Metallica frontman James Hetfield talked about how Dave Mustaine’s departure from the band affected him during a recent appearance on Total Guitar.

In 1981, Dave Mustaine joined Metallica and started to play together. However, the band decided to kick Mustaine following his aggressive attitude due to drug and alcohol abuse before the first studio album and added Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett.

After Kirk joined as a lead guitarist, James has become the main rhythm guitarist of Metallica. Because of that, he had to adjust his playstyle a bit and explained what he needed to do.

According to James, he was competing himself to get better in rhythm guitar and said that he was asking himself if he could play along with the drumbeat simultaneously all the time to improve.

James Hetfield on his transition to rhythm guitar:

“I was competing with myself, for sure. You know, ‘Here’s the drumbeat, can I play along to that?’

And down-picking always sounded better than alternate picking. Just in the way the string stopped, the chunkiness of it…”

Further in the conversation, James also talked about why he loves down-picking instead of alternative picking and said that it feels much better and heavier, which could be really understandable from ‘Master Of Puppets.