Hero Gone; Inspiration Lives On!!

Welcome to my ninth column at the world's greatest guitar site, CHOPS FROM HELL!!!!

I'm sure you were all in as much shock as I was to hear about the passing of Dimebag Darrell in such a horrible way. I can assure you however that he will never be forgotten by any of us. I remember seeing Darrell with Pantera back in the 90's when he played up in Michigan at Pine Knob (an outdoor arena) with Megadeth (featuring Marty Friedman on guitar) and White Zombie. After White Zombie opened and warmed up the crowd, out came Pantera in blazing glory completely annihilating us all to a point of uncontrolled frenzy. Even though I'm a hard core Megadeth fan, I felt sorry for the fact that they had to try and follow such a performance. It was very inspiring, to say the least, and something I will never soon forget.

Dimebag's intensity of nailing everything he played just blew me away. Every note was to the point, every chord was on the money, and it even had soul. This wasn't just another shred metal guitarist, but an icon of music and solo composition. I remember reading an article where Dime said he would take DAT machines and layer his rhythm parts until they sounded like a giant wall of thick pounding guitars charging like a rhino. Even live (to me), it still sounded like that with just him by himself. I'll never forget it.

The point I am trying to make here is simple; nobody ever really dies once they have left something behind that we can all take a piece of inspiration from. Nobody creates in a vacuum; you should always try to be more inspired by someone or something each day that can give you that drive to go to the next level. A concert, a new song, a killer new guitar lick; they can all be part of what makes us want to live another day. Dime did what he wanted to do, and died doing it. Reflect on his music, pick up your own guitar, and let it flow from within!! That's what he would have wanted back from us.

Andy Garrett (nicknamed “StringMaster” by his friends) has played guitar and bass for 30 years, performed 100's of shows, and has worked professionally testing strings for Dean Markley/American Winding Company. He continues to release his instrumental guitar music independently through his own label “GBM Records” in Ocala, Florida; and is putting the finishing touches on material for his first instructional CD-ROM explaining his advanced shred techniques. You can contact Andy by email at and also download and burn your own CD-R of his free MP3 shred demos at and Also, check out Andy's current official homepage at