Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett was listed as number 11 on the Rolling Stones’ list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. While playing with Metallica, Hammett contributed to many hit songs, developed some killer riffs and earned himself and his band seven Grammy Awards. Metallica is considered one of the best-known heavy metal bands and has produced many hugely popular albums, including their self-titled album which sold 15 million copies. Four of Metallica’s albums reached number one on the Billboard 200 and their combined record sales for all albums are around 95 million. If you’re a guitarist who’d love to replicate Kirk Hammett’s rock star hit, take some advice from the man himself.
Hammett has a true love for playing the guitar and for music in general. This could explain why he claims to play the guitar 361 days a year. If you’re looking for guitar tips from Hammett, the first is to practice obsessively. Hammett started playing the guitar when he was 15 years old with an unimpressive guitar he got from a Montgomery Ward catalog. He decided that he needed an amplifier for his guitar, so he made one out of a shoe box and a four-inch speaker. Eventually, he got a job as a dishwasher at Burger King to finance his musical inclination. It wasn’t long before Hammett was able to upgrade to a Fender Stratocaster and then move on to his all-time favorite, a 1974 Gibson Flying V. Another suggestion from Hammett is that he doesn’t need to be in possession of the best equipment. available. He just has to start somewhere and work with what he has until he gets better and can upgrade. Hammett definitely didn’t start out with the fanciest musical equipment, but his love of music and playing the guitar kept him going.
Hammett is a man who is constantly curious and interested in learning new things. He is quoted as saying that “a life lived unexplored is a life not worth living”. This character trait worked well for him at some levels of his guitar playing career. His curiosity kept him experimenting with different techniques on his guitar in a quest to develop something truly unique. This gave rise to the “Frankenstein” technique that Hammett invented by using different pickups and amp combinations. After Hammett joined Metallica, his desire to learn and explore motivated him to join the ranks of other guitar greats and take guitar lessons from Joe Satriani. This was a great move for his career because he enhanced his skills as a well-rounded musician when he learned to play jazz, classical and blues from Satriani.
Finally, Kirk Hammett is a humble guy. One night at 3:15 in the morning when he was on tour with Metallica and staying in a hotel room, he composed the famous riff that is included in Metallica’s most popular single “Enter Sandman.” “Enter Sandman” was the first single from Metallica’s self-titled album, which sold 15 million copies. Hammett could have considered himself a great accomplished musician at this point and stopped trying to improve his craft. However, even after the great success of Metallica, Hammet had the humility to admit that he could learn a lot more about the guitars. He enrolled in guitar classes at the local San Francisco City College to continue improving his skills and working on his trade.
Overall, Kirk Hammett is a passionate guitarist who is consistent with his practice and dedicated to learning and improving his skills. He remains humble even after the great success of his band and his music. These traits combine to make Kirk Hammett one of the greatest guitarists of all time.