Kirk Hammett has been getting flak for his use of a wah pedal for decades at this point, and it's finally gotten to him! Hammett has now announced he's giving up the pedal in favor of… nothing. We're kidding. Kirk Hammett doesn't a give a damn what you think.
In an interview with Guitar World, Hammett said he "can't think of anybody who uses the wah pedal as much as I do" before dismissing all the criticisms against him.
"I don't care what anyone fuckin' says," said Hammett. "If I feel like stepping on the wah pedal, I step on the fuckin' wah pedal, because it brings me closer to what I'm hearing internally. And that's the whole point of gear — to help bring the thing you hear internally out into the external world."
And really, good for him. Irritating as the criticism must be, he's also Kirk Hammett. The guy responsible for coming up with the original idea for the "Enter Sandman" riff and guitar player on metal records by which others are judged. He doesn't have to care what the Internet thinks.
Hammett later elaborated on his love of the pedal, saying: "The wah enables me to mirror the inner voice in my head and in my heart. That's what I'm hearing. All these manipulated notes and tones, because that's what the human voice is like. We cycle through all these different tones and frequencies when we speak. When I step on that wah pedal and hear that click… well, I'm hearing that clicking in my brain and in my heart at the same time."
Despite his heavy wah usage, Hammett also revealed in a 2021 interview that he's never actually written a solo with wah pedal in mind.
"I think a lot of that [getting into wah was] just a culmination of having been on tour for …And Justice for All and just having fun on stage, stepping on my wah for a lead break, or in between songs, or whatever.
"But when I really think about the solos on the Black Album, I came up with all of them within about a week. 'Enter Sandman', I had that one complete by the second or third time we played it.
"Because when the songs are strong, the solos come easy. And back then, I'd compose a solo and then, if it felt appropriate in the studio, I'd bring in the wah and see if it brought anything more out. I've never really written a guitar solo with a wah pedal. It’s always been after the fact."