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Joe Satriani about the student Kirk Hammet

Not many people know that Joe Satriani was a teacher for many young guitar players back in the day. Among them was no one other than Kirk Hammett from Metallica. Recalling the days when he was instructing a pack of young kids who developed into some of the finest guitarists of their era, Joe Satriani concentrated on one of his most outstanding students – Mr. Kirk Hammett from Metallica.

Satch declares for Classic Rock Magazine: “Kirk was a great student. He was very eager to learn.

“His fingers moved great – and he had great taste in guitar players like Michael Schenker and Uli John Roth. He was completely musical.

“He’d been in Exodus, but all of a sudden got in this band, Metallica, and he disappeared for a few months then came back with a copy of ‘Kill ‘Em All.’ Thrash metal songs had brand new chord progressions that had nothing to do with blues, Zeppelin or The Beatles.

“Kirk would come in and say, ‘Check out this new song I have to solo over – what key is this in?’ Often the song wasn’t in just one key. I had to teach him to decipher the song’s tonality, to understand the musical possibilities, and how to make his own decisions on what to play.”


Seeing Kirk as a “young kid full of talent and enthusiasm” and telling how “Hit the Lights” fully round up ‘Tallica’s sound back then, Joe stated:

“Kirk had just replaced another great guitar player, Dave Mustaine, and at first he took Dave’s approach of playing blues rock over the progressions.

“As the Metallica records pile up you can hear Kirk working in more exotic scales, but every now and again he’ll still play a solo that sits on top of the riff – the one from ‘Sad But True,’ echoes the early Kirk Hammett.

“Even after all these years his finger tone’s still the same. He burst on to the scene with that sound and throughout Metallica’s musical journey his solos come up big, thick and full of energy.”

As a conclusion he said: “People are looking for that special thing that you can’t put into a book, you have to curate that yourself – and Kirk’s never lost sight of that.”