Dan Donegan isn’t as well known as Zakk Wylde, Angus Young, or Joe Perry, but the Disturbed guitarist has definitely made a name for himself over the last few years.

Donegan’s guitar prowess wasn’t immediately recognized, as lead singer David Draiman’s vocals drew the majority of the attention from fans and the press. However, with the release of Believe in 2002, people started to recognize Donegan’s skill.

Utilizing some form of drop tuning in the majority of his songs, Donegan’s chunky sound is a bit harder than some of his contemporaries like Godsmack and it’s also a little more complicated to play.

Lead by Donegan’s screaming guitar riffs, Disturbed have done a good job of carving out a successful niche for themselves in an already packed hard rock category.

Dan uses a variety of guitars including Gibson Les Paul Standards, SG Standards, PRS and Washburns. Donegan spreads out his love of amps to some of the most classic models around?he’s used Marshalls, Mesa/Boogie, and Randalls over his career.

Digitech has a Dan Donegan pedal, which is an important part of the guitarist’s overall sound. A Digitech Whammy has also been in his gear list for several years.

While many guitarists in this genre incorporate a chorus pedal in their chain, Donegan opted to forgo the pedal and instead add a phaser.

When it came time to begin recreating Dan’s tone at my home computer, I had to make a decision of how hard I wanted to go with the amp, which of course affects the pedal settings we’ll use later on.

I ended up choosing the Ultrasonic amp model in Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig 3. This amp model is made specifically for the modern tones we hear today, which fits perfectly for what we need.



The amp settings are: Master 8; Volume 7; Gain 10; Bass 4; Middle 3; Treble 10; and Presence 9. The cabinet is an Ultrasonic 4x12 with the Mic A/B setting pushed all the way over to B. The Dry/Air setting is at 1.5.

Now we start to get into the pieces that will actually shape the overall crunch that Donegan uses. Instead of using a regular distortion pedal, we are going to use something a bit heavier to give us that heavy top end that you typically hear in his riffs.

I chose a Demon Distortion with Volume 4; Bass 8; Mid 4; Treble 7; and Gain 8.

I added a quad delay with some very low settings; just enough to add something to the back end, but not interfere with the tone while you're playing. Quad Delay settings are Dry/Wet 4.9%; Time 56 ms; Feedback 24.5%; Rate 0.71Hz; and Depth 4.95.

Lastly, I added a Phaser with Rate 0.24Hz; 1.52; and color 0.73. I also put in a Cry Baby Wah that you can use as well.

With those settings and a high gain guitar, you have a great starting point for playing Don Donegan’s Disturbed songs.