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Kirk Hammett: The Gods That Wailed

Originally published in Guitar World, April 2009

The 10 cult guitarists that rock Kirk Hammett’s world.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Paul Gilbert

I just discovered that he’s a much better player than what I saw in Mr. Big videos. [laughs] I knew he was a GIT ripper, but I was never exposed to the technical side of his playing until recently, when I saw some clips on YouTube. I was blown away by his approach. It’s fearless.

Charlie Hunter

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

The Fucking Champs

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

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.

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.

Mark Morton and Willie Adler (Lamb of God)

Those two guys are fantastic! And the new album, Wrath, is amazing. Oh my lord! It has guitar solos up the wazoo, which makes me really happy.