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MasterClass Guitar Review (Can You Play Better With Celebrity Lessons?)

MasterClass boasts top shelf celebrities and personalities as their instructors, but do they deliver? Are the lessons really worth the price of admission? Find out in our MasterClass Guitar Review!

We hope you find this article helpful and unbiased. By using links on this page we may receive compensation at no extra cost. If you do, thank you so much!

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What is MasterClass?

MasterClass is an online instructional platform that contains hundreds of hours of educational content from some of the most instantly recognizable personalities and celebrities in their chosen fields.

Sporting incredibly polished and professionally produced content, the site includes courses from iconic names such as Martin Scorsese, Samuel L. Jackson, Gordon Ramsey, Serena Williams, and of course, many famous names in the music industry.

MasterClass Guitar Courses at a Glance

Tom Morello - MasterClass Guitar Course-panel

Tom Morello
Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar


Practical, clear advice and tech supported by theory

4.7 out of 5 stars


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Santana - MasterClass Guitar Course-panel

Carlos Santana
The Art and Soul of Guitar


Find inspiration, connect and get into the proper mindset

3.9 out of 5 stars


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St. Vincent - MasterClass Guitar Course-panel

St. Vincent
Creativity and Songwriting


Learn creativity that injects interest into your own music

4.5 out of 5 stars


Learning Guitar with MasterClass

Riding the wave of internet-based lessons and learning, MasterClass guitar courses include multiple award-winning instructors who can help you polish your skills.

This article covers three select courses:

  • Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar
  • Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar
  • and St. Vincent Teaches Creativity and Songwriting.

All three names are icons in the music industry and undeniably possess a ton of knowledge. But are we getting more sizzle than steak?

We’ll review all three guitar courses in great detail, warts and all, to help determine the benefits and downsides of each one.

MasterClass Guitar Lessons in Review

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Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar

Tom Morello-masterclass-headers

A comprehensive Tom Morello MasterClass review.

As one of the better online courses you can find on the website, you’re sure to enjoy it, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player.

Tom Morello MasterClass Overview:

Morello’s class covers the following topics:
  • Tom’s history, experiences, and gear
  • Advice and tutorials on writing songs and riffs
  • Detailed case studies about RATM songs
  • Philosophy and advice on various subjects, such as recording, performing, practice, etc.
MasterClass Guitar Review - Tom Morello
Tom Morello Guitar MasterClass Video List:
  1. Introduction
  2. Developing Your Creative Voice
  3. Riffs
  4. Gear: Pedals and Effects
  5. Tones and Sounds
  6. Tom’s Noise Chart
  7. Rock, Jazz, Classical, and Folk
  8. Tom’s Influences: EDM, the Blues, and Hip-hop
  9. Practice
  10. Technique: Developing Speed
  11. Beginner Theory: Pentatonic and Blues Scales
  12. Theory: Unlocking the Fretboard
  13. Improvisation
  1. Solos
  2. Solo Case Study: “The Ghost of Tom Joad”
  3. Rock Songwriting Fundamentals
  4. Riff Rock Writing: Verses and Multitracking
  5. Riff Rock Writing: Chorus, Solo, and Arrangement
  6. Lyrics and Melody
  7. Studio Recording
  8. Case Study: “Killing in the Name”
  9. Live Shows: Philosophy and Nerves
  10. Live Shows: Practicalities and Performance
  11. Bands and Collaboration
  12. Gear: Tom’s Guitars and Amps
  13. Conclusion

Beginning the course, Tom focuses is on teaching you how to develop your unique style and creative voice while providing examples from his own experiences.

He then moves starts elaborating on his riff writing approach. Stylistically, unique sounds and compelling riffs lie in the center of Tom’s performances.

As with any strong personality, it’s no surprise that he puts so much emphasis on his own approach while teaching his students.

Tom Morello Guitar MasterClass

Another fascinating part of the Tom Morello MasterClass course is his take on what being an artist really means.

Tom believes everybody has their creative voice and mentions how to find it and use it in the first video.

“I’d like to teach a class that makes your guitar playing, meaningful to you.”

Moreover, he encourages his students to move on from imitating their favorite players to exploring and pushing the boundaries with their instruments.

This is an integral part of developing your own creative voice, own playing style and sonic identity.

The middle section of the course tackles practice philosophy, music theory, basic techniques, improvisation, and Tom’s role models.

For instance, Tom refers to several involved exercises designed to eventually help you play a lot faster. Plus he illustrates how to apply the theory and techniques with various examples.

In the final portion of the Tom Morello MasterClass course, he talks about case studies about RATM songs, demonstrates how to write a full song, and advises on collaborating and performing with other players.

Tom Morello MasterClass Review: The Good and The Bad

What We Like

      • Refreshing teaching methods
      • Clear explanations and demonstrations
      • Practical exercises supported by theory
      • The course has content great for all proficiency levels

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What We Don’t Like

      • Not good for students looking for 100% technical playing guides
      • Students may not enjoy the entirety of the course, depending on their skill level

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View the Tom Morello MasterClass Here >>

Defining Tom Morello’s Electric Guitar MasterClass


The core idea of the course is to help you hone your skills, regardless of your proficiency. There are plenty of materials and assignments that can turn your passive experience into active learning.

The entire course targets several groups – from enthusiasts who play the electric guitar for a hobby, to players aspiring to become professionals.

That being said, it’s hard to say exactly who would benefit most from the course.

Again, maintaining the focus on individuality, the course drifts away from a conventional teaching approach, to motivating students to develop their own style rather than emulate other players.

Tom Morello Guitar MasterClass

Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar – An Inside Look


The most significant benefit of this MasterClass Tom Morello course may be the unique teaching style.

This isn’t a regular video lesson you can find on YouTube or Udemy.

Instead of spending about 10 minutes explaining how to play songs from a technical perspective, Tom shows how to develop your own segments inspired by many RATM songs.

One significant detail that separates Tom’s course from typical lessons is that he doesn’t provide a step-by-step guide on playing songs.

He focuses on how parts of songs were written, why the he, the instructor chose that approach, and how to develop similar parts.

Additionally, there are no tutorials on using a DAW (Digital Audio Worksation) to record your parts.

As an alternative, Tom shows you how to record riffs and build them into a song.

Tom Morello Guitar MasterClass

Another special aspect of the Tom Morello MasterClass is that Tom not only aims to teach you how to learn to play the guitar, but perform and write music as well.

Even though he provides some exercises, the technical aspect is not the central issue in his videos.

The goal of many of them is getting you in the right mindset with the music you’re playing. As a result, the course is quite refreshing and will help you put the advice and philosophy into action.

Personality Goes a Long Way

Overall, Tom comes across as an excellent, personable guitar teacher. By comparison, many renowned guitarists may be well-versed in their trade, but aren’t necessarily good at teaching.

In fact his teaching skills stood out during the riff sections. Tom starts by illustrating a RATM riff and explains where the inspiration for the riff came from. Later, he shows various ways of modifying the riff and taking it in other directions.

Tom Morello Guitar MasterClass

Like most players, Tom was influenced by numerous people from the music industry. Accordingly, he explains several techniques from different genres he developed by listening to them.

Here’s a cross-section of genres you’ll encounter in Tom Morello’s MasterClass:

  • Classical music
  • Jazz
  • Rock
  • The blues
  • Folk music
  • Hip-hop
  • EDM
  • Non-guitar sounds

Not only has he picked up techniques by listening to such a dynamic mix of styles, but he’s also picked up the melody and attitude. Therefore, Tom can share extensive knowledge and add versatility to your course.

Also, Tom thought the course through before publishing it. He determined what his students need to know and came up with a useful approach to deliver the information.

Plus, the extensive workbook is cleverly designed and features a variety of helpful practices.

TOm Morello Guitar MasterClass Workbook

With these combined aspects, Tom Morello’s course is a strong contender for the best guitar MasterClass.

If you’re expecting to take a course on how to play RATM songs from a purely technical point of view however, this isn’t the right class for you. A better alternative would be another platform such as YouTube.

Moreover, even though both novice players and experienced guitarists can appreciate Tom Morello’s Masterclass course, not every player will find all parts of the course equally useful.

For instance, beginners may have difficulty following some advanced methods, whereas more knowledgeable guitar players won’t have a lot to gain from hearing about basic electric guitar skills.

Tom Morello Guitar MasterClass

Tom Morello MasterClass Features

  • Potent riffs
  • Finger exercises
  • Utilizing the full potential of the fretboard
  • Understanding pedal effects
  • Unique sounds
Potent Riffs

One of the central issues of the Tom Morello MasterClass is learning how to play powerful riffs.

It’s a singularly dynamic electric guitar aspect Tom is famous for, and this is what components he wants his students to experiment with:

  • Adding holes
  • Enhancing tuning for dynamism
  • Double picking
  • Slides
  • Pauses and chukkas
  • Fills and locks
  • Following your guitar’s tone
  • Inverting traditional riffs

Experimenting with each of these elements is critical to creating your unique voice.

If you want to learn to play stunning riffs, just follow the tips he mentions in the video lessons. They’re straightforward, easy to apply, and yet incredibly effective.

In the course, Tom demonstrates multiple approaches to writing riffs you can take yourself.

There are numerous handy tips, such as changing your tuning to come up with a new idea.

Tom Morello MasterClass review

For example, even a simple change to Drop-D tuning can provide you with an entirely new viewpoint on riff writing – as was used to write the main riff in “Killing In The Name.”

Finger Exercises

Tom delves deep and elaborates on into repetitive exercises that can help you play your instrument faster.

He clearly explains the steps to each exercise and how to perform them correctly. His techniques are easy to follow, and over time, enable your fingers to move faster and get to the proper positions.

Plus, Tom also teaches you how to play faster gradually with the help of a metronome.

All the exercises are underpinned by many theories. By including these theoretical concepts, Tom aims for a more comprehensive ensures method of understanding the electric guitar.

As a result, you can understand the instrument better and unlock certain limitations you may be facing.

Utilizing the Full Potential of the Fretboard

Another vital segment of the course is mastering the fretboard where Tom, using broad strokes, teaches you how to perform a solo in any key.

He guides you through the typical minor keys and shows you how to utilize these scales in your playing.

Afterward, he instructs you on building on that knowledge by using the same notes in different keys.

Tom Morello Guitar MasterClass
Understanding Pedal Effects

The course has several points where Morello presents his equipment and lays out ways to maximize your potential on each segment.

One of the earlier videos in this Tom Morello MasterClass review – Gear: Pedals and Effects, is dedicated completely to pedal effects.

In the video, Tom gives advice on choosing pedal types, and how to set them up to create a diverse palette of sounds.

His basic pedalboard consists of the following effects:

  • Whammy
  • Wah-wah
  • DOD EQ
  • MXR phase 90
  • Tuner
  • Delay
  • Space station

Tom also stresses that the gear you use doesn’t matter. He doesn’t dwell on details, such as whether the fret is made of mahogany or other materials. He focuses on more important information that can improve your jamming.

Unique Sounds

The “Tones and Sounds” video sees Morello explaining how you can use pedals to develop new sounds.

He employs a noise chart to keep track of each element he develops. This is an excellent way to capture your tonal ideas and recreate them when you wish to.

Because this segment is a little more technical in nature, more experienced guitarists should it particularly more beneficial.

Tom Morello Guitar MasterClass

Who Benefits the Most From Tom Morello’s Electric Guitar MasterClass?


Anyone who wishes to learn how to play the electric guitar should take this course.

If you’re a complete beginner, you’ll have a hard time replicating Tom’s methods, but the videos and his enthusiasm will inspire you and at least expose the possibilities.

This way, you’ll know your objective, which will help you zero in on learning the fundamental electric guitar skills.

But considering the advanced techniques Tom showcases, intermediate players are sure to enjoy the course and pick up many handy tips as well.

Learn more about the Tom Morello’s MasterClass Guitar Lessons here:
Tom Morello - MasterClass Guitar Course-panel

Tom Morello
Teaches Electric Guitar

4.7 out of 5 stars


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Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar


Next up is a MasterClass Carlos Santana review. The legendary guitarist starts by maintaining that the art of playing the electric guitar not only entails technical details, but also communicating and putting your feelings into notes.

He encourages players to familiarize themselves with the musicality their guitar. Santana also explains that pushing your boundaries will help you fully understand your instrument’s potential.

Carlos Santana MasterClass Overview

Santana’s core personal musical concepts:
  • entertainment
  • tame the beast
  • and music that uplifts the world to a whole new plane of existence
MasterClass Guitar Review - Santana
Santana MasterClass Video List:
  1. Introduction
  2. Practice as Musical Offering
  3. Going Inside the Note
  4. Finding Your Own Sound
  5. A Global Music Rolodex
  6. Learning From the Blues
  7. Opening Your Ears to Rhythm
  8. Melody Is Supreme
  1. The Music Beyond the Page
  2. Leading and Playing in a Band
  3. Playing Live: Connecting With the Listener
  4. Guitars, Amps and Sustain
  5. Continuing Your Transformation
  6. Bonus: Techniques
  7. Bonus: Wisdom to Live By
  8. Bonus: Music as Language

Using emotion as the the primary driver, he focuses on how you can use guitar playing to access the gateway to total wonderment.

He includes a great deal of philosophy throughout the course, but also presents more practical elements.

During those parts, he aims to change your mindset and approach to music through mental warm-ups and breathing techniques.

Santana MasterClass: The Good and The Bad

What We Like

      • Sound advice on how to arrive at the proper state of mind when playing the electric guitar
      • Helpful suggestions on finding your source of inspiration
      • You can learn how to evoke emotion in your playing

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What We Don’t Like

      • Lacks practical tips, and Santana’s recurrent stories impede his teaching
      • The sound of Santana’s guitar is grungy sometimes.

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View the Santana MasterClass Here >>

Santana’s Guitar Course Insights


The Carlos Santana MasterClass course provides you with 16 videos dealing with an array of topics.

He walks you through each one, and there are additional materials, such as the ever-popular TAB, that help you apply the information presented in the videos.

However, Santana’s approach is unconventional, it’s more organic. Not that that’s entirely bad, but those looking for technical nuts and bolts may be disappointed.

Santana plays with his soul and heart rather than the head. He doesn’t necessarily describe how to move your fingers as you play guitar. Instead, Carlos wants to teach you how to add emotion to your music.

“You have to share with people what goes inside the note.”

Frankly, this course isn’t meant for everyone. If you want a technical guide on playing the electric guitar, you won’t find the details you’re after in Santana’s videos.

But if you’re a guitarist searching for inspiration and insight into emotional expression, you’ll discover a lot of useful tips.

Santana MasterClass Workbook

A Closer Look at the Santana MasterClass


Again, you won’t find enough practical pieces of advice in Santana’s course, but the renowned musician offers many tips that can improve your playing:

Don’t Refer to Practice as “Practice”

According to Santana, the term practice carries a negative connotation, which is why you shouldn’t refer to it like that.

You should envision practice as a chance to work on yourself and not as an obligatory task.

Reward Yourself While Practicing

If you’re making an effort to learn some techniques or scales, don’t forget to reward yourself by having fun during the practice sessions.

Santana MasterClass Review - Guitar
After Developing Technical Skills, Focus on Your music

Consider your technical skills as a vessel that will help you reach your goal of creating music. In other words, practicing shouldn’t be a goal but rather a way to accomplish it.

Practice with a Single Note

By using just one note in your practice, you’ll adjust your ears to the note.

In turn, your confidence will grow, and you’ll know what to play when you hear the note.

Use a Rhythm Machine

Including a rhythm machine is a great way to ensure plenty of freedom to experiment.

For example, by incorporating drums in your jamming, you won’t be bound to keys or chord changes.

This lets you work on any area you want, and all you need to do is remain synchronized with the rhythm.

Santana MasterClass Review - Rhythm
Learn an Entire Song

Learning every part of a song will help you truly get to know it and raise your confidence.

Learn the parts with the drums, bass, vocal melodies, keyboards, and don’t just focus on your own part.

While this is all sound advice, there’s not much to learn from the Santana MasterClass course.

Music, Guitar, and Spirituality


The videos don’t provide you with an opportunity to play Santana’s songs since he doesn’t explain any of them.

Moreover, there are no descriptions of his approaches to writing music, melodies, creating solos such as that for Tom Joad, or playing with other musicians. The topics are partially covered but only from a spiritual person’s perspective.

“Activate your imagination before you play.”

There are also so many metaphors that you might get confused at times. While they may help you get into the right mindset, they are usually an inadequate starting point for further practice or application.

Overall, the message of this Santana MasterClass review is that Carlos isn’t a good guitar teacher.

Despite his admirable accomplishments, his approach is simply too vague and won’t get you very far regarding your electric guitar skills.

Santana MasterClass Review - Teacher

Although his experience and wisdom are undeniable, he often struggles to explain his thoughts and feelings.

There are numerous moments throughout the videos where he’s trying to find the correct word or phrase to explain himself.

This is the biggest issue with the course – teaching the topics Santana is trying to teach is sometimes too challenging.

Carlos is also a spiritual person and has adopted the same approach to his guitar. Putting his way of thinking into words is difficult, and it’s even more difficult to teach it.

Additionally, Santana tells a large number of stories that aren’t closely connected to the subject matter.

He drops many names, plays something in the musician’s style, and moves on to a different topic. This can be very confusing and make the course hard to follow.

Sanatana’s Guitar

Generally, Santana’s guitar’s sound has a rich quality, but it’s completely different in these lessons because his own sound is so isolated without the backdrop of a band.

Though there are oversaturated bass levels at times, you can still recognize the familiar Santana tone and witness the famous sustain of his own signature PRS guitar.

Santana MasterClass Review - Notes

Santana MasterClass Features

  • Creating a personal sound
  • Finding a source of inspiration
  • Combining rhythm and melody
  • Using the blues
  • Going inside the note
Creating a Personal Sound

Santana believes that all of us have a special musical taste and style. He advises his audience to be confident to allow themselves to uncover their personal sounds.

To do this, you’ll need to explore a lot. One of the most useful practices is observing the work of other musicians.

Learning from and listening to the greats, such as Aretha Franklin, is part of his workbook.

It also contains a few songs written by some of the most famous guitarists, including hard rock, jazz, and other artists.

Santana MasterClass Review - Rolodex
Finding a Source of Inspiration

This theme of learning from other musicians continues in other videos. Santana mentions his sources of inspiration, how he discovers them and incorporates them into his music. Here are some of the sources he enumerates:

  • Nature
  • Human voices
  • Music from different cultures
  • People’s way of walking
  • The rhythm of daily and work-life
Combining Rhythm and Melody

Santana illustrates one way he came up with his unique playing style – mixing conga patterns and rhythms into his guitar playing.

He describes how he pulled this off and utilizes several melodies and types of rhythm to engage his audience.

“Lead… chords… I’m saying that both are good. But for me, melody is supreme.”

Utilizing the Blues

Carlos is an avid fan of the blues and believes his students should cherish it as well.

Unfortunately, this section lacks some structure. He heavily concentrates on sharing his love for the blues instead of showing you how to play guitar in the particular style.

Only a few techniques are mentioned, leaving a lot to be desired.

Santana MasterClass Review - Blues
Going Inside the Note

This is another somewhat odd lesson, but surprisingly, it features multiple handy details.

During this segment, Santana wants you to learn how to engage your heart, soul, body, mind, and vitals.

You can apply several hints he brings up. For example, you can use the vibrato technique to stir emotion.

Santana MasterClass Review - Vibrato

Who is the Carlos Santana MasterClass Guitar Course For?


If you’re a huge fan of Santana and you’re looking to find out more about his insight into life philosophy, this course has a lot to offer.

Carlos talks in great detail about his life outlook and shares the profound wisdom he’s obtained during his life as a musician.

His take on the importance of music is also enjoyable. Therefore, he can help you find your source of inspiration.

On the other hand, and unfortunately so, it’s doubtful that you’ll learn much about playing the electric guitar.

Santana isn’t a natural music teacher. He spends a lot of time telling various stories and rambling instead of demonstrating useful techniques.

Find out more about Santana MasterClass guitar lessons here:
Santana - MasterClass Course-panel

Carlos Santana
Teaches The Art and Soul of Guitar

3.9 out of 5 stars


MasterClass Guitar Course divider

St. Vincent Teaches Creativity and Writing

St Vincent-masterclass-headers

A review of Saint Vincent’s MasterClass and her 16-video course.

In the course, Annie Erin Clark (aka St. Vincent) deftly walks the audience through how she crafted the persona and her songwriting approach.

One segment of the course deals with the process that went into developing the song “Savior”. Detailing the process from the demo sketches to a number of rewrites and revisions, to the final mix.

Saint Vincent MasterClass Overview

St. Vincent’s course is divided into five key sections:
  • Meeting the instructor
  • The art of songwriting
  • The roadmap to “Savior”
  • Vincent’s many faces
  • Guitar notes
MasterClass Guitar Review - Saint Vincent
Saint Vincent MasterClass Video LIst:
  1. Meet Your Instructor: St. Vincent a.k.a. Annie Clark
  2. Nun Mode: Discipline in the Creative Process
  3. Every Song Needs an Epiphany
  4. Basic Tools for Bedroom Composing
  5. “Savior” Songwriting Demo: Early Sketches
  6. “Savior” Songwriting Demo: Finding the North Star
  7. “Savior” Songwriting Demo: Rewriting, Revising, and Refining“Savior”
  8. Songwriting Demo: Final Mix
  1. Fear, Shame, and Humiliation
  2. Seizing Opportunity
  3. Case Study: Writing a Theme Song
  4. Tuning In to the World Around You
  5. Notes on Guitar: Tone
  6. Notes on Guitar: Tunings and Techniques
  7. Out of the Studio, Onto the Stage
  8. Closing Thoughts
Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Guitar-Player

Defining St. Vincent’s Creativity and Writing Course


Annie Erin Clark’s videos are filled with practical advice on songwriting.

The artist includes many examples to illustrate her point and engage her students, the most famous of which is the song “Savior.”

The primary objective of the course has multiple facets. Here’s what it can help you accomplish:

  • Improve your performance
  • Finding your feet in a studio
  • Polishing your songwriting
  • Coming up with your unique sounds

The course can also help you boost your confidence by teaching you how to discipline yourself properly and reject anything that can harm your songwriting.

Also, Clark includes a mindset lesson that corrects negative self-talk hindering your progress.

St. Vincent MasterClass: The Good and The Bad

What We Like

      • Clear and straightforward teaching methods
      • Frequent demonstrations
      • Practical advice even if you’re playing guitar on a budget
      • Learning how to polish your work
      • Understanding how to be creative

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What We Don’t Like

      • Should have included even more demonstrations
      • The course is a bit short, and the workbook is inadequate

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View the Saint Vincent MasterClass Course Here >>

An Inside Look at St. Vincent’s MasterClass  Course


“Every song needs to have an epiphany.”

Exploiting dual personalities, St. Vincent’s videos are advantageous in so many ways. One of the modules that stand out is the one called “Every Song Needs an Epiphany.”

It contains several great listening exercises that include iconic artists, such as Nirvana, Stevie Wonder, and Leonard Cohen. All of them are ideal for outlining the journey the writer later embarks on.

Another reason why the model is so valuable is that Clark manages to present some abstract concepts in a straightforward manner.

The explanations are clear, and all the methods can be easily applied and put into action. Considering how understandable all the information is, St. Vincent displays outstanding guitar teaching skills.

Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Teaching

Her explanations and demonstrations are terrific. She has a particular way of describing terms that genuinely makes sense.

This is incredibly difficult, especially when you’re talking about abstract concepts, such as creativity and music, but Clark does it seamlessly.

St. Vincent takes her time to describe potentially problematic effects and applies a thorough strategy with each one.

She first introduces the effect and explains how it works. Then, she explains why it sounds that why and mentions notable musicians who have used the effect. Finally, St. Vincent demonstrates the effect so that you can hear it.

Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Effects

Such in-depth explanations will help you understand various concepts much easier and feel more confident when applying them.

Also, Clark wants to instil creativity in her students. Considering that she continually looks for ways to reinvent herself, she wants her audience to think in a similar direction.

Accordingly, the course contains a host of things you’ve likely never seen before, such as rediscovering your groove by playing a familiar song on an electric or acoustic guitar with unfamiliar tuning or putting paper clips on your instrument.

The on-screen glossary plays a significant role. Since there’s technical language throughout the videos, Annie doesn’t get a chance to explain some of them, such as phantom power and midi. But you still find out what they refer to owing to the on-screen glossary.

Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Glossary

Even if you don’t possess a lot of prior knowledge, you can understand most of the language and benefit significantly from the course with these little extras.

As for the downsides, this Saint Vincent review will note two minor issues.

First, the course contains many demonstrations overall, but that’s not the case with the first couple of videos.

Namely, she only begins to play the guitar in the third lesson. Adding the instrument from the very beginning would have been a nice touch and made the course more gripping from the onset.

Short, But Sweet

And second, this is one of the shortest MasterClass lectures. It’s about two hours long, and while it’s generally an excellent viewing experience, more elements could have been added.

Another case study could have resolved even more obscure techniques and ensured no grey areas remain.

A bit more comprehensive workbook could have fixed some issues since the current one, though strikingly designed, lacks assignments and further reading.

Saint Vincent MasterClass Workbook

Saint Vincent Creativity and Writing Course Features

  • Using joy and discipline
  • Composing on a budget
  • Improving your songwriting
  • The importance of rewriting, revising, and refining
  • Different tunes and techniques
Using Joy and Discipline

Annie teaches you how discipline and joy can mix in a creative process. She reveals some of the most extreme measures she’s taken to reach her creativity zone and stresses that creativity doesn’t always look the way you may think.

For instance, in addition to active engagement (being busy and working hard), St. Vincent promotes passive engagement. It’s just as important, and it can include activities like taking a shower or staring into blank space to start creating.

Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Creativity
Composing on a Budget

Clark provides several tips on what you can achieve if you have a modest home setup. This can be extremely encouraging if you don’t have the proper means to perform in a studio.

The musician guides you on how you can organize a bedroom studio and what essentials you need. Some of the most practical tips for guitarists playing on a budget include:

  • Ensuring proper reverberation for ideal recording
  • Using everyday items, such as blankets, to get higher-quality audio
  • Finding strange sounds through digital presets or unexpected places (e.g., pawn shops)
  • Making an entire album from your home
Improving Your Songwriting

St. Vincent deals with many subjects that are integral to your songwriting, including:

  • How to tell if the lyrics are good and if you need to get rid of some lines
  • Incorporating the right amount of ambiguity into the lyrics so that you can convey what you mean and your audience have enough room for interpretation
  • Using release and tension to create good lyrics
  • Making sure that your song works without extra details by testing it in a stripped-back version

Clark illustrates her advice by guiding you through one of her most popular songs, “Savior.” She picked this song because she had written most of it in her teenage years.

“There is no wasted effort”

As you may have noticed from her previous interviews, St. Vincent is embarrassed about her previous recordings. Many people even assume that she would never share her unfinished recordings, but this is miles away from the truth.

Clark talks at length about the work that went into writing “Savior” when she was about 17. Even though she’s embarrassed, she provides the unpolished versions to show you the song’s growth and development over the years.

The most valuable part of this segment is that even if you don’t like some parts of your song, they can become memorable lyrics you’ll be proud of.

Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Early Sketches
The Importance of Rewriting, Revising, and Refining

Annie highlights the importance of rewriting, revising, and refining by going through some older versions of her songs and explaining the reasoning behind the changes.

She also provides contemporary performances of the same songs so that you can hear the differences.

This demonstration will teach you:

  • How to add layers to music by using perceived loudness without overpowering your vocals
  • What’s the crucial tool for making your writing more intriguing
  • How to collaborate with other musicians
  • How to make references in your songs to other performers
Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Saviour2
Different Tunings and Techniques

One lesson, in particular, is packed with tips. It’s the one concerning different tunes and techniques, and this is where you can finally see St. Vincent play all three of her guitars.

She walks you through the following elements:

  • Tuning variations (glam, standard, St. Vincent, and Nashville) – Clark shows you what they sound like and where you can use them
  • Using different tunings to create new content
  • The tuning she uses in her song, Masseduction, and why she uses it
  • The unique sounds produced by baritone guitars
  • The technique she picked up from the finest fingerstyle jazz guitarist
  • How to use harmonics
Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Tunings

Who is the St. Vincent Creativity and Writing MasterClass For?


Even if your skills are limited, you’ll be able to follow Annie’s course effortlessly. It suits both beginners and professionals, which is extremely rare.

The course is an outstanding option for several groups:

  • People who are already writing music but want to explore new possibilities
  • Musicians who want to add more sounds into their arsenal using different effects, instruments, or by playing guitar in a different way
  • Women facing prejudices in the industry
  • Anyone who wants to find out more about St. Vincent’s versatile career
Saint Vincent MasterClass Review - Performance

If you fall into either of these categories, be sure to check out Clark’s videos. Saint Vincent courses are rare, which is why you should take full advantage of this one.

Still, the course isn’t meant for anyone in particular. This is because it lacks further reading and assignments generally associated with similar lessons.

Consequently, if you want to take a structured course with assignments and feedback, this one isn’t right for you.

Learn more about Saint Vincent courses here:
St. Vincent - MasterClass Guitar Course-panel

St. Vincent
Teaches Creativity and Songwriting

4.5 out of 5 stars


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MasterClass Guitar Lessons FAQs

You may already have a clear picture of the course you’re going to choose at this point. But before you take it, there are additional details you need to consider.

Is MasterClass Any Good?

As a smorgasbord of talent and eye-candy, MasterClass is a great option for many people, and many disciplines.

Who wouldn’t want to learn from masters such as Judd Apatow, Deadmau5, Steve Martin, and a who’s-who of other A-listers?

It offers superb courses for creative persons, such as photographers, musicians, writers, cooks, and artists. If you’re looking to polish any of those skills, MasterClass is the way to go.

Advanced Techniques From the Pros

The courses will help you add a lot of creativity to your life, and you get to learn all the fundamentals and advanced techniques from a host of well-known instructors.

What’s more, the lessons’ production quality is exceptionally high – the great thing about them is that, with the subscription, you can access the courses from whomever you want, whenever you want.

There are no class schedules, allowing you to enjoy the lessons at your convenience.

But if you want to find out more about the skills required for a non-creative career, such as a desk job, MasterClass isn’t the right choice.

Plus, not all classes deliver a comprehensive, focused experience for everyone, as we learned from the Santana course.

How Much Does MasterClass Cost?

Considering that some of the most famous experts in the world are teaching you, you’d expect MasterClass to take a massive toll on your budget. Luckily, that’s not the case.

On the contrary, the courses are relatively affordable, and the price for an annual membership is currently $180. Once you’ve purchased your plan, you can access all the features and classes MasterClass provides. This is a great value for many reasons.

  • The video quality is incredible and is one of the strongest suits of MasterClass courses. All the videos are amazingly done, and all the elements, such as the sound and lighting, make the experience more enjoyable. They make the lessons easy to absorb, and you can play them on multiple devices, such as smart TVs, Android phones, iOS, or desktop computers.
  • First-class instructors – All the teachers are highly competent and know what they’re talking about. In most cases, they live up to their reputation and are enthusiastic about their lessons. The importance of having legends explaining to you their craft can’t be overlooked.

Variety and Options

  • A wide array of classes – There are over 90 classes you can watch on MasterClass, with more content being added almost every week. Best of all, the annual membership lets you access all of them without choosing which ones to pay for.
  • Quick lists – MasterClass recommends courses based on your interests. Accordingly, you can find related lessons from different instructors to obtain even more knowledge. Moreover, you don’t have to watch them linearly. You can skip to any video you find interesting, no matter the order in which it appears in the course.
  • Approachability – The complexity of the courses varies, but most of them are very approachable. Regardless of your skill level, you can listen to the lectures and find out useful information from the teachers.
  • The courses include PDF workbooks, and there are communities where you can share your work with other students.

How Long Is a MasterClass?

The length of each course varies, but they usually last between two and five hours.

Divided into smaller segments, they allow you to take a break when necessary. Lessons last anywhere from six to 20 minutes, and most of the courses feature about 18 lessons.

Some courses last a lot longer and contain some bonus content, adding to their runtime.

Can I Buy a MasterClass Guitar Course by Itself?

You can buy any MasterClass Guitar course by itself with the “gift” option.

Whether you want St. Vincent’s, Morello’s, or Santana’s course, you’ll need to pay $90 to purchase them as a standalone option.

Does MasterClass Have a Free Trial?

MasterClass has a one-day free trial period that begins when you enter your account credentials and the payment method.

MasterClass needs to verify your payment method to make sure your information is valid.

However, the company offers free trials only for certain countries and people. Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • You must be new to the All-Access Pass. If you’ve already purchased it or taken an introductory or trial offer, you won’t qualify for the offer.
  • The payment method must be valid.
  • You must register on the MasterClass website directly and not use third-party pages.

Also, MasterClass typically doesn’t offer discounts on their price. The cost of the annual membership is the same for all users.

But a few times throughout the year, the company runs a two-for-one deal.

As a result, you can buy one membership and gift the other to someone else.

Can I Pay MasterClass Monthly?

MasterClass used to offer monthly subscriptions, but the company has terminated this option. Your only choice currently is to pay for the annual subscription.

How Many Times Can You Watch a MasterClass?

You can watch MasterClass video lessons as many times as you want, provided your membership is still active.

Is the Tom Morello MasterClass Worth It?

As demonstrated in our Tom Morello MasterClass review, the famous guitarist’s course may worth it for many intermediate guitar players.

With Morello’s masterclass you can learn a host of creative approaches to the electric guitar from this world-class musician.

For instance, perhaps the course’s main highlight is his demonstrations on writing riffs and showing you exercises on doing the same task. You won’t find this in your typical interview or YouTube lesson, which is enough to justify the cost.

Real World Application

Tom also didn’t cover just any topic that popped to mind. He only explained the segments you can apply in real life.

Additionally, Morello didn’t spend half his course instructing you step-by-step how to play RATM songs. Instead, he included comprehensive topics, such as songwriting, that made the course more worthwhile.

The abstract topics are explained extremely well. Unlike many renowned guitarists who have a hard time explaining their approach or the creative process, Tom explains the issues in practical terms and uses clear language combined with a personable delivery.

Navigating the workbook is also effortless. There’s a summary of each chapter and assignment that can help you learn more.

While going through the workbook, you’ll notice that Tom is very flexible and open-minded in that he doesn’t just cover the techniques he’s famous for. Instead, he integrates insights from many other musicians who have inspired him over the years.

The assignments are relevant to the course Tom’s teaching and help bring closer the demonstrations he presents in the videos. This way, you can easily follow the course by checking out Morello’s videos and going back to the workbook to practice.

Overall, for most intermediate players, the course is worth the price due to Tom’s valuable insight on multiple aspects.

Can I Get a Refund If I Don’t Like MasterClass?

MasterClass can give you a refund if you don’t like their courses. You do have a 30-day window to ask for a refund if you purchased your course directly through MasterClass.

You may still qualify for the refund if you bought your course through a different provider, but you’ll need to verify your eligibility by going through MasterClass’s refund policy.


Final Thoughts – Are Any of the MasterClass Guitar Courses For You?

To sum up, even though the three courses are guitar-centric, they offer very different content structures. Plus the instructors have their own unique approach on the subject matter.

Out of the three courses reviewed, there may be one that suits you better than the others – or perhaps none at all. Just to be sure, let’s have one last look to summarize:

Tom Morello


4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7)

Tom Morello’s MasterClass guitar course is the most well-balanced of the three offered. Featuring both practical exercises and the music theory that supports his techniques.

The many videos accompanied by terrific demonstrations make Morello’s course a more overall comprehensive experience.

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Carlos Santana


3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9)

If you want inspiration on how to play from a completely emotional perspective, Santana’s MasterClass course is an excellent choice.

However, Santana could have done a much better job of explaining his craft for those who are technically inclined. There are few demonstrations, depriving you considerably of a more practical aspect of the course.

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St. Vincent


4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5)

Using a completely different approach, the Saint Vincent MasterClass course is versatile and equally good for novices thru advanced musicians.

Her uniquely artistic type of presentation can help you add new sounds to your playing, expose new ways of writing your own music, and enhance your creativity.

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In Closing

While all three MasterClass courses have their sweet spots, the one that speaks to you most will depend on your own personal needs as a guitar player.

Either way, you have everything to gain by learning from professionals who reached the top of their game.

MasterClass Guitar Course Ratings as a Group:

  • Overall Ease Of Use
  • Overall Course Depth
  • Course Materials
  • Overall Value Factor


Overall Score:

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Steve Blundon is a business owner, published author, former music teacher and active master guitar tech who's been servicing instruments for over thirty years. Visit Author's Page.

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