Dino Cazares is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of seven string and down-tuned/extended range guitars. Back in the 90s while everyone was trying drop D with six strings, Dino was already experimenting with tuning his six strings down to baritone range drop B and drop A tunings! Through much experimentation and a handy partnership with Ibanez (who was building custom new-breed guitars for Steve Vai), Dino soon found himself with one of the first Vai 7 String Ibanez guitars in his hands, and was instantly in love.
The longer scale length of the 7 string's neck plus the thicker strings allowed the guitar to hold tuning much better, while also offering new degrees of playing flexibility and freedom. Now the normal guitar had an extra lower string which in just the basic tuning, would allow players to create all sorts of new chord voicings and sound variations, along with the undeniably cool sound of having some seriously low-voiced single string notes and chord bottom end.
twenty years, and down-tuned bands are all the rage, with 7 strings
seeming like the norm and bands now pushing themselves into the
territories of 8 and 9 string guitars. Dino was truly a pioneer of this
movement, along artists like Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Munky and Head
of Korn, and others. While you won't see Fear Factory or Divine Heresy
performing on the Super Bowl Halftime show or the Grammys, you will be
able to go to almost any hard rock or metal show ANYWHERE in the world,
and by simply mentioning the name Dino, everyone will know exactly who
and what you are talking about. His name has reached the likes of the
Cavalera brothers, Dimebag Darrell, Scott Ian, and other heavyweights of
The man is an inspiration to musicians everywhere and is one of many reasons why it is so great to see him collaborating with some of the biggest and best brands in music to create innovative and unique gear bearing his name and more importantly, his sound. Because low tuned heavy music is becoming so popular, guitars and pickups that can handle these tunings are key. Nothing is worse than trying to learn a low tuned song on a cheap pawn shop guitar that can barely hold standard tuning- let alone dropping it down several whole steps.
Enter the signature Dino Cazares Ibanez- the DCM100, an RGD 7 string.
Based on the Ibanez RG series guitar, this guitar obviously features an extra string, and some new style and sound innovations that will easily tackle anything that heavy, low-tuning players can throw at it!
Check out Dino demoing his new guitar with some Fear Factory riffs:
While the guitar features a fairly standard looking RG body style, that's about where the RG similarity ends. The neck has 3 piece construction featuring bubinga sandwiched between maple, with a rosewood fingerboard which leads into an 80s inspired reverse headstock. Ibanez chose to use a TITANIUM truss rod as well to give the guitar impressive stability.
The body itself is constructed out of mahogany, an exquisitely dark sounding tonewood. Jumbo frets and the fantastic-feeling Lo-Pro Edge 7 tremolo bridge give you great playing comfort and versatility for leads or rhythm. The hardware is blacked out and the body comes painted in a chameleon-like color changing paint job, and the guitar ships with a hard case! Most important to note, is the guitars simple internal set up. One knob and one pickup. What pickup is chosen to be the voice of this axe? None other than his brand-new Signature Retribution Active 7 String Humbucker from Seymour Duncan.
This is the second dose of Dino Signature action! Dino was one of the key players in helping Seymour Duncan enter the realm of active pickups when they created the legendary Blackout series of active humbuckers. This year they decided to expand their active pickup line by giving Dino full reign on making a balanced seven string active pickup that could handle the huge range of notes that a seven string can make.
What resulted was this:
The Retribution. It comes in both 7 and 8 string construction, and offers some serious tonal muscle. The focus of this pickup's build was on balance between low and high notes, attack, clarity, and headroom. A preamp gives ideal gain for heavy music, which boosts pick attack and clarity. Just like the Blackout pickup line, these pickups sound open and dynamic. Dino describes them as:
“It has a much more richer tone that’s more evenly voiced so the low string is not fighting with the high string. It’s a very crunchy sound, great for low tunings. It has more articulation in the pick attack and the distortion has less unwanted noise and compression.”
While Dino only uses one, they also come as the typical neck/bridge set, and can also be ordered separately.
Read more about this pickup here: HERE
And finally, check out Dino demoing this pickup in his signature axe: