A Few Licks in the Style of Dimebag Darrell

author: Thurisaz date: 01/08/2014 category: guitar gurus
rating: 8 / votes: 1 
A Few Licks in the Style of Dimebag Darrell

Dimebag Darrell is quite an interesting guitarist. He takes things very Eddie Van Halen, and by that I mean he doesn't care if the textbook says it doesn't work; he'll play it like he means it and make it work. He often employs minor and blues minor pentatonic patterns, as well as symmetrical shapes. He'll also move his licks around chromatically. All of these things together begin to paint a picture as to what Dimebag's lead style is all about.

His style takes a lot of ideas from Randy Rhoads, Ace Frehley, Angus Young, Billy Gibbons and Eddie Van Halen, yet he adds to these ideas and makes them his own. Dime uses a lot of the typical '70s and '80s shred licks, most of which came from Chuck Berry.

For the first example, we have a mostly stock blues rock idea for the beginning half, and for the latter half, it begins to utilize wide stretch ideas, which is a great way to make a stock blues lick sound new again.

e|----------14---------------14---------------14-----------|
B|-------14----17p14------14----17p14------14----17p14-----|
G|--16b--------------16b--------------16b------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|----------14------------14------14------21p14----21p14---|
B|-------14----17p14-17b-----17b-----17b--------21---------|
G|--16b----------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|-----21p14-20-20p14-20-20p14-20p14-19/20\19p17p14--------|
B|--21----------------------------------------------19-----|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|--14-19/20\19p17p14--------------------------------------|
B|--------------------19--19~~~~---------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|

Pretty interesting, huh? The most interesting note here is the C note at the 20th fret on the high e string. The reason is because it doesn't fit, but when played with bravado and confidence, will fit in just as well as the F# and C#. The other two notes, though slightly less interesting, are the G# note on the B string at the 21st fret and the B note at the 19th fret on the high e string.

The obvious chord choice to use this over would obviously be the F#5 power chord. That said, with the G# note at the 21st fret on the B string, this could also work over a C#5 power chord. The F# would build tension as the ear would rather you hit the 5th scale degree - G# - while F# is only the fourth. Once it hits the G# though, the ear can finally relax. You might also be able to go from F#5 to C#5, or just put the two together and use a F#5add9 chord. Maybe something like below.

e|---------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|--6--------------------------------6-----5-----4---------|
A|--4--------------------------------4-----4-----4---------|
E|--2--0--0--0--00-0--0--0--0-----0--2-----2-----2---------|
Next is another little bluesy rock lick that Dimebag liked to use. This one is notable for moving the pattern up the neck chromatically rather than trying to make it fit into some diatonic scale thing. This is pretty Angus/Ace influenced. Pretty sure Jimmy Page might've used something similar in one of his solos as well.

For this lick, I'd barre the B and high e strings at the 5th fret and use inside picking. If you don't know what inside or outside picking is, inside picking in this case would be downstrokes for the A note on the high e, and an upstroke for the pull off from the 8th fret to the 5th. Then you just move that basic shape up chromatically. Not much to it, and once you get it down, even a relative beginner can sound like they can shred.

e|--5-----5-----5-----5-----5-----5-----5-----5-----5------|
B|----8p5---8p5---8p5---8p5---8p5---8p5---8p5---8p5---8p5--|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|--6-----7------8------9------10-------11-------12--------|
B|----9p6---10p7---11p8---12p9----13p10----14p11----15p12--|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|--13-------14-------15-------16-------17-------17--------|
B|-----16p13----17p14----18p15----19p16----20p17----20p17--|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|--17-------17----------17--------------------------------|
B|-----20p17----20p17-20----20p17--20b---------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
Pretty repetitive lick, but it'd be really great for getting around the fretboard like Eddie Van Halen does when he uses trem picked notes in his leads. For instance, you don't have to use the bend at the end nor do you have to use any of the repeats in the 5th position or an octave up at the 17th position. A lot of times, it's just to position shift more seamlessly from one position to another that might be kinda difficult without Eddie's typical trem picked idea or the bluesy pull off thing Dime uses above. It's good to keep things like these in mind incase you find yourself at the other end of the fretboard and needing a more interesting way to get between point A and B without using the usual sliding into it idea.


The following idea should be pretty interesting. It's essentially built around A minor pentatonic with the F# and C# from E Dorian to add a little flavor. Also, it has a kind of George Lynch/Warren DiMartini flavor to it as well, probably because of the F# and C#. Please note: The pull off after the half step bend, which is spaced out and notated to try and show the duration of the bend, there is an 8th fret G note on the B string following, and you should start alternate picking with an upstroke. This way you can inside pick the 4ths. I'll show the picking for that part indicated as d and u. I will stress that the ending lick is pretty dependent on upstroke economy picking. Hope you've been practicing your Marty Friedman skills. Lastly, just be aware it starts on C - the 3rd - and ends on A - the root.

d u d u d u d........................ u d u d u

e|--8--9p8-5-----5-----5-h8-p7-b--(8)--r-(7)--p5---5-------|
B|------------7-----7----------------------------8---5-8---|
G|-------------------------------------------------------7-|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
d u d u d u d u d... u.... d u.... d u.... d u....
e|---------------------------------------------------------|
B|--5------------------------------------------5-5---------|
G|----5-7---5------------------5-5-----7-7p5-------8p5-----|
D|--------7---5-7---5--7-7p5-------7p5-------7-------------|
A|----------------7----------7-----------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|----------5-5-----5----------5---------------------------|
B|--8-8p5-------8p5---8b10r8p5---8/-10~--------------------|
G|--------8------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
Alternately, if you'd prefer that to descend, you could play it more like this. This one begins and ends on C. If you'd like it to start on an A, start it with Option A, and if you want it to end on A, use Option B.
e|--8--9p8-5-----5-----5--8--8-8p5---5-5-------------------|
B|------------7-----7--------------8-----8p5-8-8p5---5-5---|
G|-------------------------------------------------8-------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|---------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------|
G|--8p5-7-7p5---5-5----------------------------------------|
D|------------7-----7p5-7-7p5---5-5------------------------|
A|----------------------------7-----7p5\3~~~~--------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
Option A - start it the previous bar, at the end. in a 4/4 bar, the 5 would be the 4 counts 8th note "&."
e|------------------------------------------------------5--|
B|---------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
Option B - this is the last bar, but slightly different to end on A. Maybe even add a pinch harmonic to the A note at the end with a nice vibrato.
e|---------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------|
G|--8p5-7-7p5---5-5----------------------------------------|
D|------------7-----7p5-7-7p5---5-5------------------------|
A|----------------------------7-----7p5\3-5p3---3----------|
E|--------------------------------------------5---5p3-5~~~-|

If this next one sounds familiar, it's because it is the last 3 bars of the "I'm Broken" solo. It's based off the E minor blues/Dorian scale, but in the key of G Major. It's also a symmetrical pattern. The chromatic passing tones make this pretty interesting. The lick resolves to E.

e|--------------15-17-18-19-------------15-17-18-19--------|
B|--15-17-18-19-------------15-17-18-19--------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|--------------15-17-18-19-20-21-22--22b~~~~~~~~~~--------|
B|--15-17-18-19--------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|

This next one is pretty dependent on bends. Unless specified they are full step bends. Considering it starts on D# and resolves to G, it sort of has a G Major sound to it.

e|--------------17b--(20)---18--16b~~~~--15b-r-13----------|
B|--16-15-13-13--------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|---------------------------------------------------------|
B|--15\13b-r-10--------------------------------------------|
G|---------------13-12b--12r-------------------------------|
D|----------------------------10-12-12b-r12p10-------------|
A|---------------------------------------------12p10~~~~---|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|

This last lick would work lovely over a C minor to E minor riff. The first part is C minor and resolves to G, the 5th scale degree. The second part is E minor and starts/ends on E.

e|---------8---------8-10p8-------------8------------------|
B|-------8---11-11p8--------11p8------8---11-11p8----------|
G|--10b--------------------------10b--------------11\10p8--|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|--------------8------10p8-------------------8-10-9-8-----|
B|------------8---11p8------11p8------------8--------------|
G|-----8-10b---------------------11\10p8-10----------------|
D|--10-----------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|--12-11-10-14-13-12-14b--(17)~~~~--(17)--(17)--(17)r-14--|
B|---------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|--12-15-14-12----14-12-------12----------15~~~~~~~-------|
B|--------------15-------15-14----15-14-12-----------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------|
e|-----12-------15-----------------------------------------|
B|--------------------12-------15--------------------------|
G|--14----14p12----------------------12-------14-----------|
D|-----------------14----14p12----------------------12-----|
A|--------------------------------14----14p12--------------|
E|-----------------------------------------------15--------|
e|---------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------10----------|
D|--------14~~---14p12\10----------------10-------12b~~~---|
A|------------------------12-10----10h12----12-------------|
E|--15p12-----------------------12-------------------------|
If necessary, I'll do a part II or something. Hope everyone enjoys and finds a use for some of these licks and ideas in their own material.
More Thurisaz lessons:
+ Symmetrical Patterns for Lead Guitar Guitar Techniques 01/07/2014
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