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Kirk Hammett

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Kirk Lee Hammett (born November 18, 1962 in El Sobrante, California, USA) is the lead guitarist in heavy metal group Metallica. Kirk is one of the most well-known guitar students of legendary guitarist/instructor Joe Satriani.

Hammett was born in El Sobrante, California to a Filipino mother and an Irish Merchant Marine father. As a child and teenager, he showed great interest in his older brother Rick’s extensive collection of hard rock records, including material by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and UFO. One of his biggest influences was Jimi Hendrix and he has performed parts of his songs during his guitar solos. He took up the guitar for the first time at the age of fifteen, beginning with a Montgomery Ward catalog special and little more than a shoebox with a four inch speaker for an amplifier. After picking up a 1978 Fender Stratocaster, Hammett attempted to customize his sound with various guitar parts, eventually falling for a 1974 Gibson Flying V. He even took a job at a Burger King restaurant to raise funds for a Marshall amplifier.

Hammett’s musical interests eventually drew him into the fledgling thrash metal genre. In 1982, he formed the group Exodus with vocalist Paul Baloff, guitarist Gary Holt, and drummer Tom Hunting. Exodus was a crucial early player in the Bay Area thrash movement.

Hammett was invited to join Metallica after the 1983 dismissal of the band’s original lead guitarist Dave Mustaine for substance abuse.

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