100 Greatest Guitarists

Find out who our panel of top guitarists and other experts picked

Load Previous
James Hetfield
Marty Temme/WireImage87/100

87. James Hetfield

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"

Video: Q&A with Metallica's James Hetfield

Back to Top