Metallica frontman James Hetfield recently teamed up with Ernie Ball to release his first-ever guitar strings, the Papa Het's Hardwired Master Core. Now in a new video demoing the strings, Hetfield revealed his two main influences as a guitarist growing up – Black Sabbath riff overlord Tony Iommi and Ramones downpicking machine Johnny Ramone.
"I'm kind of a little bit of a barbarian when I play. [I'm] always interested in the riff. It was the foundation of the song. Tony Iommi, he's ruling the song with his riff and everything else joins him. You know, Johnny Ramone, lots of down picking lots of you know, just fast down picking. That helped develop my style. So kind of a combination of punk rock and heavy rock at the time you know, turned into just the down picking style and with melody along with it."
In a recent promotional clip for the new strings, Hetfield jokes, "It's only taken forty years for me to get my own strings, you know?!" Even still, the clearly stoked Metallica guitarist marvels particularly about the 50-gauge heavy core wire that the strings are made from.
"I'm a bit of a barbarian when I play," adds Hetfield, while showing off the crunching tone and durability of the Hardwired Master Core strings (as seen above). The strings are available here.
Perhaps we'll get to hear these new strings in action sooner than expected, as last week, Kirk Hammett may have inadvertently tipped fans off to some new Metallica music potentially in the works. Of course, that's purely speculative, but Hammett did note that regular Metallica producer Greg Fidelman was unable to mix Hammett's new solo EP Portals because he was tied up with other Metallica projects—which frankly could mean anything, the most likely of which being reissues of Load and Reload.