Kirk Hammett reveals “secret weapon” to his “super-dynamic lead sound”
Kirk Hammett has shared the “secret weapon” he uses for his guitar tone within Metallica.
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Metallica released their new record 72 Seasons last Friday (14 April), their first release since 2016’s Hardwired… To Self Destruct. As you’ve been listening to the new record, you may well have been pondering what gear was used behind the scenes.
In a new interview with Total Guitar, Hammett shared the secret behind his tone, and revealed that his “super-dynamic lead sound” comes from a replica of the Schaffer-Vega Diversity System (SVDS), which was the first wireless guitar system Ken Schaffer created in the ‘70s.
Hammett said: “It’s a type of preamp compression unit. People like Angus Young, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen were able to boost the output on that transmitter, hence Angus’s amazing guitar sound.” As reported by TG, Hammett’s SoloDallas Schaffer Replica EX Tower unit had a price tag of $1,749, so if you’re looking to replicate his sound, you may need to save up some cash.
“So the Tower is a bit of a secret weapon – I can’t believe I’m telling you about it! It’s a large part of how I got that super-dynamic lead sound. It’s really full-sounding – there’s a lot of mid, but it doesn’t sound harsh or too bold or solid,” he said. “The harmonic distortion is amazing. I hit a note on Greeny and it literally will never quit.”
Hammett also explained that the tone on the new record is based on his live tone, which is created with a Fractal Axe-Fx modelled on a blend of his Fortin Meathead amp and his Dual Rectifier. “We took that lead sound and tweaked a little EQ, added the Tower and we’re good to go,” Hammett said. “Maybe there’s a Tube Screamer in there also, because I just love that sound.”
To find out more about the new record and their upcoming tour dates, go to Metallica.com.
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