When it comes to metal music, Dimebag Darrell was by far one of the most influential guitar players we had the privilege to see. His technique, tone and charisma shaped a whole new genre that would grow to be a staple of today’s metal scene.
Here’s a video to remind everyone of the guitar-shredding greatness of Dimebag Darrell and of course Pantera…
His unfortunate death was a shock for everyone. Whether you were a fan of Pantera or not, losing Dimebag hit too close to home. We are familiar with this music, but what were his thoughts on guitars and various guitar related equipment?
Dimebag was always looking to improve his tone. Whenever he reached a stable configuration, he tried to squeeze a little bit extra out of his gear. You would see him swap pickups on his guitars almost weekly, trying to find the best possible combination.
Dimebag knew exactly what he wanted, and was not afraid to experiment with gear in order to reach that perfect tone. Today we are going to take a look at some of the equipment he used regularly, including anything from guitars to effects pedals.
Dimebag Darrell’s Guitar Rig
Compared to other guitar players of his caliber, Dimebag used a simple setup. His choice of guitars and amps came down to one or two models which he stuck with during his entire career. Some guitar players will use up to ten different guitar models from various brands, but not Dimebag. He had a very specific taste which he never really compromised for anything.
When it comes to Dimebag’s guitars, there was only one specific type he was seen playing. Ever since he was a kid, Dimebag Darrell was just obsessed with Dean guitars. Their shape, tone, and overall appeal were something he couldn’t resist.
As luck would have it, Dimebag went from owning no Dean guitars to owning two. One was a Dean ML Standard, a gift from his father, and the other was a Dean ML he won at a contest. Both of these guitars arrived pretty much the same day.
Here is a picture of a Dean ML Standard, and if you are a fan of Dimebag and have seen him onstage then it’s a guitar you’ll probably recognize.
Ever since Dimebag was rocking a Dean ML. The only thing that he changed on those guitars were the pickups. As we have mentioned before, he was experimenting with various humbuckers while chasing the perfect tone. His main setup came down to a Dean ML, the one he won from the contest, fitted with a Bill Lawrence XL500 at the bridge, and a Seymour Duncan ’59 at the neck. He used that guitar as his primary until the end.
Although he was a Dean guy at the core, Dimebag started working with Washburn once Dean closed shop circa 1994. Guitars Washburn produced for him were pretty much the exact copies of the Dean ML. There were several models in play, including Washburn Stealth, x33, and Culprit.
Here’s a video review of the Washburn Dimebag Series Stealth, and as you can see, its very similar looking to the Dean ML Standard…
Once Dean got back in business, Dimebag went back and continued his cooperation with this brand. One of the last models that came out of this joint effort was the Dean Razorback. Unfortunately, he only got to work with the prototype before his death.
Dimebag’s policy on amps was very simple. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For the largest portion of his career, he was using one of three Randall amps. The most popular one out of the bunch was probably Randall RG100H. This is the amp Cowboys From Hell was recorded on. This amp was later substituted by Randall Warhead due to its built in EQ features, which he found a lot simpler to setup.
His love for Randall began with an old Century 200 amp. This is what he used before he became famous. With that said, he never really got rid of that amp and continued to use it in his practice setup. All of these Randalls were solid state amps. The only tube amp Dimebag was impressed with was the Krank Revolution. He got in touch with Krank and he was soon equipped with a brand new Revolution which he apparently fell in love with. Krank later went to create Dimebag signature model called the Krankenstein. Here’s a video from when Dimebag was visiting Krank back in the day and having a good time making some noise and kickin’ it with the crew.
Anyone who has ever listened to Pantera or any other project Dimebag was a part of, knows that he used a very limited selection of effects pedals. His main setup included an MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde overdrive pedal, which he used almost exclusively.
Of course, we also need to mention Dunlop’s Crybaby From Hell – a signature model wah pedal he worked on with Dunlop. Here’s Dimebag demoing the pedal. As you can see, he knows how to work that pedal.
Before he got into Dunlop’s wahs, Dimebag used an original Vox unit. Besides these, there was a number of various pedals which he occasionally included in his signal chain. Some of the most notable ones are the Electro-Harmonix Little Big Muff, Boss CE1 Chorus, and MXR 6 Band EQ.
Just what kind of influence Dimebag had on metal music is evident from a whole variety of bands you can find on the scene today. He shaped the minds of many aspiring guitar players, and he still is. However, that’s not the only impact he had on the music industry.
Dimebag Darrell is the reason why Dean came back after they went out of business. The founder of this company, Dean Zelinsky, saw that Dimebag was practically copying the Dean ML with Washburn, which prompted him to reconsider his decision about closing down Dean.
Recreating Dimebag’s tone is something many are trying to do these days. Fortunately for us, everything necessary to get that job done is readily available. Dean ML is still being produced, along with pickups specifically designed to replicate the Bill Lawrence/Seymour Duncan combo he used on his Dean From Hell. Dimebag’s death was a tragedy that hit thousands of people all over the world.
He left us too early, and we can only imagine what he would be creating if he was still around. With that said, his legacy is immortal. Pantera’s discography is every bit as popular today as it was while he was still alive. It’s safe to say that Dimebag Darrell will be influencing young generations for years to come.