Darrell Abbott's Tone Beyond His Dean

author: slash&roses date: 01/25/2012 category: artists' discussions
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Darrell Abbott, also known as Dimebag or Diamond Abbott was the lead guitarist from the heavy metal band Pantera. From a teenage prodigy to a 90's icon in music, Darrell made heavy metal music tight as hell and brought the groove of his tone and writing to the forefront, making him a recognizable icon for his killer bee tone as well as his approachable attitude offstage. Unfortunately, Darrell was shot and killed onstage in 2004 and we are not able to witness his skills live anymore but his memory will forever be remembered as the legendary metal guitarist he was, the Dean/Washburn ML fan he became and the most genuine person I've ever had the pleasure of getting an autograph from. Dimebag has been synonymous with the Dean ML guitar as well as using the Bill Lawrence XL500 pickup/Floyd Rose combination but what made his signature sound went beyond his guitar setup. Darrell used the Furman PQ4 parametric equalizer, a rack mounted device, from roughly 1990 to about 1995 from what I can see on rig pictures and he then switched to the PQ3 until his death. The parametric equalizer allowed Darrell to scoop out his mid sounds (what I like to call the Van Halen tone) in his tone which enabled an extremely tight yet aggressive sound and enriched the harmonic tones he manipulated with his whammy bar. Along with his EQ rack mounted device, Dimebag used a 6 band MXR Graphic Equalizer pedal which further enhanced his scooped tone and allowed the precision of his playing and his pickups to deliver tone rather than hiding it behind a wall of bass and gain like many metal guitarists do. Darrell's legendary whammy bar squeal's were a work of art and it brought a new direction to guitar tone through the use of a flanger on top of his lead channel. This would have been the role of the MXR 126 that doubled a chorus/flanger effect that drove his unique feel forward like in the songs Flood and Revolution Is My Name. The minimal effects allowed Darrell to have a strong uninterrupted signal running from his strings, to his Digitech or Dunlop Crybaby Wah into a Rocktron Silencer and then into his Randall RG100ES or Century 200 Heads. Lastly, Darrell was an incredible alternate picking machine along with his amazing stretched runs which made his hands look like water on the neck. Darrell's accurate and steady picking hand coupled with a strong attack on the strings gave him the ability to drive the sound instead of letting the gain take over his playing. He never hid behind a barrel of effect pedals and because his tone was so clear both on albums and live, Darrell gave the listener every penny worth. Darrell Abbott's legacy is no fluke and he will live on through history as a powerful performer and artist. His incredible ability to come up with riff after riff coupled with solos that went outside of the box gave him the edge over many players and he stood out in a time when metal was really lacking in the mainstream. As a fan foremost, Darrell inspired me to play music that kicks your ass and not your wallet. As a guitarist, he helped me figure out where tone really comes from, your heart. Get your pull.
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