SETUPS OF THE STARS Kirk Hammett

By Brawer, Gary | Guitar Player, October 2000 | Go to article overview

SETUPS OF THE STARS Kirk Hammett


Brawer, Gary, Guitar Player


One of Hammett's main guitars for Metallica's summer tour is a neck-through-body ESP Kirk Hammett model that he calls the Caution guitar (named after the sticker on the lower bout). The 24-fret, rose-wood-on-maple neck has a 25 1/2" scale and a compound radius that goes from 15" at the nut to about 20" at the 24th fret. His jumbo frets measure .108" wide by .042" tall, but the fret-board gradually becomes more scalloped (due to wear and sanding) as you go up the neck, making the frets measure a very tall .062" at the 24th fret. Because he likes to fight the guitar a bit, the action is fairly high--averaging 5/64" at the 12th fret.

"I've been trying to slow my vibrato down for years," says Hammett, "and the higher action helps with that."

The nut height keeps the Ernie Ball .010-.046 gauge strings at a height of .018" on the treble side, and a meaty . …

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