Kirk Hammett: “Maybe the age of active pickups is over”

Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield onstage in 2022: Hammett says he feels active pickups time is past
Kirk Hammett favors PAF-style pickups these days, while James Hetfield remains faithful to active units when it comes to rhythm work (Image credit: Jeff Kravitz / Getty)

Kirk Hammett has said he thinks the age of active pickups may be over, at least when it comes to his own playing. 

The Metallica guitarist made the comments in a recent interview with Guitarist, in which he was asked about his recent shift towards Les Pauls and Gibson’s PAF pickups – a move sparked by his ownership of the storied Greeny Les Paul.

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Matt Parker
Features Editor,

Matt is Features Editor for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

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