Pantera: 'Domination' Guitar Solo Lesson With Chris Zoupa

A truly sick solo from the "Cowboys From Hell" album. Check out my step by step lesson on how to play this!

Ultimate Guitar
Level: Advanced

Tuning: E A D G B E (Standard... I was surprised too!)

I remember on my 15th or 16th birthday my brother bought me the "Cowboys From Hell" CD. As soon as I got over the gritty chainsaw distortion tone I feel in love with the riffs and solos of Pantera. After a good decade of procrastinating, I put some time aside and decided to learn the solo from "Domination" as it was always one of my favourites... However I forgot that Dimebag tends to do superfluous and hilarious stretches which ABSOLUTELY PWN your hand and wrist and had to do a lot of hand strengthening and thumb placement to deal with some of the things this solo throws at you.

As usual I'll break the solo down into problematic sections as well as leaving a link to the tab and YouTube video at the bottom of the article.

Section 1 Tips

The opening lick of this solo uses a really cool lick working with an E Dominant Phrygian scale. Let's take a look at the full scale shape first. (See diagram below)

Now that we've looked at the full scale let's take a look at the lick itself. (See excerpt below)

After the harmonic whammy dive bomb we do a lot of pull-offs around the Dominant Phrygian scale in E and are playing it using straight 16th notes/semiquavers. Try to play close attention to the legato/pulloffs and keep your timing consistent.

Section 2 Tips

The 2nd section starts with a redonkulous starchy diminished shape. Let's take a look at the lick. (See excerpt below)

It's nearly the same idea across all 6 strings. Keep in mind that this whole like is mostly legato/hammer ons. The bit most guitarist will find challenging (besides the speed) is the stretching we have to do on our fretting hand. I would advise you guys to pay close attention to your thumb placement on the back of the neck. My thumb is on the back of the 15th fret and slides from the middle of the neck to the top as the lick descends. Don't over practice this lick as the stretches will cause injury and general rage.

Section 3 Tips

The 3rd section has a weird little chromatic lick followed by some whammy vibrato. Let's take a look at the lick. (See excerpt below)

I've always been fascinated by chromatics and Dime's use of chromatics especially. I would practice some chromatics with a metronome using a 16th notes/semiquaver pulse to get your fingers cooperating in a chromatic manner. It's a great idea to try and sneak some chromatics into your playing whether it be writing a solo or in an improvised jam context.

Section 4 Tips

This last section damn near destroyed me. This lick itself is like one big exercise to be practiced with a metronome using a triplet pulse. Let's take a look at the lick. (See excerpt below)

The alternate picking on this is very tricky to get up to speed, (unless you're an incredibly seasoned and smug shredder) but the ideas and shapes are pretty simple. Most of it is a 3 note pattern play twice very quickly with a triplet pulse. It is definitely worth using this run as a shred exercise to build up your speed picking for general life win and enjoyment.

Well that's it from me. Hope this lesson has been helpful. Happy shredding guys!

Download the tab here.

YouTube preview picture

By Chris Zoupa

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I encourage everyone that learns that stretch lick to warm up thoroughly before attempting it. It cannot be stated enough how important it is to warm up before attempting a wide stretch like that. Also, the tip to pay attention to where your thumb is placed on the neck is absolutely important. If it starts to hurt, I suggest tapping it instead.
    Have you done a lesson on Into The Mouth of Hell We March by Trivium? Great lesson as always, love reading about what's actually going on in the different sections too. Helps me to understand it a lot better!
    What did you do to get it to stay in tune when you're using the whammy? Running an SE myself and I can't get it to hold for anything beyond mild vibrato.
    Chris Zoupa
    I jus try to make sure I finish all tuning sharpening in not flattening down. I think this means the strings rest position is more pre disposed to being tight rather than getting loose and flat.
    Hi Chris. A simple request - will you please show me how to play Longhorn by Woven Hand? No shred, just a funny tuning. Thanks.
    I played this song in 2011 and at the time I cannot play it flawless like this guy, but practice and patience are the key to play that monster solo