Kirk Hammett: This Is the Best Advice I Can Give to Young Guitarists

"There's a lot of bands out there, a lot of music, and a lot of it sounds similar," Metallica guitarist says.

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Kirk Hammett: This Is the Best Advice I Can Give to Young Guitarists

Kirk Hammett was asked by 89FM about the top word of advice he has to offer to aspiring guitarists, to which he replied (transcribed by UG):

"It's important to be original and have something different to offer.

"There's a lot of bands out there, a lot of music, and a lot of it sounds similar. If you really want to be successful, you have to find a sound that's unique, a sound that you feel comfortable with so that you can let it grow inside of you.

"Just be original. Try to have original thoughts.

"It's OK to be inspired, it's OK to be moved by other types of music and art, but it's really important to aspire to something different that hasn't been done.

"It might sound overwhelming, but that's how new things get discovered. You gotta take the first step."

Metallica guitarist added: "When 'Kill 'Em All' first came out [in 1983], we were the odd guys on the block. No one wanted anything to do with us; we were like pariahs, like lepers. People would hear we were coming, and if they weren't fans they would turn around and run the other way.

"But eventually, people came to understand us and that what we were doing was different and new, that we had something different to offer."

He concluded: "My point is: use some different colors, different techniques, a different approach - it will be interesting!"

In related news_backup, Metallica recently premiered more footage from their March show in Mexico City. You can check out "Ride the Lightning" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" below.

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41 comments sorted by best / new / date

    honestly, there's not that much room for originality. guitar music has been around since the 30s, if not longer, and there are only so many pitches that you can make on a guitar, even an eight-string with 24 frets. odds are, most combination of notes, scales, and chords have been played in some fashion or another. i would say find something that you love. it doesn't have to be original, it doesn't necessarily have to be technically overwhelming: as long as it speaks to you, that really is all that should matter
    That's one of the main reasons that Stevie Ray Vaughan was immensely popular in his short career. He wasn't the most original, his style and licks were influenced by Albert King Jimi Hendrix, etc. He did however pour so much blood sweat and tears, and love into what he did. You could tell he enjoyed the hell outta what he did. That is the key to success right there!
    You're right dude.  Games almost over.  It already shows in today's (or lack thereof) music.  
    Agreed, I think trying to be original for the sake of being original comes off as forced or just awkward prog (Insert most Metal bands from 2011-Present). Just play what you like to hear and it will be unique because YOU are unique. The way you think, feel, and experience things is never going to be exactly like anyone else. Just making all of that apparent in your playing is the hard part. Being inspired by not just one or two bands of the same genre, but 5-10 and some in different genres and then creating something from those influences is going to be original, naturally. 
    William Sitnin
    "Invest all your points in luck to end up in a band that'll be as big as Metallica"
    "and if that doesn't work, savescum until the right random encounter happens"
    Dat thumbnail photo... "What! It was my Wah that stole my cellphone?" *cue for dramatic music*...
    To be fair, Metallica did a lot of covers of like Diamond Head when they started, admitted to not telling people they were covers, and heavily drew from those bands in an area that hadn't really heard that music. 
    Wah-t did he say again? Funny, but if you listen back to earlier Albums, Kirk had a unique lead sound. But after the album, it's been nothing but Wah.. I really wish he would do something different.
    I thought his advice would be about backing up your 100s and 100s of riffs on your iCloud.
    Kirk and James are both great guitarists by their own right. The band still sells out stadium's everywhere they go not Center's as in basketball and hockey. Theyou have a huge amount of fan's including China. They have made tons of cash and don't even have to do this but people love their music their the kings of Thrash Rock. Eddie Van Halen is another example of a great guitar player but even his licks are similar. AC/DC same. They are all different but people love them. Little 8 year old's are playing Metallica on guitar and drums up through the teens. These little artist's are bringing back Rock the way it use to be and it's a beautiful thing. These Justin Beavers and bubble gum music made for pre-teens came from the record companies just for profit. Oh let's lip sing to these kids that shelled out big buck's to see what? That's the Industry however with Rock it has never happened and with the wah pedals whammy bars distortion pedals it's just one thing. True Rock and Roll. Each band is different which is great however it must continue and evolve or it will die and the guy's like Buddy Holly Jimi Hendrix Chuck Berry even Elvis who I am not a fan of did all this work for nothing. So for those about to rock, we salute you and for those that never played or just never made it up the food chain wahhh to bad you shouldn't have read this article but since you did you must like Kirk and Metallica!
    Thousands of artists are doing things that haven't been done before, and they are basically unknown. The mainstream audience doesn't give a crap about originality—they want familiarity.
    Try reading the whole article with the tone that Kirk is conveying in the top picture. 
    "When your about to release the first album in 9 years, just wait until the last minute and "improvise" every solo on the album instead of taking the time, during 9 years, to write said guitar solos. Also, wake up every day that the lead guitarist of the next big metal band does enough heroine that youll be able to replace him someday."
    I thought they just put their own twist on the New Wave of Bristish Heavy Metal that Lars wanted to bring to the states. No?
    Well, there is ONE coment so far that isn't about the wah, and it's not mine. Still, I've gotta admit he wanted to be kinda motivational and it was good