In a recent interview with Jonathan Graham, Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett spoke about his selection reasons for guitar amplificators. He revealed that why James Hetfield and he decided to use Mesa Boogies instead of Marshall Amps. He said:
“Marshall and Boogies I always blended. I like the traditional sound of the Marshall, that Marshall bark. I love that sound! The Marshall guitar sound is forever etched in my brain. It’s just such a great sound. When I get that sound I feel like I’m coming home to something.
For the music I play, for the sound that I want, I needed something better. So James [Hetfield] and I got Mesa Boogies, and they’re great. And for about a couple of years I played nothing but the Boogies. But then I started blending the Boogies and Marshalls together. And I didn’t start doing that until Dual Rectifier came out, which was like ’89-’90 maybe, somewhere around there.
But I’ve always been into Marshalls. Even to this day for recording I have my Marshall amps that I drag out, that I just fucking bow to. I have one head. I’ve been looking for that one magic head that I know so many guitar players have, and I never got to find one until like ’95-’96. I found the one head that I just love, and it is a customized, just a little bit.
The Marshall sound for me will just always be a favorite thing. But then again, I love the Vox sound too. I love Brian May’s sound, I love Ritchie Blackmore’s sound in the studio. I could never figure out what he used in the studio because it’s always different from what he used live. I remember listening just recently to… *plays ‘Stargazer’ riff*
There’s a track off the first Rainbow album, and there’s this one par where Ritchie plays this little fill and ends it with an A chord. And I used to hear that A chord and think, ‘That tone sounds familiar but that’s not his live sound, that’s not his 100-wattt Marshall he’s know for.’ Until just recently I read in a magazine that he uses Vox in the studio. And all of the sudden I thought, ‘That’s the Vox I’m hearing.’
And I’ve been into Vox sound like the last 10 or 12 years. Especially the old combos from the early 60s. It’s a sound that I haven’t really been able to really incorporate into any of our albums. Because it’s really unique, or you end up sounding like Brian May. [Laughs] Which isn’t such a bad thing. All due respect Brian, but I don’t want to snake on his territory.”
You can watch the entire interview from below.