Kirk Hammett Style

by Ben Higgins

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my lesson based on the style of Kirk Hammett. As Metallica's lead guitarist since their first album in 1983, Kirk needs no introduction.

    I would describe Kirk's playing as 'aggressive blues', full of rapid 16th note pentatonic phrases and double stop bends. Hammett is also renown for his use of the Wah pedal but his early work, especially on Kill 'Em All, rarely featured this. It's the Kill 'Em All based shredding that I've emulated in this lesson so you need not worry whether you have a wah or not, just plug in and shred along!

    One thing that Kirk does a lot is to outline pentatonic shapes from another key, that starts a 5th above (or 4th below, gives you the same note, just a different octave). For example, over a progression in Em, Kirk may use shapes from the Bm Pentatonic scale. This scale features notes that are all in the scale of Em but arranged differently in a way that outlines Bm instead. This means that the phrases may sound at odds with the backing but it's still technically correct. I've also included this approach in the lesson so you can hear and see what I mean.

    What will this lesson work on?

    - Timing
    - Give you some pentatonic phrases that can be worked into anything and built upon
    - Bending under pressure in a faced paced solo

    So, grab your guitars and step into the shoes of the man who handles the solos in the biggest metal band of all time!

    Tempo : 150bpm

    Key: Em

    Gear: Marshall JVM 401H, OD1, Red setting

    Scales used:

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