James Hetfield was offered the chance to buy the Greeny Les Paul before Kirk Hammett, but he turned it down: “I’m a real idiot”

Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield of Metallica perform as Metallica Presents: The Helping Hands Concert (Paramount+) at Microsoft Theater on December 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for P+ and MTV)

Peter Green, Gary Moore and now Kirk Hammett: the Greeny Les Paul becomes synonymous with its current owner almost immediately. But while Hammett has been the guitar’s custodian for nearly a decade now, it turns out his Metallica bandmate James Hetfield was offered the legendary electric guitar first… but turned it down.

In a new interview on The Howard Stern Show, Hammett is asked about how he came to purchase the iconic Gibson ’59 Les Paul Standard.

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Michael Astley-Brown
Editor-in-Chief, GuitarWorld.com

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.