“We can do things with a Fractal that we can’t do with a real amp”: Kirk Hammett’s guitar tech reveals why Metallica converted to Axe-Fx

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett
(Image credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When the story of Metallica’s metal guitar tone is told it will no doubt be the Mesa/Boogie Mark IIC+ that gets all the headlines. That, after all, gave Master of Puppets its crunch.

There will be mention of the snaggletoothed Kill ‘Em All Marshall amp crunch of the early ‘80s, and latter-day enormo beasts from Diezel and Fortin, but the digital revolution has long arrived big-style for the world’s biggest metal band, and Kirk Hammett’s long-serving tech, Justin Crew, has revealed in an interview with Doug Doppler’s YouTube channel how the band were converted to Fractal amp modelers.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.