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Kirk Hammett's 8 favorite unsung guitar heroes

Kirk Hammett performs with Metallica at the Tres de Marzo Stadium on March 1, 2009 in Zapopan, Mexico
(Image credit: Gerardo Zavala/Jam Media/LatinContent/Getty Images)

We know Kirk Hammett's lead electric guitar work with Metallica takes cues from his '60s and '70s blues-rock guitar forefathers, like Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and, of course, Peter Green.

Late 70s/early '80s hard-rock virtuosos Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen also, of course, loom large. 

In this interview though – originally published in Guitar World's April 2009 issue – Hammett discusses eight of the lesser-known guitarists who have informed his playing, from the worlds of metal, jazz, world and even Hawaiian music.

8. Tuck Andress

"He’s a Bay Area jazz guy who has amazing fingerpicking. He plays a big ol’ hollowbody and does that jazz thing where he’s playing the bass line, chords, melody and a solo all at the same time."

7. Adrian Belew

"His approach to sounds, effects and outboard gear is just wonderful. I also like a lot of chords he uses in his solo work, his stuff with Bowie [the albums Stage and Lodger] and, of course, with King Crimson."

6. Dave Hole

"He’s an amazing Australian slide guitar player. When I listen to him it sounds like he’s doing a hybrid picking and sliding thing, but I saw some footage of him and he’s sliding all the notes. He plays so fast, and his phrasing, intonation and tone are perfect."

5. Marc Ribot

"Marc Ribot plays with Tom Waits a lot, but he also did this Cuban album called Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos. His playing is way outside, but it works because his sense of melody and swing pulls it back in."

4. Charlie Hunter

"He’s fantastic. He’s the master of the eight-string guitar."

3. The Fucking Champs

"Those guys are great. I can tell they’re very dedicated musicians. They did this version of [Bach’s] Air on the G String that is amazing."

2. George Helm

"He’s a traditional Hawaiian slack-key guitarist that died in the Seventies. He was so amazing, not so much in technique, but in soul, performance and feel."

1. Jimmy Rainey

"Another fantastic jazz guitar player. He was doing some really complicated dual-guitar harmony and counterpoint stuff back in the Fifties, way before it was fashionable."

Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.