Poll: The Greatest Guitarist of All Time, Round 4 — Dimebag Darrell Vs. Alex Lifeson

by Guitar World Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2012 at 10:45am

Welcome to the Sweet 16 portion of our first-ever Greatest Guitarist poll!

It all started a few months back, when 128 132 guitarists went head to head, round by round, in a bracketed format. We filled all but four of the slots with the names of incredible guitarists (dead and living) — players chosen for their technical ability as well as their importance and creativity, not to mention how influential they've been. We asked our readers to vote in the final four names, which you did, selecting Nuno Bettencourt, Chet Atkins, Malcolm Young and Jake E. Lee.

But now, several rounds later, we're into the Sweet 16, which is being brought to you by Sweetwater Sound.

Some things to take to consider before casting your vote:

Influence: Who inspired more kids to beg their parents for a guitar for Christmas? Who inspired a wave of copycats?
Chops/Versatility: Is the guitarist in question a one-trick pony or a master of many styles?
Body of Work: Who had the more consistent career? Who has played on more classic albums?
Creativity: Who pioneered new techniques? Who sounds the most radically different from what came before them?

You can check out the full results via our regularly updated bracket here and at the bottom of this story. (Click on the bracket to expand it.)

Round 4 — Today's Match

Much like his crushing power-chord riffs, DIMEBAG DARRELL has been a major destructive force through the first three rounds of the tournament. His triumph over Slipknot's Mick Thomson in Round 1 remains one of the highest margins of victory so far, with the Pantera guitarist claiming more than 86 percent of the votes.

After beating out the likes of Frank Zappa and Steve Howe, Rush's ALEX LIFESON stands alone at the top of the prog-rock heap after three rounds. Prog's guitar kingpin will be out of his element in Round 4, however, when he faces off against a pure metal guitarist in Dimebag Darrell.

Readers Poll: The Greatest Guitarist of All Time — Dimebag Vs. Lifeson

Guitar World Staff Picks

BRAD TOLINSKI, Editorial Director

Pick: Dimebag Darrell

You couldn't find bigger opposites. On one side you have the late Texas High Sheriff from Heavy Metal Hell, and in the other the Stone Cold Canadian Professor of Progressive Rock. It's apples and oranges, but I like my pie served hot from the oven, so Dime gets the nod.

------------------

JIMMY BROWN, Senior Music Editor

Pick: Alex Lifeson

This is a tough one. Both axemen are hugely influential and brilliantly inventive composer-riffmasters and lead guitarists. And who knows what else Dime would have gone on to do if his life and career hadn't been tragically cut short by an insane criminal. I would have to give this one to Lifeson, though, based on his early trailblazing progressive hard rock work with Rush, as he seems to have ventured further past the boundaries of the known universe of hard rock and metal at the time.

------------------

PAUL RIARIO, Technical Editor

Pick: Alex Lifeson

Oh, how the guitar player in me wants to pick Dimebag! And while it's very clear how proficient a guitarist Dimebag was, I can't hum any of his solos in a memorable way. Sure, Dimebag had skills, injecting slick phrases and runs, but it's not even close when it comes to comparing his body of work against Alex Lifeson. Whether it's riffs, solos or the song itself, Alex doesn't get a fraction of the musicianship credit than his rhythm section of Geddy Lee and Neil Peart does, and yet the heart and soul of Rush belong to Lifeson for his fluid and tasteful guitar playing.

------------------

JOSH HART, Online Producer

Pick: Dimebag Darrell

You can argue superior musicianship for either guitarist in today's matchup and I do agree with Paul that Alex has often been outshined by his top-notch rhythm section. That said, the impact Pantera and Dime in particular had on the landscape of the modern metal scene is hard to overestimate. I've asked a lot of guitarists about their biggest influences, and having been shown more than one Dime tattoo in response, I'd say he gets my vote.

------------------

DAMIAN FANELLI, Online Managing Editor

Pick: Alex Lifeson

Although I have nothing but ton-bags of respect for the late, great and immensely talented Dimebag Darrell, I’m picking Alex Lifeson. With Lifeson, we can look back on more than four decades of development, memorable riffs, solos and unorthodox chord structures, all within the demanding framework of heavy prog-rock. And While Dime could undoubtedly smoke Lifeson (and countless other guitarists), his limited output gives Lifeson a slight edge. We can only speculate on how Dime would have developed over the lost years.

Sweet16Bracket.jpg


Add a Comment
1 Comment
Brandt Hardin (2) wrote:
Sep 25 2012
Dimebag was taken from us all too soon but his off-stage antics and face-melting guitar shredding will ring out through generations to come. The world lost a true prodigy of metal from this insane murder. I’m a huge fan myself and this year for the anniversary of his passing, drew a new portrait of Darrell on my artist’s blog and made a head-banging tribute video for this dearly departed God of Rock which you can watch at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/12/dimebag-darrell-tribute-video.html

Similar Guitar News

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...
100 Greatest Guitar Solos: No. 19 "Floods" (Dimebag Darrell) (12/8/2013)
“That particular solo was thought-out in a more orchestrated fashion than some of the others I play where I just start ripping right off the bat,” says Dimebag Darrell. “The thing that really makes the ‘Floods’ solo come across like it does is ...
Thirty Guitar Legends — Including Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag Darrell and Jeff Beck — Choose the Song They'd Most Want to Be Remembered By, Part 1 (11/15/2013)
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. ...
From the Archive: Dimebag Darrell Discusses Pantera's New Album, 'Reinventing the Steel' (8/18/2013)
Here's an interview with Pantera's Dimebag Darrell from the May 2000 issue of Guitar World. To see the complete cover, and all the GW covers from 2000, click here. "Come on, dude!" shouts Dimebag Darrell. "We've got steaks to eat, booze to drink...
From the Archive: Dimebag Darrell and Zakk Wylde Discuss the State of Metal and Dissolution of Pantera (7/19/2013)
Here's an interview with Zakk Wylde and Dimebag Darrell from the March 2003 issue of Guitar World. To see the cover — and all the GW covers from 2003 — check out our 2003 GW covers gallery. “Okay, Zakk, it’s time!” As the morning sun begins to b...
Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Readers Poll: Round 2 — "Floods" (Dimebag Darrell) Vs. "No More Tears" (Zakk Wylde) (7/19/2013)
A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time. The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, sta...
Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Readers Poll: Round 1 — "Hotel California" (Don Felder, Joe Walsh) Vs. "Walk" (Dimebag Darrell) (7/7/2013)
A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time. The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, sta...
Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Readers Poll: Round 1 — "Floods" (Dimebag Darrell) Vs. "Hot for Teacher" (Eddie Van Halen) (6/18/2013)
A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time. The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, sta...
Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Readers Poll: Round 1 — "Surfing with the Alien" (Joe Satriani) Vs. "Cemetery Gates" (Dimebag Darrell) (6/10/2013)
A few years back, the editors of Guitar World magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time. The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, st...
Practice Tips: Dimebag Darrell (4/18/2013)
In our classic Practice Tips feature from the magazine, we brought you practice and warm-up techniques from your favorite guitar players. Here's one from the late, great Dimebag Darrell. 01. Play trills. Whenever I feel my chops are slacking, I’...
From the Archive: Dimebag Darrell Discusses Pantera's 1996 Album, 'The Great Southern Trendkill' (1/22/2013)
Here's an interview with Pantera's Dimebag Darrell from the June 1996 issue of Guitar World. To see the Dimebag cover, and all the GW covers from 1996, click here. A man’s home may be his castle, but for Pantera's Dimebag Darrell, it's also a fu...
Play Guitar Like Dimebag Darrell app available now! (1/9/2013)
Read more about Play Guitar Like Dimebag Darrell app available now! at MusicRadar.com Undoubtedly one of the greatest metal guitarists of all time, Dimebag Darrell's pioneering riffery with Pantera and Damageplan is still a huge influence on met...
Dimebag Darrell: How to Pump Up Your Riffs (9/20/2012)
This entry comes from Dimebag Darrell's classic Guitar World column, "Riffer Madness" Hey, Dad! What's shaking? This month we're gonna rap about a few ways you can pump maximum heaviness into a riff. DROP 'EM! One of the simplest ways to get som...