Kirk Lee Hammett (born November 18, 1962) is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus. In 2003, Hammett was ranked 11th on Rolling Stone‘s list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2009, Hammett was ranked number 15 in Joel McIver‘s book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.
Hammett was born on November 18, 1962 in San Francisco, and raised in the town of El Sobrante, California. He is the son of Teofila “Chefela” (née Oyao) and Dennis L. Hammett (a Merchant Marine). His mother is of Filipino descent and his father was of part Irish ancestry. He attended De Anza High School in Richmond, California. While attending De Anza High School, he met Les Claypool of Primus, and they remain close friends.
Hammett has a well-known passion for horror movies; that stretches back to the late Sixties. After spraining his arm in a fight with his sister at the age of five, Hammett’s parents placed him in front of the television. It was during this time that he first watched The Day of the Triffids. After that, Hammett found himself drawn to his brother’s Frankenstein figures, and it wasn’t long before he was spending his milk money on horror magazines. For the better part of the next decade, Hammett dove deep into the horror scene.
Hammett began showing an interest in music after listening to his brother Rick’s extensive record collection (which included Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelinand UFO). It was then that Hammett’s whole life shifted and he stopped collecting horror magazines, and began selling his magazines to buy music records. This all led him to properly picking up the guitar at the age of fifteen. Hammett’s first guitar was (in his own words) a “wholly unglamorous”Montgomery Ward catalog special, which was accompanied by a shoebox (with a 4-inch speaker) for an amp. After purchasing a 1978 Fender Stratocaster copy, Hammett attempted to customize his sound with various guitar parts, before eventually buying a 1974 Gibson Flying V. Hammett also took a job at Burger King as a youth before quitting once he saved enough money to purchase a Marshall amplifier.
ClICK HERE to see Kirk’s signature series black guitar from ESP
In most respects the limited edition ESP KH-2 Kirk Hammett Signature Series Electric Guitar is an M-II Deluxe that’s been loaded with screaming EMG-81/60 active humbuckers. The extra thin flat neck has a 24 extra-jumbo fret fingerboard to provide a springboard to intense, fleet-fingered flurries of riffage and extreme note bending. The finely crafted skull-and-crossbones pearl inlays add an extra dollop of menace. Includes hardshell case.
- Bolt-on neck construction
- 25-1/2″ scale
- Alder body
- Maple neck
- Rosewood fingerboard
- 42mm neck width
- Extra thin flat neck contour
- 24 extra-jumbo frets
- Gotoh Tuners
- Floyd Rose Original tremolo bridge
- Locking nut
- EMG-81 active bridge humbucker
- EMG-60 active neck humbucker