After Dimebag Darrell gave Hard Rock the guitar, he handwrote a letter of authenticity. It reads: “THE DIMEBAG CROWN ROYAL! This is a tough one to give up. It’s too nice to play live, so I guess there is no better place than the Hard Rock to put it on display. Crown Royal purple to 24-karat gold inlays, this jewel marks the 40 million gallons I’ve pounded rockin’ over the years. Enjoy!” Needless to say, this guitar is one of the most treasured artifacts in the Hard Rock collection and a fitting tribute to an incredible guitarist. It’s currently on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Adam Chandler
“Dimebag” Darrell Lance Abbott was a rock star’s rock star. On December 8, 2004, the Pantera and Damageplan guitarist was gunned down doing what he lived for—thrashing onstage with Damageplan and partying with fans at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. His untimely passing left a gaping hole in the metal world, one that will never be filled with the same fun-loving personality and musical sensibility.
Dimebag was famous for embracing his devoted legions and being both generous and genuine with fans. If it meant answering endless questions at a guitar clinic, signing every piece of merch or gear after a show, or just taking the time to listen to a metalhead’s compliment and offer a high-five, Abbott seemed happy doing it.
Some of these intimate gestures involved sharing a cocktail with fans. Dime’s signature drink—a shot of Crown Royal whiskey topped with a splash of Coke—was coined the Black Tooth Grin, which was a nod to a lyric in Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets” off Countdown to Extinction.
Washburn USA built this custom, one-off Dime 3 model as a gift for their red-bearded endorsee. (Sandwiched in between two different endorsements with Dean Guitars, Abbott played Washburns from 1994 to early 2004.) This purple-sparkle axe features gold binding and 24-karat-gold hardware in tribute to Abbott’s favorite whiskey. The guitar even came with a purple drawstring gig bag mimicking Crown Royal’s top-shelf packaging, and each inlay on this axe is a detailed gold crown. It’s loaded with a Seymour Duncan SH-1 humbucker in the neck and a Bill Lawrence L500 pickup in the bridge. This Dime 3 features a mahogany body, a mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard, and a 24.75" scale length.
Hard Rock acquired this guitar directly from Dime in early 2004. “In fact, he invited our head of memorabilia to his home when we picked up this beauty,” recalls Hard Rock’s historian Jeff Nolan. “In a classic Dimebag moment, he answered the door with a drink in his hand and two lit bottle rockets (laughs).”
A special thanks to Jeff Nolan and Hard Rock International for the opportunity to feature this fine piece of gear and its story.