Dimebag Darrell's Riffer Madness: How to Bust Out of a Rut — Lesson with Tab

by Dimebag Darrell
Posted Oct 30, 2015 at 3:07pm

This entry comes from Dimebag Darrell's classic Guitar World column, "Riffer Madness."

What's up, Daddy?! This month we're gonna talk about some ways you can dig yourself out of a playing rut.

Whenever you get into a rut, always try and remember these two things: One, you ain't the only dude that gets hit with this s----we all go through it from time to time! And two, you're not always gonna be stuck there, so don't totally schiz out!

The only way that'll happen is if you let it. So, don't get bummed out and go "F--- it, I quit!" That's a dumb-assed, loser attitude. Instead, get to work, man. If you wanna get out of a rut bad enough, it'll always happen. It's up to you, though. No one else is ever gonna do it for you.

A Simple Solution

When you find yourself doing the same old things over and over, logic says that the best way out is first, to take a real close look at what you're playing. Then find out what you keep repeating and say, "OK, I won't do that anymore." At that point, stop doing it and try something else instead! I'm not saying you should give up on all your old licks. Just let them rest, and make it your goal to try new things and grow. If you make a definite effort to do this, it'll lead to new ideas and a way out of that rut. Here's some other things that might help you out...

Fatherly Advice

My dad's a great guitarist, and he said something to me when I was learning to play that I've always remembered. One day I was stompin' around the house, all p---ed-off because my playing was in a bit of a rut. And he said, "Well, son, if you decided to learn just one new lick a day, how many would you have at the end of the year?" Think about it, man, the possibilities right there are staggering! S---, if only I knew a lick for each beer I've had, I can't even imagine how much extra knowledge I'd have!

The Importance of Others

To me, a sure-fire way to get in a rut is by sitting around playing by yourself for too long. You've gotta get out there and jam, man! You don't have to necessarily be in a band, all you've gotta have are a couple of buds who play too. They don't have to be guitarists either; jamming with a bassist or a drummer is cool. I was real lucky to grow up with a brother that kicks a-- on drums [Vinnie Paul, Pantera's skinsman extraordinaire, is D.D.'s bro.-GW Ed.].

We used to play together all the time, and doing that really helped me develop as a guitarist in a BIG way. Jamming with other people will create energy and excitement that you can feed off, and which will help push you to do things you'd never dream of doing by yourself. I love jamming with my band because the guys inspire me every time. We all get off on each other's playing. Also, whenever I do something that one of 'em likes he'll say something like, "Hey dude, that one note was bad-assed!" Hearing that sort of thing definitely boosts your self-confidence, man! If you play something great in your bedroom no one's ever gonna say s--- about it, because no one else heard it!

Be Yourself, By Yourself

If you have no buds to jam with, you can always record a rhythm part yourself and then wail lead over it. I used to do that all the time. You don't need to do a whole production deal with a 4-track and a drum machine either; all you need is a boom box with a built-in condenser mic and you're set. Don't always solo over the same sort of stuff, though, or you could fall into a rut.

Whenever I would get tired of soloing over heavy riffs in E, I'd come up with a rhythm part that was in a different key and had a completely different feel to it. Then I'd record it and let it take my lead work to a new place. Sometimes a change of mood and pace can help you find fresh ideas, and this is one way of doing that. The laid-back, bluesy, B minor rhythm shown in [FIGURE 1] is a good example of what I'm talking about here.

rm1.gif

rm2.gif

This Sucks? Not!

Finally, even when you find yourself trapped in the deepest rut you've ever known, don't ever forget just how f---in' good the guitar sounds. Sometimes, because you've been playing so much, it's real easy to take the thing for granted. Never let this happen, Dad! The next time you think: "Oh s---, this sucks," slow down a little bit, take a step back and then take a closer look at things.

Whenever I get down on my playing I just bend a note, shake it and listen! What I hear sounds so great that it makes me realize that even a rut doesn't suck! The guitar is a killer-sounding instrument, man. That's why we play it! The next time you're in a rut, just think of me. You'll be out in no time. See ya next issue.


Add a Comment
0 Comments

Similar Guitar News

Thirty Guitar Legends — Including Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag Darrell and Jeff Beck — Pick the Song They'd Most Want to Be Remembered By, Part 1 (6/24/2015)
From the GW Archive: This feature originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of Guitar World. The story has a "time capsule" theme: We asked several veteran guitarists to choose the one song they'd most want to be remembered by after many years. ...
Riffer Madness: Dimebag Darrell on Harmonics, Part 1 (6/10/2015)
This entry comes from Dimebag Darrell's classic Guitar World column, "Riffer Madness." This month we're gonna talk about harmonics—how to get 'em, where you can find 'em and what you can do with 'em. There are a number of different ways you can ...
Pantera Guitarist Dimebag Darrell's Top Five Practice Tips (10/22/2015)
In Guitar World's classic "Practice Tips" feature, we brought you practice and warmup techniques from your favorite guitar players. Here's one from Dimebag Darrell. 01. Play trills. Whenever I feel my chops are slacking, I’ll play some wide-stre...
Dimebag Darrell's Riffer Madness: A Vulgar Display of Power Chords — Lesson with Tab (10/16/2015)
This entry comes from Dimebag Darrell's classic Guitar World column, "Riffer Madness." Last time we scoped out the diminished-sounding root/flat-fifth chord shape (FIGURE 1), a tension-building power chord I use in the intro to "Rise" [Vulgar Di...
Dimebag Darrell's "Trademark" Pick-Squealing Lesson — Video (11/2/2015)
While Dimebag Darrell was touring Japan with Damageplan, he took time out during the band's Tokyo stop to shoot an impromtu lesson video. The video, which focused on what he considered his trademark licks, was shot in honor of the 35th anniversa...
Tribute to Pantera's Dimebag Darrell: Michael Angelo Batio's Shred Medley — Video (4/22/2015)
During the long, cold, eternal winter of 2015, guitar virtuoso Michael Angelo Batio dropped by the Guitar World studio—and the YouTube studios—in New York City to film a few lesson videos. He also laid down this new shred tribute to the late Dim...
Tour Dimebag Darrell's Guitar Vault, Home and Recording Studio — Video (2/12/2015)
Guitar World's February 2015 issue, which is available at the Guitar World Online Store, is the ultimate tribute to the late, great Dimebag Darrell. As part of our coverage, which was timed for the 10th anniversary of the guitarist's tragic deat...
Dimebag Darrell, "Whiskey Road" — Exclusive Song Premiere and Transcription (12/29/2014)
The February 2015 issue of Guitar World, which will hit newsstands and readers' mailboxes this week, has been dubbed our Ultimate Dimebag Darrell Tribute Issue! Among its exclusive Dime-themed offerings are: • A private tour of the late guitari...
Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell Jokes Around and Jams "Walk" at Godsmack Gig — Video (12/10/2014)
In the just-released clip below, Pantera‘s Dimebag Darrell is shown joking around backstage before playing "Walk" in Las Vegas with members of Godsmack. The video, which was released by Billboard, was filmed more than a decade ago for Godsmack’s...
Dimebag week: Billy Corgan remembers Dimebag Darrell (12/5/2014)
Read more about Dimebag week: Billy Corgan remembers Dimebag Darrell at MusicRadar.com The latest issue of Total Guitar is on sale now, paying tribute to Dimebag Darrell and his profound influence on metal guitar. Here, The Smashing Pumpkins' Bi...
The Enigmatic St. Vincent Talks Technique, Out-of-the-Ordinary Gear Choices and Dimebag Darrell (11/24/2014)
This is an excerpt from the all-new Holiday 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this interview with St. Vincent, plus our Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin cover story, features on the Kinks' Dave Davies, Mike Stern and Eric Johnson, Primus, Alex ...
Riffer Madness: Dimebag Darrell on Syncopated Rhythms, Part 1 (8/20/2014)
This entry comes from Dimebag Darrell's classic Guitar World column, "Riffer Madness." In the last few columns we've been zoning in on lead-playing and s--- so let's get back to doing some hard-driving rhythm work for a while-'cos well-balanced ...
Dimebag Darrell Talks 'Far Beyond Driven,' Amps and More: Previously Unreleased 1994 Interview (6/16/2014)
Guitar World presents a previously unpublished interview with Dimebag Darrell, conducted at his home in Arlington, Texas, on February 11, 1994, two months before the release of Far Beyond Driven. Far Beyond Driven is much heavier than anything P...
Phil Anselmo Open to Teaming With Zakk Wylde for Dimebag Darrell Tribute (5/15/2014)
Phil Anselmo says he is open to teaming up with Zakk Wylde to write a tribute to Dimebag Darrell. As the 10-year anniversary of Dimebag's death draws nearer, the former Pantera frontman says he'd prefer to write and record a song celebrating the...
The Lost Lesson: Dimebag Darrell's Destructional Home Videos (1/9/2014)
From the GW archive: This story — in a longer form — originally appeared in the June 2006 issue of Guitar World, which is pictured below. “F--- it, Hitchcock,” drawled Dime, downing the dregs of his beer. “We’ve been hammering this for hours an...