Rage Against the Machine Instrumentation

Tom Morello's Setup

"Come with me and explore the medieval hinterlands, courtesy of my guitar." - Tom Morello

Contributed by Charlie McIntosh

Marshall JCM-800 50-watt head circa 1987, which connects to a Peavey 4x12 cabinet with labels taken off and painted with Che Guevara.

Through the back of the head runs his effects loop which is (from guitar to amp):


Other accessories:
Tom has several tools that he uses on stage sitting on top of his amp.

Solo Effects on Particular Songs

Tom Morello himself explains how to play this song in his first column, "Battle Cry", for Guitar World magazine. Access it by clicking here.

Guerrilla Radio:
Turn one pickup's volume to 10, the other to 0.  Use your picking hand to toggle the switch back and forth between the pickups.  I won't give them the rhythm, but most of the time, you're on the "10" pickup on the "D", "G", and "B". strings, using the 12, 14, and 16th frets.  You can figure it out using the tablature, most parts are just raised up an octave from what it says.  Also use a wah pedal during the solo.

Calm Like a Bomb:
Guitar One magazine transcribed this song in it's entirety in their February 2000 issue. Access the article here.

Mic Check:
Tom describes how he plays this song in the 2nd installment of his Guitar World column, "Radikal Shriek". Read it here.

Sleep Now In the Fire:
Here, Tom Morello is manipulating feedback.  Using the "Pickup Setup" (10 / 0 and toggle between the two).  Stand next to the amp so close that you get feedback (the more the better.) Just manipulate the whammy bar to create similiar rhythmic note patterns.  Always keep the feedback going at all times - it's the only way to get that sound. Read Radikal Shriek: Tom's Guitar World column on this song.

Bulls on Parade:
There's not one tab I can find that has the CORRECT way to do this. I found out by accident just messing around.  Using the "Pickup Setup" thing, slide your hand (your hold hand) slightly over the strings so that you're touching, but not pressing down, over the strings back and forth.  You'll get use to it after awhile at it.

Bullet in the Head:
Tom removes the plug from the guitar and taps it against the strings to create a "buzzing" sound. Combine with effects (wah, delah, whammy) During the verse of the song, use the whammy pedal to write the "screech" sound, combined with a tremolo arm to lower the last tone more easily.

Killing In The Name:
Requires the whammy set a couple of octaves up for the solo, and a flanger for the intro chords. Word is that during the solo, Tom plays a really fast blues scale, trill-picking.

Know Your Enemy:
A tremolo arm is used for the weird effect after the solo, and mastering the toggle switch technique is a must. The whammy pedal should be used on the 5th setting.

Township Rebellion:
First, you need a Fender Telecaster because the neck is a certain length behind the nut and will (with the strings) produce a certain pitch. (Read your physics text book for a better explanation). Release your "fret-hand" and play the g-string behind the nut. The note is in the key of D, and Tim's friend told him that you can't produce the sound exactly unless you have Tom Morello's guitar. Stephen Quinlan can get the same effect on his '74 Fender Strat by removing the little clamps on the headstock, and so anyone should be able to get the same effect on any standard Strat.

Tackling the Toggle
By jamarkus.

Toms guitar has a toggle switch and two pickups. Each Pickup has a volume control. Pickup 1's volume (rhythm) is set to "0". Pickup 2's volume (treble) is set to "10" (or max.) When toggle is on rhythm, there is no sound coming from the guitar. When the toggle is on treble, it is at maximum volume. The toggle works as a kill switch, creating short pauses in the music. Notes come from the left hand, by pressing down lightly on thr fretboard to register a note through the pickups. Normally, Tom uses a whammy pedal to create most of the sounds when using the toggle.

The kill switch works the way it does becuase their are 2 different volume controls for each pickup. The switch toggles between using each pickup by the manual movement (by you) of a lever through 3 different positions. One pickup (normally the rhythm, or "up" position) is set on 0, and the other is on 10 (treble). When you play a single, continuous note, and move the toggle, it will switch back and forth between pickup 1, and pickup 10. When it is on pickup 1, no sound. pickup 2, as lous as the amp will go.

Tim Commerford's setup:

Black + white Fender Bass
Modified Fender Jazz Bass
Rickenbacker 4 string

Ampeg 100 watt head amps
Ampeg 8X10 cabinets

2 distortions: One distortion, one overdrive
Bass wah

Brad Wilk's setup

(image pulled from "DRUM!" magazine's feature on Brad)

Drums: Premier Signia Marquis Cymbals: Zildijian Others:
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