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James Hetfield’s Mastery of Metal Rhythm Guitar Sets New Standards

by Madonna

James Hetfield, renowned for his mastery of metal rhythm guitar, presents a formidable challenge with his downpicking prowess.

Since their groundbreaking Kill ‘Em All album debut in 1983, Metallica has solidified their position as the definitive architects of thrash metal. Their music commands respect and admiration even beyond the metal realm, earning praise from luminaries across various music genres.

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The relentless intensity of James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett’s riffs revolutionized the metal scene, setting a standard for future generations. A significant part of Metallica’s sonic aggression stems from Hetfield’s lightning-fast and precise palm-muted downpicking technique—simply listen to his isolated guitar tracks from …And Justice For All and Master of Puppets for proof.

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This technique injects the band’s songs with the necessary energy and drive. Additionally, Hammett and Hetfield skillfully incorporate chromatic movement, adding further depth and tension to their melodies and chord progressions.

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