Kirk Hammett reveals his 3 favorite Metallica guitar solos

Kirk Hammett Live
(Image credit: David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images)

Since the 1980s, the playing of Metallica's maestro of electric guitar Kirk Hammett has been an influential and inspirational force to aspiring guitarists, metal fans and music lovers alike.

It goes without saying that, just as we all have our favorite Metallica songs, we all have our favorite Kirk Hammett guitar solos, too. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that Kirk also has his own top solos from his portfolio.

Speaking with Metal Hammer, Kirk has revealed all and dished on his three favorite solos he loves to play.

In no particular order, Kirk starts off with Hero of the Day, a decision he believes may be a controversial choice. "A lot of people would disagree", he says, but reasons that the major-to-minor melodic phrasing and the 'rhythmic thing' that kicks off the solo "brings the next part to the next level."

Kirk's follow up choice is one of the few songs he says he can be let loose on live and improvise over: Fade to Black.

"I get to improvise, change it all up, never play the same solo twice," he says. "I love knowing that I'm dancing on a knife edge, that's the excitement I love for."

Last but not least, Kirk recalls the time bandmate Lars Ulrich asked him to record a solo on the demo of One, his final solo pick.

After a tame start of fiddling, figuring out and jamming over Hetfield's changes, Hammett said "OK, press record."

"Next thing I know, my hand is tapping on the neck, following the chord progression – it just came out of air!"

In 2002, Hammett told Guitar World, "The main guitar solo at the end, with the right-hand, Eddie Van Halen-type tapping, came almost immediately.

"That guitar solo was just a breeze; what was going on with the rhythm section in that part of the song was just very, very exciting for me to solo over."

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.