Dimebag Darrell: Dime’s Dozen
Lights Out (1977)
GUITARIST: MICHAEL SCHENKER
“This song is played in F#, my favorite key to wail in. It’s like E—it’s real common, but you can’t beat it. You can write every song on an album in E and not hurt a thing. Your straight E to F# is pure power, and playing leads in F# is awesome because you can do it down in the second fret position. Tunes like ‘Lights Out’ showed me how to do that.
“The rhythm section behind the lead in that song is really driving—it’s fire. It’s guts, it’s live. It’s totally jamming! We try to maintain that in Pantera. Even though we don’t use a rhythm guitar track behind my leads, Rex and Vinnie keep things going when I solo—like a rhythm section lead behind my lead.”
Love Gun (1977)
GUITARIST: ACE FREHLEY
“Ace is god, and the ‘Shock Me’ solo is killer. The studio version on Love Gun has so much production just in the lead section. I also love the effects on it, especially the phaser on the last note. Man, I get all wound up just talking about Kiss!
“Ace’s vibrato is what really grabbed me, and I always try to apply that to my playing. He could squeeze so much out of a single note that one note could take the place of 12. And, like Randy and Eddie, Ace had a great guitar tone and a very unique style of playing.”
“Smoke on the Water”
Machine Head (1972)
GUITARIST: RITCHIE BLACKMORE
“You don’t need to say much about that song. It’s the ultimate simple tune; it was actually the first song I ever learned. I learned it on the E string, then my dad taught me a chord and I thought it was as heavy as shit. It’s simple, but totally badass. It proves that you can play three notes and still make it killer.”
“Beating Around the Bush”
Highway to Hell (1979)
GUITARIST: ANGUS YOUNG
“I can’t say enough good shit about Angus’ playing. He really stands out from other players. He has a very original guitar sound and a killer vibrato. He plays totally clean, like he’s playing through a Marshall on 12 without the gain kicked in—it’s pure distortion, not fuzzy. ‘Beating Around the Bush’ highlights all of them.”
Kill ’Em All (1983)
GUITARISTS: KIRK HAMMETT AND JAMES HETFIELD
“I love Hammett’s lead playing, but Hetfield’s rhythm playing is truly phenomenal. He’s the god of chugging riffs, and ‘Motorbreath’ is a good example of tight, chunky, galloping speed playing. Man, when I first head that song, I didn’t know what it was! It was so heavy, but real clean. That song really taught me how to play clean, driving rhythms.
“I don’t know any guitarist that can down-pick like Hetfield, and ‘Motorbreath’ is a prime example of his expertise. I don’t down-pick as much as I use the up-stroke, mainly because I just can’t down-pick like Hetfield.”
“Children of the Damned”
The Number of the Beast (1982)
GUITARISTS: ADRIAN SMITH AND DAVE MURRAY
“Both Smith and Murray are real bad-ass players. Both have that rhythm pickup tone happening, and the ‘Children of the Damned’ lead really shows that. They don’t play too fast, but they play choice notes and work great together. And they have great tones.
“They also had the ability to play delicate acoustic stuff when they wanted, and could shred with the best when it was appropriate. The acoustic intro to ‘Children of the Damned’ is real nice and melodic, and then they just come in with these monster power chords. Awesome.”
British Steel (1980)
GUITARISTS: GLENN TIPTON AND K.K. DOWNING
“Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing are the gods of double-guitar axmanship. They almost fit into the Jimmy Page mold as classic guitarists. Again, they had great tones and unique styles. And I love those quick little fill leads in ‘Rapid Fire.’ “A lot of the guitarists we’re talking about weren’t just great lead players, but were real band-oriented players. And that’s how I approach playing in Pantera—as part of a band, not as a spotlight guitarist.”
On Through the Night (1980)
GUITARISTS: STEVE CLARK AND PETE WILLIS
“Man, that first Leppard album really jams, and their original guitarist, Pete Willis, was a great player. I was inspired by him because I was a small young dude and he was a small young dude, too—and he was out there kickin’ ass. He made me want to get out there and play. Def Leppard used the two-guitar thing much more back then than they do now.”