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In this Guitar Center video, Metallica's James Hetfield discusses how he became a musician, and his rise to fame. Throughout the video, he can be seen playing riffs on his one of his signature ESP guitars, the Iron Cross James Hetfield Signature Electric Guitar (Snow White color).
Hetfield goes into some details on some of the principles behind building this guitar: "…I wanted to play drums on guitar pretty much so I wanted a really percussive sound. One that really reacts quickly and is punchy, but also if you hang on a chord, it’s gonna fill the room.
I wanted a Les Paul shape that was a little lighter, a little more road-worthy. This has a little cut-out for me. I like to wear my guitars pretty low, this has a little more sharpness to it, I can get up a little higher even though, you know, you don’t want to hear me solo.
I've tested - probably - I think we went through about 30 different kinds of poles, different kinds of windings, different kinds of metals. I wanted a traditional look, but also have an active pickup. So combining passive and active together - smooth distortion, but with some aggressive mids that some of the passive pickups have. They’re a little more focused in the mids and there they're pushy, which I like. But the warmness, and the wideness of the active pickup. So combining those two together was the challenge.
And that's what I want in a guitar sound - but not abrasive - something that's gonna give you complete ear fatigue after a concert."
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