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100 Greatest Guitarists

87

James Hetfield


james hetfield
Marty Temme/WireImage
87/100

There were precedents for the palm-muted, ultra-percussive chug James Hetfield gave Metallica (Judas Priest, Motörhead), but he made it the gold standard of Eighties metal. He's never been a monochromatic headbanger, though, delving early on into the delicate picking of "Fade to Black" and later embracing the more nuanced hard rock of the Black Album. "I wonder if James Hetfield knows how to play the drums," Dave Grohl once said. "Because basically he's taking care of the percussion and melody of Metallica's songs with his guitar. And it's great."

Key Tracks: "Seek and Destroy," "Master of Puppets"

Related
Video: Q&A with Metallica's James Hetfield

 
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