I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again … I’m not a lead guitarist and I never will be. My passion is rhythm guitar. Therefore most of my influential guitarists have strong rhythm guitar skills. That’s what appeals to me. But when a guitarist is responsible for my all-time favourite guitar solo, well then … That gets you added to my list. Kirk Hammett is that guitarist. He is responsible for one heck of a famous riff too. That helps.
Metallica is another of those bands that I came across after their first album. I discovered the band right when Master of Puppets came out. As usual, this led me to investigating their previous efforts. I loved Kill ‘Em All. But when I heard Ride The Lightning … There are no words. That album is beyond words.
When you consider the fact that Kirk Hammett has song-writing credit contributions on three of the best songs from that album—Fade To Black, Creeping Death and Trapped Under Ice—then it’s easy to see how he’s more than just the lead guitarist in the world’s most successful heavy metal band. He’s a talented song writer and musician. He’s also passionate about the guitar and I have to appreciate that.
Check out the very cool Guitar Center interview he did a while back. I especially love when he talks about his contribution to the song Creeping Death.
Being the lead guitarist in Metallica is no doubt cool—even if it does bring a lot of attention in regards to your use of effects like Wah. But when you think about it, Kirk is also half of one of the most amazing riffage teams in the history of metal guitar. That’s an impressive feat. I love that about him.
But as I stated in the beginning of this short article, Kirk Hammett is responsible for my all-time favourite guitar solo. That solo is the outro of Fade To Black—which happens to be the greatest song of all time.
On this website, that is not open to debate.
All guitar pieces come together for me with that solo. It’s the one solo I wish I knew how to play. I doubt I’ll ever get there—old dogs and new tricks—but there is not a single day where I listen to that song that I don’t think “Damn! I wish I wrote that.”
Studio or live, that song and that outro solo blow my mind. With his guitar work on this song, Kirk truly makes me believe in that popular saying “Music is what emotions sound like”. That’s why I must have Kirk Hammett in this list.
This is not a top guitarists list and there is no significance in the order the guitarists are placed in the list. This is simply a collection of guitarists that have been influential to me.