SMG Legends Series: Looking Back at Dimebag Darrell

Metal Guitarist and Legend, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott in full shred!

What do you get when you mix Ace Frehley, Billy Gibbons, Tony Iommi, Judas Priest and Van Halen? A style that only one man can pull off.

Abbott is one of those players who began at an early age and never let up. At age 13, he picked up a Les Paul copy and began shredding. His father, Jerry Abbott, a country musician, gave young Darrell the option of a BMX bike or a guitar. At first Darrell chose the bike, but soon afterward, he pleaded with his dad to get the guitar instead. Rumor has it that early on, Darrell was so talented that after he won a Dean ML from a competition, Abbott was banned from local guitar competitions because nobody else had a chance against him.

Winning that Dean ML started a career long relationship between Darrell and Dean Guitars.

The ML was created by Dean Zelinsky in 1977

Abbott’s most famous musical venture Pantera was formed in 1981, with his brother Vinnie Paul on drums. At first, their style was glam metal with the 1983 release of Metal Magic up until 1988’s Power Metal. Although classified as glam, early Pantera was much darker sounding than most other bands associated with such a title.

Pantera achieved their first dose of widespread commercial success with their release of Cowboys From Hell in 1990. The title track off of the album is a must know for any guitarist and something that can probably be heard if you run into a Sam Ash for about 10 minutes, on par with “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd, “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, and “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. (Don’t worry I’m not pointing any fingers, I did it too.) My point is that “Cowboys From Hell” is a song that inspires people to play guitar in the first place.

Cowboys From Hell, By Pantera

As the 1990’s progressed, Pantera got heavier reflecting the rise of Hardcore music. This is also when Abbott  stopped going by his glam metal name, Diamond Darrell, and picked up his much more famous moniker Dimebag. Abbott also perfected a guitar style all his own called Groove Metal.

1992’s Vulgar Display of Power and 1994’s Far Beyond Driven contained the tracks “Walk”, “Fucking Hostile,” “5 Minutes,” alone and “This Love.” These tracks boosted Pantera to legendary status.

Walk, By Pantera

The other day I was feeling a bit down. I was physically sick as well as distraught with the daily grind, so I needed a pick me up…. or rather, a punch in the face. Therefore, I decided to listen to an album that has a special place in my heart: Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill. The first two CD’s I ever bought were Metallica’s Black album and Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill. The only Pantera song I was familiar with in those days was Cowboys from Hell. Imagine my 13 year old ears taking something as loud and aggressive as the first track off of The Great Southern Trendkill.

The Great Southern Trendkill, By Pantera

Check out the riff at 1:54 and clean up after yourself!

Floods, By Pantera

Their last full release in 2001, Reinventing The Steel detailed a band in destruction. Phil Anselmo, the lead singer, had a serious drug problem which was tearing Pantera apart. Shortly after this release, the band went on hiatus but never formally broke up.

“Dimebag” Darrell and Vinnie went in their own direction and Phil in his. On December 8, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio, Darrell and Vinnie were touring with their new project called Damageplan when a man named Nathan Gale was having a schizophrenic episode and shot Darrell and four others dead.

Seen above, a guitar built in tribute of Darrell Abbott

Every time I feel sluggish or not productive, Pantera is the cure. Nothing will make you feel more invincible or alive. “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott holds a special place in the hearts of guitarists world wide for his ingenuity with his instrument. It’s a shame that he had to go the way that he did, but he left us with the bar higher than ever before for heavy guitar players. With the anniversary of his death coming up, I encourage everyone to search his catalog for a song to learn in memory of a truly great player.

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