Metallica unveil custom one-of-a-kind 'Flying M' guitar – and you can win it

Highline Guitars Metallica Flying M
(Image credit: Fandiem)

In November last year, Metallica surprised everyone by dropping a new single completely out of the blue. Titled Lux Æterna, the track was the first single lifted from the band’s 12th studio album, 72 Seasons – again, that was a surprise – which is due April 14.

Now, in a bid to capitalize the hype and raise money for charity, Metallica have unveiled the Flying M – a custom, one-of-a-kind electric guitar that will be raffled off to support their All Within My Hands foundation.

Sporting the signatures of each Metallica member, the guitar itself was crafted by Highline Guitars’ Chris Monck and the team at Inventables, and features a Metallica ‘M’ on the wing of each side of the guitar, as well as a 12th-fret Metallica sawblade inlay.

Although initially inspired by James Hetfield’s own trademark Flying V, the Flying M comes loaded with Kirk Hammett EMG humbuckers and a Floyd Rose-style trem system, and boasts a build schematic that comprises mahogany, ebony and sheets of aluminum composite. It also comes with a custom M-emblazoned hardcase.

The guitar will be winnable via donations made to Metallica’s All Within My Hands foundation, which is raising money for the Metallica Scholars initiative. The Scholars is a workforce education program that provides direct support to community colleges to enhance their career and technical education programs.

Said programs aim to provide skills and services to students looking to enter a traditional trade or other applied learning programs.

According to Hetfield, “The Metallica Scholars program allows people to get the materials they need, the training, equipment, funds for tuition… all of those things that go with running a school.”

Free entries and donations of $10, $25,$50, $100, $250 and $500 can be pledged over on Fandiem, with the winner set to be announced on March 14. According to the site, the Flying M has an estimated retail value of $10,000. We imagine the signatures have helped inflate that.

This is the the second guitar that has been associated with the 72 Seasons promo, after the album artwork itself depicted an intriguing Strat-style model that had been burnt to a crisp.

After some extensive sleuthing, we determined the charred instrument to be a late-’80s Fernandes LE-1 Strat copy – an intriguing development, given that Hammett himself played a Fernandes FST-13 in the 1980s, and that Robert Trujillo also dabbled in the brand’s basses.

Visit Fandiem to enter the race to win the Flying M, or head over to Metallica's website to preorder 72 Seasons.

Highline Guitars Metallica Flying M

(Image credit: Fandiem)

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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.