Kirk Hammett Goes Poly With Gibson And ESP

Kirk Hammett has signed on with Gibson (and not for the first time: he had a signature Flying V about 10 years ago), but he will also continue to use ESP.

My guess is that the press release below hints at some of the releases we might possibly expect: reproductions of Kirk’s 1979 Flying V and the ‘Greeny’ 1959 Les Paul previously owned by Peter Greene and Gary Moore. I reckon we’ll also see a black Les Paul Custom with EMGs, cos Kirk’s been playing one of those forever.

It’s cool of Gibson to name-check Fender, ESP and Jackson in the press release too. The Gibson of the ‘new regime’ seems to be going out of its way to be a part of the guitar community, whereas under the previous leadership it all seemed pretty insular.

Okay, now get Hetfield.

Here’s the press release:

NASHVILLE, TN (July 29, 2021) Gibson, the iconic American instrument brand, has announced an official brand partnership with Kirk Hammett of Metallica, one of the most iconic rock guitarists today. The new partnership will span across Gibson Brands including Gibson and Epiphone guitars.

“It’s a really great and exciting time for me to be joining forces with Gibson,” says Kirk Hammett. “I look forward to achieving great things together in the future.”

“It’s an honor to welcome the icon, the ripper, Kirk Hammett back to the Gibson family,” says Cesar Gueikian, Brand President, Gibson Brands. “Kirk has been carrying the flag for hard rock and heavy metal for decades, and his Gibson guitars have been there with him from the very beginning. From his first Gibson, his 1979 Flying V to ‘Greeny’ and everything in between, Gibson guitars have been an integral part of Kirk’s sound. All of us at Gibson are looking forward to this collaboration and are grateful that Kirk has trusted us to begin a new partnership.”

Watch and share the new interview with Kirk Hammett and Cesar Gueikian (Brand President, Gibson Brands) on Gibson TV, Today, Thursday, July 29, at 10am PT, Here.

Born in San Francisco in November 1962, Kirk Hammett quickly found himself obsessed with watching monster movies and reading books and comics. Transitioning through his teenage years meant taking up guitar and teaching himself how to play by ear for hours on end.

In 1979, Kirk Hammett named and founded the metal band Exodus. After recording a three-song demo in 1982, Hammett was called out to New York to audition for Metallica, and by the time Kill ‘Em All was released in July of 1983, he was officially part of the Metallica plan for world domination. Adding his style and passion into the mix helped define and shape the sound of Metallica as they grew into the band they are now, and Hammett’s solos and signature licks have inspired a legion of musicians young and old.

From Hammett’s early sonic experiences with a guitar out of a Montgomery Ward store catalog special, progressing to hitting Hendrix vibes with a ’78 Fender Stratocaster, then moving on professionally to Gibson Flying Vs and Les Pauls, and customized ESP’s. It goes without saying that Kirk Hammett is a guitar geek and has an affinity for anything with six strings including his 1985 Jackson Randy Rhoads Flying V or a frequently played Gibson 59 Les Paul Standard that once belonged to the immortal genius of both Peter Green and Gary Moore – affectionately known and celebrated worldwide as “Greeny.” Now as Metallica celebrates their 40th Anniversary in 2021, Kirk Hammett is ready to let those strings shine once again.

Five Great Covers EPs you should check out

Some bands build their early careers on a well-placed cover, like Van Halen blasting right out of the gate with a redefining take on The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” Some bands make a point of avoiding covers altogether. And some love covers so much that at a certain point in their career they’ll release an entire album of the dang things. Buried somewhere in the middle of it all though is the covers EP. For many listeners a covers EP hits a certain sweet spot: enough tracks to feel like a little treat, not so many as to lose focus or have listeners impatiently drumming their fingers waiting for the next album of original material. A covers EP says “dude, listen to these songs that we loved when we were starting out” but it doesn’t say “and you must listen to everything I listened to in order to understand where I’m coming from.” There are countless covers EPs out there but these are my personal favorites. What are yours?

Skid Row – B Side Ourselves

Skid Row released this EP between their Slave To The Grind and Subhuman Race albums, and it stood out for me because in those pre-Spotify/YouTube/iTunes days you couldn’t simply command a song to appear in your ears: you had to either catch it on the radio or encounter its physical representation in the form of a CD or cassette. Wild, I know. So for me, this was the first time I’d heard a song by The Ramones, and although I was already a Jimi Hendrix fan by age 13 I hadn’t yet come across “Little Wing.” The Judas Priest cover features a guest appearance by the metal god Rob Halford himself, and there’s an energy throughout this disc which captures the power of Skid Row in this unique era, when they successfully survived the last days of rock’s hair metal era and before grunge temporarily put the boot in to bands like Skid Row. This was a band with the world at their feet and a song in their hearts.

“Psycho Therapy” (Ramones)

“C’mon and Love Me” (KISS)

“Delivering the Goods” (Judas Priest)

“What You’re Doing” (Rush)

“Little Wing” (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)

Metallica – The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited

This EP represented Metallica’s first release with Jason Newsted on bass following the tragic death of Cliff Burton, and the band chose to go back to their roots before diving in to new music. These tracks are all available on the band’s 1998 Garage Inc double album too, but for me they tell an entirely different story when heard in their original context instead of fitting in amongst other covers, B-sides and one-offs. If Garage Inc is the story of a band using their platform as The World’s Biggest Metal Band to shine a light on the songs that inspired them, Garage Days Re-Revisited tells a story of a band who was struggling to cope with the emotion of the situation, and who retreated to the comfort of the jam room and the songs that inspired them in their early days before life became so complicated. 

“Helpless” (Diamond Head)

“The Small Hours” (Holocaust)

“The Wait” (Killing Joke)

“Crash Course In Brain Surgery” (Budgie)

“Last Caress/Green Hell” (Misfits)

Stone Sour – Meanwhile In Burbank…

I get a feeling we’ll be seeing more of this as time goes on: covers EPs that feature songs released post-1990. While most of Stone Sour’s recent covers EP (the first of a trilogy) focuses on tracks from the 1980s, the inclusion of Alice In Chains’ “We Die Young” acknowledges AIC’s rightful place in the Great Heavy Rock Songbook. It’s interesting to note that this EP features songs by Judas Priest and KISS, just like Skid Row’s. And it’s also cool to see a band paying tribute to Metallica, who have done so much to share cool covers with the world.

“We Die Young” (Alice In Chains)

“Heading Out To The Highway” (Judas Priest)

“Love Gun” (KISS)

“Creeping Death” (Metallica)

“Children Of The Grave” (Black Sabbath)

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Covers EP

The Chili Peppers released this EP in 2012 as an iTunes-only digital download to celebrate their induction in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. The idea was to pay tribute to other bands who came before them in joining the ranks of the Hall. The tracks themselves date from between 1991 and 2011, with three guitarists represented: John Frusctiante, Dave Navarro and Josh Klinghoffer. 

“A Teenager in Love” (Dion and the Belmonts)

“Havana Affair” (The Ramones)

“Search and Destroy” (Iggy Pop and James Williamson of The Stooges)

“Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” (Neil Young)

“I Get Around” (The Beach Boys)

“Suffragette City” (David Bowie)

Rush – Feedback

Alright, this one is probably long enough to qualify as an album if you really wanna stretch it, but this eight-song release clocks in at just over 27 minutes. While most of the EPs covered (ha!) in this list feature songs from the ‘metal and onwards’ era, Rush’s reflects an earlier era, an era we now think of as ‘classic rock.’ Heck, it even includes two songs apiece by Buffalo Springfield and The Yardbirds, and you might as well count “Summertime Blues” as a The Who song too and at them to the ‘two songs by…’ list. What’s really great about Feedback is that it gives the listener a clear indication of where Rush derived their energy, yet it provides virtually no hints whatsoever as to how they developed such a progressive, iconic sound of their own.

“Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran/Jerry Capehart)

“Heart Full of Soul” (The Yardbirds)

“For What It’s Worth” (Buffalo Springfield)

“The Seeker” (The Who)

“Mr. Soul” (Buffalo Springfield)

“Seven and Seven Is” (Love)

“Shapes Of Things (The Yardbirds)

“Crossroads” (Robert Johnson, Cream)

New Metallica Album November 18!

From Metallica.com:

“It really does exist! We know it’s been a long time coming, but today we proudly introduce you to Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, the long awaited next Metallica studio album that is the follow-up to Death Magnetic! Two discs, nearly 80 minutes of music is coming your way on November 18, 2016… yes, THIS YEAR! Read More …

Check Out Kirk Hammett’s New Signature Overdrive

Metallica-Kirk-Hammett-Goteborg.Still027

This is gonna be fun: Kirk Hammett and David Karon (Washburn) have collaborated on a new overdrive pedal which seems to take its cues from the Ibanez Tube Screamer but with plenty of twists and turns. Interesting to see that it has compression controls too. More info on the Ghoul Screamer here, but here’s the press release:

Read More …

Great Simpsons Guitar Moments

The Simpsons

The Simpsons has always been a music-friendly show, with many great cameos from the likes of Aerosmith, James Brown, The Ramones, James Taylor, Willie Nelson, Jack White… the list goes on and on. One of the best things about being a guitar nerd is that you see guitars everywhere you look, and we obsessed types can find plenty of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it guitar moments in The Simpsons. Here are a few of my personal favourites. What are yours? Share it in the comments! Read More …

SPONSORED POST: YourInstrument.com

As you guys know, I’m a huge guitar geek and my tastes range from pointy, neon-coloured shred axes with Floyd Roses to classic semi-hollowbodies with Bigbsy vibratos. So when the fine folks at YourInstrument.com asked me to write a sponsored post, I thought the perfect thing to do would be to have a look around at the wide variety of instruments for sale. Because a) it’d be a great way to show the diversity of instruments that folks like you and I are using the site to buy/sell, and b) because nothing is more fun than looking at electric guitars for sale, except for playing them. So let’s see what’s there this week. And you can always keep up with what’s online at this very moment by checking out the site.

prs-se-mikael-akerfeldt

PRS SE Mikael Akerfeldt
This is the signature model for the Opeth frontman. It’s one of the first SE models to include old-school bird inlays, and it rocks 24 jumbo frets, PRS designed tremolo bridge, SE HFS and SE Vintage Bass pickups, volume and tone control with a 3-way toggle switch. You can see Mikael playing these on the road. Read More …

Introducing Black Lightning Gallery

black lightning gallery

Are you a fan of great guitar music? Of course you are. Do you need some inspiration for the wall of your music space? Maybe a shrine to your favourite artists? Or just something cool to hang above the fireplace? Check out Black Lightning Gallery in Los Angeles. Founded by Rohan Ocean, Black Lightning Gallery is about to unveil a fine art photography collection from prolific rock photographer Gene Kirkland (whose work I’ve long admired – his name is burned into my head from all sorts of guitar mags). The photos include a recently discovered collection of some of rock’s most pivotal and historically important moments. Vai and DLR. Metallica taking over the world. Guns N’ Roses at the “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” video shoot. Aerosmith. Black Sabbath. Ozzy getting chummy with a white dove (from the cover of Guitar School magazine – I totally have that issue in the other room). Randy Rhoads. Motley Crue at the “Girls, Girls, Girls” video shoot. They’ll be released as numbered, signed limited edition prints exclusively via Black Lightning Gallery, and will only be available until the limited numbers are sold. there will not be additional runs of the photos.

Here’s an example of some of the great stuff you’ll see on the site:

black lightning gallery james hetfield

“Metallica were unstoppable in 1988. A new album And Justice for All… was released. Their first single release ‘One’ came with a haunting and unforgettable video, Making the song itself display the full meaning of the lyrics. The band was shot in black and white while the movie had color moments in the flashbacks.
The following Justice world tour was massive in scope with 5 legs and 222 dates. Staging included the huge Dorothy statue recreated from the cover of the album that broke down during the title track. A full lighting rig that come off and swung very close to Lars’ drum riser. The justice show was epic. The full experience is immortalized and officially released in the Live Shit: Binge and Purge Box set recording at Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, Washington over 2 night on August 29 and 30, 1989.”

 

The Seymour Duncan James Hetfield Invader Mystery

Hetfield and Hammett
A little while ago I got my paws on a Schecter Synyster Gates Custom guitar with Seymour Duncan Invader pickups, and I was pretty impressed by how easily it was able to capture classic 80s thrash tones. In fact, I found myself chugging out on the riff to Metallica’s “Disposable Heroes” for way longer than anyone would care to hear, just because it sounded so damn chunky.

“But wait,” I thought. “I feel a sense of deja vu here… something to do with the Invader …and Metallica…” It wasn’t until a little while later that I made the connection during one of my frequent excursions down the Google rabbit hole: it has been reported that James Hetfield used the Seymour Duncan Invader humbucker on Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets, in his Electra Flying V copy as well as his white Jackson King V. Interviews from back in the day seem to be very hard to come by (i.e. I can’t find any, dammit), but below are some pics from a Google image search that seem to support these reports, and there’s some other cool info here.

In the Electra pic in particular, you can make out the smaller logo and larger pole pieces of the Invader – and there are rumours that the pickup in the KV1 King V is a Seymour Duncan Allan Holdsworth model, which seems possible since the pole pieces in the pic below look more like the Holdsworth’s double screws than the huge hex poles of the Invader.

Either way, if anyone has any clearer pics I’d love to see ’em! Of course, even as a huge Seymour Duncan geek it’d be wrong of me to omit that Papa Het has long used EMG pickups and now has his own signature Het Set.

Hetfield Electra

Hetfield Jackson V