Prime Cuts: Metallica
Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield look back on some of Metallica’s brightest moments.
"Master of Puppets,"
Master of Puppets (1986)
HETFIELD: I think we wanted to write another song like “Creeping Death,” with open chords carried by the vocals and a real catchy chorus. On Master of Puppets we started getting into the longer, more orchestrated songs. It was more of a challenge to write a long song that didn’t seem long. The riff for that song was pretty messy—constantly moving. It works good live. People love to scream “Master!” a couple of times.
HAMMETT: I used my Jackson Randy Rhoads V for this solo. When you listen to the solo, there’s this weird sound right after the mellow part where it sounds like I’m hitting a superhigh note in the midst of my phrasing, like I’m fretting the string against the pickup. Well, what happened was, I had accidentally pulled the string off the fretboard! You know how you take an E string, you pull it down toward the floor away from the neck? I accidentally pulled down on the string, and it fretted out on the side of the fretboard. We heard it back, and I was like, ‘That’s brilliant! We’ve gotta keep that!’ Of course, I’ve never been able to reproduce that since; it was like a magic moment that was captured on tape. That was one of my most favorite things about that guitar solo. I thought I had screwed the solo up by accidentally pulling on the string, but once I heard it back, I thought it sounded great. That was definitely a keeper!
For the next solo we used backward guitar parts. To get them I played a bunch of guitar parts that were in the same key as the song and laid them down on quarter-inch tape. Then we flipped the tape over and edited it, so we had two or three minutes of backward guitar. We put it in the last verse of the song.
A lot of people think I actually came into my own sound on that song. That had everything to do with buying Mesa/Boogie Mark II-C heads. Boogie made those heads for a short time in the mid Eighties and only made a limited amount of them. They moved on after that, and they haven’t really been able to recapture that sound since—I don’t know if they ever tried or not. But there’s something about Boogie Mark II-C heads that were really unique and very individual in their gain stages and overall sound. Most of Master of Puppets was tracked with Boogie heads and Marshall heads combined, and I used my Gibson Flying V and my Jackson. By that time, I also had my black Fernandes Stratocaster.
The $5.98 EP/Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987)
HETFIELD: Putting out an EP of all cover tunes was absolutely unheard of, which we thought was really cool. We didn’t do too many arrangements, except to some of the Budgie tunes, where we eliminated some lame singing parts. For some of the songs we tuned down to D to make them a little heavier. The guitar sound is really awful, but it was the first thing we put out where the bass could be heard, so Jason [Newsted, bassist] was happy
HAMMETT: That was recorded when I first started using ESP guitars with EMG pickups. All the lead guitar parts on that EP flowed really quickly. I did them in two nights. All of the leads were mine. The fact that the original versions of “Helpless” and “The Wait” don’t even have solos in them was a bit of luck—no one would have anything to compare them to, and it kept any preconceived ideas out of my head. We did that EP for the fans, just for fun, and Elektra loved it and released it.
You Might Also Like...
21 hours 36 min ago
21 hours 47 min ago
Watch Video Highlights from 2013 Golden Gods Awards: Metallica, Anthrax, Danzig, Dillinger Escape Plan and More22 hours 43 min ago
1 day 1 hour ago
1 day 2 hours ago
1 day 3 hours ago
1 day 3 hours ago
In the Magazine
Most Commented Articles
Guitar World on Facebook
Guitar World On Twitter
GuitarWorld RT @revolvermag: Watch #GoldenGods VIDEO Highlights in One Place! @Metallica @DANZlG @Anthrax @Halestorm and MORE! t.co/AokBSWKbAx
GuitarWorld RT @PamelaHorton13: Awwww yeah RT “@PaulRiario: @PamelaHorton13 Laying it down w/ @bumblefoot @VigierUSA doubleneck guitar. @guitarworld ht…
GuitarWorld Session Guitar Tips: Creating Templates to Ease Work Flow t.co/SoSQQsb3kD #HowTo
GuitarWorld Gear News: @jimdunlopusa Introduces MXR Prime Distortion Pedal t.co/QkJ8rf6cKB #Video
GuitarWorld Listen: Blackmore's Night Premiere New Song, "The Moon Is Shining (Somewhere Over the Sea)" t.co/oDzmu4sFzC #HearItNow
GuitarWorld News: @JerichoGuitars Announces Avenger Baritone Model t.co/yKKYE7gr1W