Metallica’s James Hetfield Names Rhythm Guitarists Who Influenced Him

(photo: Steve Jennings)

In a new appearance on Ernie Ball: Papa Het Master Core Wired Guitar Strings, Metallic leader James Hetfield named a few rhythm guitarists who influenced him the most during his ongoing musical career. He also explained how he became a great player.

Born August 3, 1963, James Hetfield was the leader, guitarist and lead singer of his co-founded heavy metal band Metallic since 1981. Influencing many artists during this period, James Hetfield contributed to Metallica’s entire discography, including 10 studio albums, 8 live albums, 3 extended plays, and more. Debuted in 1983 with the band’s first studio album Kill them all, james‘ The last effort with the band was the band’s tenth outing, Wired… to self-destructreleased in 2016.

There is no doubt that James Hetfield is one of the greatest musicians in the world of rock and metal. Since its existence in music, it has inspired many young artists. His great work ethic, playing style and inventive riffs are some of the main reasons why Metallica achieved international success. Without James Hetfield, Metallic would not exist, as he is the key member of the group.

Although he influenced hundreds of thousands of musicians, James Hetfield also has its own influences. Previously spoken rock bands that influenced him or the songwriters he chose as his favorites, James Hetfield this time he talked about the musicians who influenced him the most as a rhythm guitarist.

First, James Hetfield revealed how he developed as a guitarist, saying, “Creating Heavy Core was a major step up in the strings. It makes me a better player, actually. It makes me work a little harder. You have to have Metallica calluses to play some of this stuff sometimes.

“What I’ve also found is that I can add a little more gain to my amp to give it a little more forgiveness in my playing because it’s so tight.”

James Hetfield Names Rhythm Guitarists Who Influenced Him

In the following, James Hetfield admitted that he still believed the basis of the song was the riffs. Renting Tony Iommi from black sabbath saying that he leads the song with his riff, James then added that Johnny Ramone helped him develop his fast picking technique.

“I’m a bit of a barbarian when I play,” james adds. “[I’m] still interested in the riff. It was the basis of the song.

“Tony Iommi, he leads the song with his riff and everything else joins him. You know, Johnny Ramone, a lot of picks a lot of you know, just a quick pick. It helped develop my style.

“Kind of a combination of punk rock and heavy rock at the time, you know, turned into a top-down selection style and with a melody.”

Back in November 2021, James Hetfield had discussed with Howard Stern the last release of the group The black listwhich is an anniversary album of black scrapbook which features covers from over 50 artists. In the interview he shared his feelings about hearing covers from different musicians from different genres.

“There were definitely a lot more,” Hetfield says. “And I love that people enjoy the music, that they’ve absorbed it, digested it, and have to spit it out in their own way what feels best to them.

“Whether it’s Spanish, or rap, or country twang or some kind of crazy remix…

“I love that they’re all really, really different. And the people who made them, the artists, they took the time.

“They took the time to make it their own, and they didn’t just phone up and say, ‘Oh, we’re just going to cover it the way it’s supposed to sound. They adopted it and made it theirs. That, to me, is beautiful.


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