Known for their versatile guitar sound, Metallica’s lead man James Hetfield uses everything from Gibson and ESP guitars to classical guitars. Here is an itemized listing of James Hetfield’s rig:
· ESP Explorers
· Ken Lawrence Explorer
· ESP Custom Eclipse
· ESP JH-1 Custom V
· Gibson Explorer
· Gibson Les Paul Custom
· MESA/Boogie TriAxis Preamps
· MESA/Boogie Strategy 400 Power Amps
· MESA 4x12 Recto Cabs
· Roland JC-120 Combo Amps (for clean sounds)
· Diezel VH-4 Heads
Effects and Accessories
· TC Electronics G Major Effects Processor
· MESA/Boogie Custom Graphic EQ
· MESA High Gain Amp Switcher
· Digital Music Corp GCX Switcher and Ground Control Plus Controller
· MXR Phase 100
· Digitech Whammy Pedal
· Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synthesizer
· Audio Technica 5000 UHF Wireless
· Furman Power Conditioners
· EMG 81 and 60 Pickups
· Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Strings
· Dunlop .88mm Tortex Picks
What I have below is a way to simulate James Hetfield’s tone for The Black Album, the fifth studio album from Metallica. For all distortion tones use a Metal Distortion Pedal and for all of your clean sounds use your amps clean tone. Metallica has a trademark sound. On your amp, turn the mids to 0 and turn your amps Bass and Treble knobs up between 3 “o” clock and 4 “o” clock.
The set up I have given here is a great place to start to get the sounds that are heard “The Black Album.”
A good Metal Distortion Pedal is essential for the heavy tone.
- The Boss/Roland Corporation product support group suggests the MT-2 for an extremely versatile pedal. There are a lot of parameters you can control with this pedal. It is great for just about any classic metal need.
- If you are looking for a newer modern sound the Boss/Roland product support group recommends the brand new ML-2 distortion pedal. The ML-2 will give you more of a modern metal sound.
- ·The wah is necessary for the solos in songs like “Enter Sandman,” and “Don’t Tread on Me.” I would recommend a Dunlop classic Wah pedal.
- The chorus pedal will be used on the albums clean guitar tones such as in intro to “Enter Sandman,” “Nothing Else Matter,” and “The Unforgiven.” A couple of great chorus pedals to try is the Boss CE-5 Stereo Chorus or the Arion SCH-Z Stereo Chorus pedal.