100 Greatest Guitar Solos: No. 24 "Fade to Black" (Kirk Hammett)

“I was still using my black Flying V on Ride the Lightning, but ‘Fade to Black’ sounds different—it has a warmer sound—because I used the neck pickup and played through a wah-wah pedal all the way in the ‘up’ position,” says Kirk Hammett.

“We wanted to double the first two solos and I did the first one no problem. But I had a much harder time doubling the second solo because it was slow and had a lot of space in it.

Later, I realized that I actually harmonized it in a weird way—in minor thirds, major thirds and fifths. After cutting those two, I really wasn’t sure what to play for the extended solo at the end.

I was really bummed out because we had been in Denmark for five or six months, and I was very homesick; we were also having problems with our management. Because of that, and since it was a somber song anyway, I thought of very depressing things while I did the solo—and it really helped. We didn’t double-track that solo, although I did play some arpeggios over the G-A-B progression.

After that, I went back and did the clean guitar parts behind the verse, and James [Hetfield] played an arpeggiated figure while I arpeggiated three-note chords. The result was what I always have considered a very Dire Straits-type sound.”

Next: 23) "Bulls on Parade"