Ghost of Tom Joad
Lyrics by Bruce Springsteen based on John Steinbeck’s novel "The Grapes of Wrath"
Music by Rage Against the Machine
Dropped D Tuning (  )=let note ring for a bit.  Listen to song to get 
an idea for how long.

I didn’t tab this song by ear. I found a bunch of different tabs on 
the net and tried them all, and put all the right parts together into 
one comprehensive tab.  I’ve been playing the song for a year now, and 
have studied video of Tom Morello playing the song live and this is 
pretty close.  When Rage performs it live, Tom uses a Jimmy Page style 
Gibson Les Paul doubleneck guitar (the bottom neck is a 6 string which 
he uses for most of the song, and the top neck is a 12 string that he 
uses only for the pre-verse).   The song still sounds great on a plain 
old 6 string though.  If you want to approximate a 12-string like 
sound for the pre-verse, use a chorus pedal to give the guitar more 
depth to the sound, although Tom doesn’t use a chorus in his pedal 
loop.  

Intro

Palm mute the B and G strings and do some really fast alternate 
picking while sliding up and down the neck between both strings at 
varying speeds (PICK ONLY ONE STRING AT A TIME!).  It sounds kinda 
weird if you read it on paper.  Watch Rage’s home video and you’ll 
see what I mean.  Listen to the record to get the idea, although Tom 
does it a little different live.  He also uses a little bit of digital 
delay to get a kind of ring while he picks the strings.  Do it for 
about 20 seconds. 

Chorus (repeat 4x)

E----------------------------------
B----------------------------------
G----------------------------------
D----------------------------------
A-------5-3-0----------3------0-3
D---0-----------5-3-0------5-----

On 4th time, end with 

E------
B------
G------
D--(0)--
A--(0)--
D--(0)--
Pick upward hard, let ring with a little bit of distortion/feedback

Verse ("Man walks along the railroad tracks…") (repeat 13x)

E------------------------------
B------------------------------
G------------------------------
D------------------------------
A--(5)---3------0---3--------
D-------------5----------------

Then it changes on the 14th time ("No job, no hope, no peace, no rest…")

E-------------------------------
B-------------------------------
G---------5-5------------------
D---------5-5--3------0---3--
A-----5--------------5---------
D---5--------------------------

Chorus 

Pre-verse (use delay and flange on slide, then turn delay off and keep flange for second part)

E-----------------------
B-----------------------
G-10s3---3----0-3----
D-10s3------5---------
A-----------------------
D-----------------------

Verse ("He pulls his prayer book out of a sleeping bag…")

Chorus

Pre-verse

Verse ("Wherever you see a cop beating a guy…") Only play it 8x this time!

Bridge ("Wherever somebody’s struggling for a place to stand…") 4:24-4:48
E---------
B---------
G---------
D--X-X-X
A--X-X-X
D--X-X-X
Mute strings by barring bottom strings at the third fret.  Get helicopter choppy type sound by picking the bass strings really hard.  Listen to the song for the pattern.  

Then from 4:48-4:55, it goes into this riff ("Look in their eyes, Ma…You’ll see me…") 
Not exactly sure about the timing.  Gradually lift your finger so you eventually are only playing the open strings.  The fingering’s right, just listen to the song and figure it out.
E-----------------------
B-----------------------
G-----------------------
D--X--X--X--X--0--0
A--X--X--0--0--0--0
D--0--0--0--0--0--0

Chorus




Outro (end of chorus "I’m sitting down here in the campfire light with the ghost of Tom Joad.")
Use delay and listen to song for the speed of the slide.  
E------------------
B------------------
G--16--16s0-----
D--16--16s0-----
A------------------
D------------------

That’s it… Enjoy playing this kickass cover song!

...back to tabulature