Metallica Guitarist James Hetfield Speaks To The Rhythm Guitarists Who Have Inspired Him The Most

Metallica guitarist
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Via a recent conversation with Ernie Ball, Metallica guitarist and singer James Hetfield shared which two rhythm guitarists have inspired him the most.

In a video uploaded on the Ernie Ball YouTube channel, Metallica guitarist James Hetfield talks about his early days of playing guitar. He speaks about coming across Ernie Ball branded guitar strings and what bands he enjoyed listening to growing up.

At one point, the Metallica guitarist goes on to share which two rhythm guitarists had the most impact on his playing style.

Per the Ernie Ball video that James Hetfield is featured in, this is what he had to say:

“I’m kind of a little bit of a barbarian when I play. [I am] always interested in the riff. It was the foundation of the song. Tony Iommi, he’s ruling the song with his riff and everything else joins him. You know, Johnny Ramone, lots of down picking lots of you know, just fast down picking. That helped develop my style. So kind of a combination of punk rock and heavy rock at the time you know, turned into just the down picking style and with melody along with it.”

Black Sabbath‘s Tony Iommi and Johnny Ramone of the Ramones are two excellent guitarists to look up to. It is awesome to think of a young James Hetfield hearing what Iommi was doing in Black Sabbath – along with what Johnny was doing in the Ramones – and blending those styles together to create what is now the Metallica guitar sound. Absolutely incredible and cool to learn!

You can watch the full video featuring James Hetfield below:

In other Metallica related news, we recently shared a funny video that includes a bizarre remix of a classic Metallica song, and recently covered how one woman gave birth while at a live Metallica concert; James Hetfield even called the woman and her husband to congratulate them on the birth of their baby! To read more about that story, click on the link below.

Watch: Metallica Singer Calls Woman Who Gave Birth During A Metallica Concert


Words by: Michael Pementel