970s, Ovation introduced the Applause line as a more affordable alternative to their high-end guitars. While Applause guitars were designed to be more budget-friendly, they still featured many of the same innovations and technologies that made Ovation guitars famous, such as the rounded back design and high-quality materials.

    The Applause AA-31 featured fiberglass back and sides that were meant to provide durability and resistance to changes in temperature and humidity, while the spruce top was intended to deliver a balanced and bright sound. The shallow bowl body shape also made the guitar more comfortable to play for extended periods of time.

  • Ibanez GA60SCE “Whatever it Takes”

    Tom Morello’s Ibanez GA60SCE “Whatever it Takes”

    Tom got this guitar in 2002, around the time he was starting the whole Nightwatchman thing.

    His nylon string guitar that he had at the time, which he was using in his apartment, wasn’t really made for live gigs, so he turned to Ibanez for advice. It’s unclear at this point whether Ibanez just sent out a couple of GA60SCE models to him, or whether they were custom-made just for Tom.

    Tom with the Ibanez GA60SCE guitar at the 2011 New York Comic Con. Photo by: Marnie Joyce

    In any case, Tom used one of those guitars as his main acoustic guitar for most of the recordings he did as the Nightwatchman. The other one he apparently gave to the Woody Guthrie Museum in Oklahoma.

  • Gibson J-45 “Black Spartacus”

    Tom Morello’s Gibson J-45 “Black Spartacus”

    This is Tom’s main steel string acoustic guitar which he’s been using as The Nightwatchman. The guitar is completely black and features Morello’s own design on the left of the bridge which combines the Kenyan, Italian, and American flags along with the hammer and sickle symbols.

    The guitar is dubbed “Black Spartacus”, and Tom even wrote a song about it called “Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine” – a name inspired by Clash’s Mick Jones Clash who referred to his guitar as “heart attack machine”.

    Tom also used this guitar at the Occupy Wall Street protest in 2011 and still has the setlist from that day taped to the back of the guitar.

    Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello playing a set on Day 28 of Occupy Wall Street in New York. Photo by: By David Shankbone
    Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello playing a set on Day 28 of Occupy Wall Street in New York. Photo by: By David Shankbone

Tom Morello's Amps

  • Marshall JCM 800 2205 50W

    Tom Morello’s Marshall JCM 800 2205 50W

    Tom used this Marshall as his main amp ever since 1988 when his old Marshall was stolen from his van. At that time Morello was playing in a band called Lock Up, which he joined after Mike Livingston, who was the guitarist and the original founder of the band, left in late 1987.

    The reason behind that was I had to record a demo for my band on the weekend and all my gear got stolen out of my van. I only had a couple days to replace the gear and I went to the local music store in Hollywood. I went in there and they only had one Peavey cabinet, so I bought that. They had two heads, a Marshall and something else. I was suspicious of the something else so I bought the Marshall and that was it. It worked on that demo and I’ve loved the sound from that combo to this day—no magical rhyme or reason, but it has worked out for me quite well.

    Tom Morello Interview by Chris Kies, Premier Guitar December 16, 2008

    Tom Morello's Marshall JCM800.
    Tom Morello’s Marshall JCM800.

    According to the same interview linked above, Tom did some experimenting in 1988/89 but after a while decided to go back to the Marshall and Peavey combo. He played with the knobs on the amp to get the sound exactly where he wanted it, and he stuck with those exact same settings ever since.

  • Line 6 Flextone

    Tom Morello’s Line 6 Flextone

    Tom used a Line 6 Flextone guitar amp on one part of the song “Testify?”. The amp was paired with Tom’s Ovation Breadwinner guitar and can be heard around the 2:20 minute mark, during what Tom calls the “disco part”.

    For the disco part in the breakdown (on “Testify?”), I used an Ovation Breadwinner through a Line 6 Flextone.

    Tom Morello, Guitar Player – July 2000

    Tom did not specify the exact model of the Flextone that he was using, but it was likely one of the single-speaker versions. He either used the Flextone 1×12, or the Flextone Plus – which also had one 12″ speaker but it also had a connection for stereo operation via 1×12″ extension cabinet. Both of those are 60w models.

    The Line 6 Flextone amp is a digital modeling guitar amplifier that was first introduced in the late 1990s. It was an early version of the modeling amps that have flooded the market in recent years, and it offered 16 different amp modes, and a number of digital effects including delay, chorus, flangers, and others.

  • Marshall Lead 20

    Tom Morello’s Marshall Lead 20

    This is a small 20W practice amp with a 10-inch speaker which Tom used to record the song “Tire Me”. As far as the guitar, for that occasion, he used his 1960s St. George MP-2 guitar.

    This guitar/amp combo was used to record “Tire Me” on the Evil Empire album which came out 25 years ago last week. The guitar, which I’m not even sure is made out of wood (plywood?) cost 40 Canadian dollars at a Toronto pawn shop and the amp is a 20 watt solid state practice amp I had in my apartment. The song won our first Grammy.

    Tom Morello – Instagram

    Marshall Lead 20 seen in Tom's personal studio.
    Marshall Lead 20 seen in Tom’s personal studio.
  • Vox AC30 TB(X)

    Tom Morello’s Vox AC30 TB(X)

    Tom Morello used this amp for doubling guitars/recording multiple tracks on Audioslave’s Revelations album (2006).

    Ordinarily, I’m very militant; I only want to use my crappy old setup. Brendan, of course, has tons of amps and gear. I tried one of his Vox AC30 reissues and it sounded amazing.

    Tom Morello – Science Friction; GuitarWorld (now offline)

    By “reissue” Tom is likely referring to the Vox AC30TB or TBX model which was produced until around 2004.

  • Music Man HD-130

    Tom Morello’s Music Man HD-130 2×12 Combo

    The Music Man HD-130 combo amp was seen at Tom’s home studio on a promotional video he did for Dunlop after the release of his TBM95 Signature Cry Baby Wah pedal.

    Tom at his home studio, with the Music Man HD-130 amp seen in the background.
    Tom at his home studio, with the Music Man HD-130 amp seen in the background.

    The amp was also seen in a photo that Tom posted on his Instagram profile on March 1, 2017, just after he finished the work on Prophets of Rage’s debut album. Based on his description, the Music Man HD-130 was either used for overdubs, since that’s usually the last thing you do, or it could’ve even been his main amp on the record.

    And…that’s a wrap. New Prophets of Rage music is locked & loaded. Had a great time crafting the cultural counteroffensive, plus this Music Man amp & Swollen Pickle.

    Tom Morello – Instagram


Tom Morello's Effects

  • MXR Phase 90

    Tom Morello’s MXR Phase 90

    This is one of the longest-standing pedals on Tom Morello’s pedalboard – he had it since the early 90. However, the pedal only gets used once in all the songs he wrote, which is at the very beginning of “Killing in the Name”, during the first four bars.

    The MXR Phase 90 is a phaser guitar effects pedal that creates a swirling, sweeping sound by modulating the phase of the guitar signal. It has a single control knob that adjusts the rate of the phase-shifting effect. Turning the knob clockwise increases the speed and intensity of the effect while turning it counterclockwise slows it down.

  • Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah

    Tom Morello’s Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah

    The Dunlop GCB95 is Tom Morello’s main wah pedal and the one he has been using exclusively ever since he got it in the late 80s.

    In the interview with Premier Guitar, during which Tom talked about his rig, he mentioned that he doesn’t really use this pedal in a traditional way – to create a wah effect during his solos, for instance. Instead, he found a way to use the pedal in such a way that makes his own techniques, like scratching, sound better.

    I rarely use the wah pedal as a sort of traditional shreddy, bluesy wah. I found that it helps in the scratching area (making scratching sounds). So when I scratch I could click on the wah, depress it all the way, and it makes even more like a white-noisey sound.

    Tom Morello – Premium Guitar

    Tom Morello's Effect Pedals (1980s-2000s)
    Tom Morello’s Effect Pedals (1980s-2000s) Digitech Whammy WH-1, Dunlop Cry Baby Wah, DOD FX40B EQ, 2×Boss Digital Delay, MXR Phase90, VoodooLabs Pedal Power II Plus – Play It Loud. MET (2019-05-13 19.16.34 by Eden, Janine and Jim)
  • Ibanez DFL Flanger

    Tom Morello’s Ibanez DFL Flanger

    Tom Morello seemed to have used the Ibanez DLF Flanger from around 1991 to at least around 1998. The pedal was seen during a 1993 Rage Against the Machine gig (photo below), and on one of those rig diagrams, this one in particular dating to the late 90s.

    Tom used the Ibanez DFL Flanger throughout Rage Against the Machine’s first album. It can be heard at the very start of “Killing in the Name” – although nowadays Tom actually uses an MXR Phase 90 to play that same part live. I can be also heard on songs such as “Township Rebellion” and “Know Your Enemy”.

    Tom Morello's pedalboard in 1993. The Ibanez DFL is the second closest pedal.
    Tom Morello’s pedalboard in 1993. The Ibanez DFL is the second closest pedal.
  • Digitech WH-1 Whammy

    Tom Morello’s Digitech WH-1 Whammy

    Tom used this pedal (exclusively only the original vintage model) for the most part of his career, and it can be heard among others during the solo on “Killing in the Name” and “Like a Stone”, and the main riffs on “Know Your Enemy” and “Bullet in Head”.

    He uses his Whammy pedal to create a range of pitch-shifting effects, including octave harmonies, dive bombs, and unique sounds that mimic turntable scratching. He often uses the pedal to create dramatic, high-pitched squeals and harmonics, as well as to create rhythmic effects by having the pedal active while rapidly toggling the “kill switch” on his guitar.

    The whammy pedal for me was a great invention because I never had the patience to read all the manuals (that came with various pedals), and when you plugged them in they drained all the sound and it sounded kinda crappy.

    So when heard there was a harmonizer in a stompbox, I thought I gotta get me one of those. It was right around the time of beginning with Rage Agains The Machine, and I was basically designated to be the band’s DJ. I found that with very simple manipulations, with a very simple pedal, all of the sudden the guitar for me was finding a lot of very new sonic possibilities.

    Tom Morello: Tricks & Guitar Gear]

  • DOD FX40B Equalizer

    Tom Morello’s DOD FX40B Equalizer

    This pedal is a regular on Tom Morello’s pedalboard, and Tom uses it to boost his signal during solos.

    The EQ pedal I use exclusively for boost. It’s from back in the days when we were playing clubs, and I couldn’t trust the soundman to know when the guitar solo was gonna come.

    Tom Morello – Premier Guitar

    He seems to have all the sliders around the fourth bar from the bottom, with black adhesive tape preventing them to get out of position.

    If you’re curious what an EQ (Equalizer) guitar pedal actually does, it basically allows you to adjust the levels of different frequencies of your guitar signal. It typically has several sliders or knobs that you can use to boost or cut different frequencies, such as bass, midrange, and treble.

  • Boss DD-3 Digital Delay

    Tom Morello’s Boss DD-3 Digital Delay

    This is Tom’s main delay pedal. In recent years has been using two DD-3s on his pedalboard, but it’s possible that in the early days, he used a different version, like the DD-2.

    Tom has one of his DD-3s set for a longer delay, and the other for a shorter one. The first pedal he keeps as is, while the other he adjusts according to two different setups that he has drawn on a tape covering the pedal (see image below). One is called “Short” and the other “Halen”.

    Settings on Tom Morello's DD-3 delay pedals.
    Settings on Tom Morello’s DD-3 delay pedals.

  • Talk Box

    Tom Morello’s Talk Box

    Tom Morello used a Talkbox effect on the song “Guerrilla Radio” from RATMs album The Battle of Los Angeles released in 1996, and on the solo on “Wake Up” released in 1992.

    As far as “Guerilla Radio” goes, the effect can be heard on the solo, which consists of two tracks – one recorded with the talk box, and the other with the Digitech WH-1 Whammy set one octave up.

    The phased sound before the solo is an Electro-Harmonix Small Stone. The solo is two tracks. On one part I’m using a Talk Box and triggering the notes with the toggle switch. The second part is the Whammy pedal set one octave up, with a wah and the toggle switch effect.

    On the main riff there are two guitars – the Tele on the neck pickup, and a Les Paul overdub.

    Tom Morello, Guitar Player – July 2000

    Unfortunately, the exact model of the talk box is unknown.

  • Locobox Analog Delay AD-01

    Tom Morello’s Locobox Analog Delay AD-01

    This pedal was seen on Tom Morello’s pedalboard around 1993.

    Since we don’t have any earlier photos of Tom’s pedalboard, it’s possible that this Locobox was the precursor to the Bos DD-2 delay that Tom has been using now. It’s also possible that the Locobox was used briefly, perhaps because Tom’s old Boss pedal broke, and he wanted to try something else.

    Tom Morello;s pedalboard in 1993.
  • Ibanez AD9 Analog Delay

    Tom Morello’s Ibanez AD9 Analog Delay

    The Ibanez AD-1 delay pedal was seen briefly on Tom Morello’s pedalboard in 1993. Based on the photo of his pedalboard (see below), the pedal was not plugged in, so it was likely there just as a backup in case something went wrong with his Locobox delay that he was using at that time.

    Tom Morello’s pedalboard in 1993. Circled are the Ibanez AD9, which has no cables going from the output, and the Locobox Analog Delay.
  • Electro-Harmonix Small Stone

    Tom Morello’s Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Phase Shifter

    Tom Morello used the Electro-Harmonix Small Stone phased on the song “Guerilla Radio” the effect can be heard during the “build-up” part just before the solo.

    The phased sound before the solo is an Electro-Harmonix Small Stone. The solo is two tracks. On one part I’m using a Talk Box and triggering the notes with the toggle switch. The second part is the Whammy pedal set one octave up, with a wah and the toggle switch effect.

    Tom Morello, Guitar Player – July 2000

    It’s interesting to point out that Tom has the MXR Phase 90 pedal on his pedalboard pretty much always, so it’s unclear why he decided to use the Small Stone phaser instead on that occasion. Maybe there’s some subtle thing that he liked about the Small Stone that the Phase 90 could not offer, or maybe the Small Stone was just the pedal that was around at that specific moment, so that’s why it was used.

  • Boss TR-2 Tremolo

    Tom Morello’s Boss TR-2 Tremolo

    Tom Morello used the Boss TR-2 Tremolo pedal on the main/opening riff on the song “Like a Stone” by Audioslave.

    The pedal could also be seen on Tom Morello’s pedalboard around that same period during which he was playing with Audioslave. It was pictured on the 2004 rig diagram that you can find on the internet, which originates from the website. It was also seen in some fan photos taken around that same time, circa 2005.

    It’s obvious from this that Tom only uses the pedal when he has to perform “Like a Stone” live, and that’s the only song on which he uses the pedal.

    As far as settings on Tom’s TR-2, apparently, every knob is set to around 3 o’clock.

  • Boss SE-50 Stereo Effects Processor

    Tom Morello’s Boss SE-50 Stereo Effects Processor

    Tom used the Boss SE-50 Stereo Effects Processor on the solo for the song “Show Me How to Live” from Audioslave’s 2002 album, and for the “duck” sound of “Sound of a Gun” from the band’s 2006 album “Revelations”.

    The Boss SE-50 is a stereo effects processor that was released in the mid-1990s. It features 48 different effects, including reverbs, delays, choruses, flangers, phasers, and more. It also has a built-in EQ, noise gate, and compressor, as well as a programmable signal chain that allows you to create and save your own custom effects patches.

  • Digitech XP300 Space Station

    Tom Morello’s Digitech XP300 Space Station

    The Digitech XP300 Space Station pedal could be seen on Tom’s pedalboard starting from around 2017.

    Tom got the pedal sort of as a joke since he often tells the story of how Digitech released this pedal after he recorded the first two albums with RaTM, and the pedal was Digitech’s way of trying to take or recreate that sound. He jokingly says that he got the pedal in order to take those sounds back.

    There’s also an old DigiTech Space Station. 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.

    Tom Morello’s ‘The Atlas Underground’

    Even though Tom jokes that the pedal is “crappy”, it’s actually pretty sought after. You’ll find used pedals for upwards of $600, and for those that come with the original box and are well preserved, the price shoots up to $1000.

  • Dunlop TBM95 Cry Baby Wah

    Tom Morello’s Dunlop TBM95 Signature Cry Baby Wah

    This is the signature Tom Morello wah pedal made by Dunlop in 2020. The internals of the pedal are copied straight from the Dunlop GCB95 wah, which is the wah that Tom used exclusively since the late 80s when he first bought it. That model is no longer being produced, so the Tom Morello wah is sort of just a reissue of that model.

    Externally, Tom worked with Dunlop to create a design that fits his style. The pedal is finished in red, it has a red star engraved on the foot switch, and it has “sometimes history needs a push” written on one side, and “you don’t need a weapon when you were born one” on the other.

    Tom using the Dunlop TBM95 wah on his pedalboard, 2020.
    Tom using the Dunlop TBM95 wah on his pedalboard, 2020.

Tom Morello's Strings

  • GHS GBCL Boomers 9-46

    Tom Morello’s GHS GBCL Boomers 9-46

    Tom Morello uses the GHS Boomers guitar strings on all of his guitars that have some sort of a tremolo, so on the Arm the Homeless guitar and the Soul Power Strat, mainly. The set has the following gauges, starting from high E: .009 .011 .016 .026 .036 .046.

    Tom also does not cut the ends of his strings but keeps them hanging around loosely. When asked by Howard Stern why he did this, Tom told a little story about how he was sort of mocked for doing so in the early years, so he stopped doing it until he started playing in RATM.

    When I was in Electric Sheep, I didn’t cut the string form my guitar because I thought it looked cool. And I was shamed by a musician friend, and he said “cut your damn strings, what do you think you are, you think you’re in the baddest band in town?” And I was like, I’m definetely not in the baddest band in town, so I cut my strings.

    Years later, in Rage Against the Machine, I WAS in the baddest band in town, so I left my strings go.

    Tom Morello – Howard Stern Show, 2021

  • GHS GBL Boomers 10-46

    Tom Morello’s GHS GBL Boomers 10-46

    Tom Morello uses the GHS Boomers 10 – 46 on all of his guitars that don’t have a tremolo – so on his black Fender Telecaster and his Gibson Les Pauls. The set has the following gauges: .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046.

    On the guitars that he has tuned to drop D or drop B, he has the low E string replaced with a .056.

    For alt tunings, one guitar per tuning. Arm the homeless in 440 E, tele in drop D, les paul in drop B. Fatter string on low D and B

    Tom Morello – Twitter


Tom Morello's Accessories

  • Dunlop Tortex Jazz Purple 1.14mm

    Tom Morello’s Dunlop Tortex Jazz Purple 1.14mm Guitar Picks

    Tom Morello, most often uses the purple Dunlop Tortex Jazz 1.14mm guitar picks. On occasion, he was also seen using the regular 351-shaped picks with his own custom prints, but the Jazz picks seem to be his favorite.

    A line of purple Dunlop Jazz guitar picks ready for Tom to use during a gig.
    A line of purple Dunlop Jazz guitar picks ready for Tom to use during a gig.

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