Kirk Hammett is known as the lead guitar player in Thrash Metal giants Metallica. Over the years his rig has changed based on the needs of the album they are touring, but it has remained mostly faithful to a few select pieces of gear. In this article we are going to look at the rig that Kirk used in 1986 for the Master of Puppets album.
From the early days of Metallica, Kirk had two main pedals that he used that are well documented. Across the Master of Puppets album there is lots of modulation and other effects that can be heard but there are no detailed listings of any of that gear. Kirk most likely used a Chorus pedal of some sort. With the time of the album you can probably assume it was a Boss chorus from the 1980s.
- Ibanez Tubescreamer TS9
- Dunlop Crybaby Wah
Ibanez Tubescreamer TS9
From the first album right up to today, Kirk has had a TS9 in his rig. He uses the TS9 to tighten up the front end of his guitar amps overdrive channel. This is a common use for this pedal. The TS9 does not have much gain of it’s own, but when put as a boost infront of an already overdriven amp, it gives a very tight and refined metal tone.
Dunlop Crybaby Wah
Kirk has always been closely associated with a Wah pedal as an essential effect for his tone. He often uses it over the majority of his guitar solos. At this point in the bands career he was using a Dunlop Crybaby Wah. He later switched to Vox before coming back to Dunlop where he now has a signature model.
1970s Gibson Flying V
Kirk acquired this guitar when he was playing with the band Exodus, prior to joining Metallica. This guitar was used both live and in the studio and was complete stock until 1987 when Kirk replaced the pickups with the EMG active pickups he is now associated with using. There is no record of where this guitar was used on the Master of Puppets album, but it made appearances on the tour and would most certainty have been used in the studio at some point.
This guitar was added to Kirks collection in 1984 while the band were touring the Ride the Lightning album. The guitar is a copy of a Stratocaster from the guitar makers Fernandez. The guitar was modified by Kirk to have a Floyd Rose tremolo and a set of Fender Lace Sensor pickups (Single coil sized humbuckers). This guitar was used for all the Master of Puppets material that required the use of a Tremolo.
Jackson Randy Rhodes Flying V
Kirk has stated that this paticular guitar was used by him to record the majority of his parts on the Master of Puppets album. He started using this guitar in 1983, though it is not known how long he owned it prior to this. It is an Alder body guitar with EMG pickups and a string thru body style Tune-0-matic bridge. This was the main guitar for the album session and it still gets used live today.
Amplifiers and Cabinets
Mesa Boogie Mark IIc+
On the Master of Puppets album Kirk was performing live with a Marshall 1959 SLP 100w head, but in the studio he was using the Mesa Boogie Mark IIc+. This amp has become known as the sound of that album and redefined the tones that Metallica were assocaited with. The band were known for “scooping the mids” in the studio on this record. A tone trick where you turn the bass and treble up and the mids down. It gives a tight, fat metal sound.