James Hetfield: Best Rhythm Guitar Player Ever???

46 replies
  • OFF TOPIC
  • |
I am now firmly convinced that James Hetfield is the baddest mother playing heavy metal rhythmn guitar in the history of the genre. His riffs are the reason Metallica has been as slamming hot as they have been over the decades.

Having just taken up the instrument myself I have nothing but huge respect for the sounds he can make come out of his esp.

Anyone disagree?
  • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
    The best guitarist I ever met was kind of insane. He refused to play guitar for money, insisting that his guitar's "not a whore" and had another business to make ends meet. Somehow, word of his guitar playing prowess spread in guitar playing circles and some major names have made pilgrimages to visit him, but never allowed to record it. They're always astounded at how good he was, usually leaving both impressed and offended (he has a mean mouth). His older brother told me that he started playing guitar before he started talking. Even when he's talking, he'll play sounds on the guitar to help articulate his meaning, whether sad, comedic, or sentimental.
    Signature

    Project HERE.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4379577].message }}
    • Originally Posted by thunderbird View Post

      The best guitarist I ever met was kind of insane. He refused to play guitar for money, insisting that his guitar's "not a whore" and had another business to make ends meet. Somehow, word of his guitar playing prowess spread in guitar playing circles and some major names have made pilgrimages to visit him, but never allowed to record it. They're always astounded at how good he was, usually leaving both impressed and offended (he has a mean mouth). His older brother told me that he started playing guitar before he started talking. Even when he's talking, he'll play sounds on the guitar to help articulate his meaning, whether sad, comedic, or sentimental.
      You were of course, referencing Horace Bartholomew "Magic Fingers" Schmidt...:rolleyes:
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7101008].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Not into metal...But for heavy rhythm and original sounds created with a guitar without the use of electronic gadgets, no one beats Jeff Beck:



    Signature
    Discover the fastest and easiest ways to create your own valuable products.
    Tons of FREE Public Domain content you can use to make your own content, PLR, digital and POD products.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4380338].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ThomM
      Actually on rhythm guitar I'm a big fan of Bob Wier of the Dead.
      I played with a guy in Fl. who had the same style. They simply know the where, when, how, and why for every note and chord they played.
      Signature

      Life: Nature's way of keeping meat fresh
      Getting old ain't for sissy's
      As you are I was, as I am you will be
      You can't fix stupid, but you can always out smart it.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4380417].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Nobody plays "rhythm" quite like the wonderful Wilko Johnson:





    Frank
    Signature


    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4382024].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
    I don't know if I would go as far to say he is the best ever. Zack Wylde can lay down a sick rhythmic track.
    Signature
    You're going to fail. If you're afraid of failure then you do not belong in the Internet Marketing Business. Period.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4382719].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JBorhez
    I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and two of my favorite bands are Metallica and The Grateful Dead. I agree with both Matt and Thom on the fact that James Hetfield AND Bob Wier are phenomenal rhythm guitar players!

    I've always been amazed at how Hetfield could play the rhythms that he plays and sing at the same time. More so with early Metallica. Just awesome!

    Wier played his rhythmic melodies on a level that doesn't exist anymore! Just awesome!
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4383967].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
      Originally Posted by Gaurav Duggal View Post

      Been playing for 7 years, and for absolute rhythm precision and creativity, no one can touch James Hetfield. The guy sounds like a machine. Just listen to some of the extracted "rhythm guitar only" tracks from the Justice album, and then realize that he did most of these in one straight take.

      The only rhythm guitarist with a similar level of precision is Dave Mustaine, but overall i'll have to give the nod to James.
      I had the privilege of seeing Megadeth play live in the early nineties and it is quite true...Dave Mustaine is dirty nasty with his chunky rhythms. But he is pretty one dimensional with his sound. So I give the edge to Hetfield between the two.

      Originally Posted by JBorhez View Post

      I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and two of my favorite bands are Metallica and The Grateful Dead. I agree with both Matt and Thom on the fact that James Hetfield AND Bob Wier are phenomenal rhythm guitar players!

      I've always been amazed at how Hetfield could play the rhythms that he plays and sing at the same time. More so with early Metallica. Just awesome!

      Wier played his rhythmic melodies on a level that doesn't exist anymore! Just awesome!
      Hetfield seemed to reinvent himself with every album. Though his style stayed pretty static through Ride the Lightning and Justice. Which by far are my favorite two early albums.

      When Black came out I absolutely hated it. The sound was completely different than any of their earlier stuff. But then I heard Hetfield slam down the Sad But True riff I realized that no one in the world can play the style of music he does. I still get chills whenever I hear the song.

      He rocked just fine in Kill Em All but it was very speed metal centered. His evolution between the first two albums is the reason they are still rocking today. There is no way they would of accomplished what they had if he hadn't evolved as a guitarist.
      Signature

      Free Training for SEO Providers in the United States - https://happyseoclients.com/happy-seo-clients-training/

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4384671].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    Buddy Holly, John Lennon.
    The Beatles were great...but they were not great musicians in my book. Which is a sentiment they all shared by the way.

    Buddy Holly? I guess he could rock out the 1-4-5 like the rest of them back then. But 1-4-5 rockers were a dime a dozen. The music is so untechnical beginning guitarists almost always learn their first chops rocking out fifties music. Why? Because it is easy as hell for them to play.
    Signature

    Free Training for SEO Providers in the United States - https://happyseoclients.com/happy-seo-clients-training/

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4384684].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      The Beatles were great...but they were not great musicians in my book. Which is a sentiment they all shared by the way.<snip>
      I agree with that. The Beatles were very creative and there are lots of inspired moments in their music, but technically they were not upper echelon not by a long shot. Ringo Starr was a steady drummer at best, not among the greats -- he even sounded "pitchy" when I heard him singing -- but there is no replacement for Ringo Starr with his rare creativity and charisma.
      Signature

      Project HERE.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388153].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      Matt, the "baddest" is subjective and a matter of taste. I will say this ... if you stick with the guitar you will start hearing music differently as you progress. I listen to things I wouldn't have been interested in before I started playing. I actually wrote a song about it years ago. You'll become amazed by the technical execution of different kinds of music, even if it's not your favorite genre. It's a great ride, enjoy every moment.
      I am starting to gather that. I just saw a video with Roy Clark that absolutely blew me away.

      Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

      Buddy Holly and John Lennon were both superb rhythm guitarists. If you want to listen to techno-trash, that's fine with me.

      Just don't piss down my leg and tell me it's raining, OK?
      Hey Ken if you're into capo rock then so be it. Calling Metallica techno-trash is ridiculous however. Get your genres right man. Sorry though, I'm just not into golden showers. Thanks for the invite all the same.
      Signature

      Free Training for SEO Providers in the United States - https://happyseoclients.com/happy-seo-clients-training/

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388454].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
        Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

        I am starting to gather that. I just saw a video with Roy Clark that absolutely blew me away.

        Roy Clark was one of the best. Tony Furtado is someone you may want to check out. He makes it look so easy. Hasn't got the greatest voice, but it's adequate. He could sound like a howler monkey and I'd still listen to him play the guitar. Here's a sample for you:


        If you haven't heard Roy Clark play Malaguena, you're in for a treat...

        Signature

        Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388661].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      The Beatles were great...but they were not great musicians in my book. Which is a sentiment they all shared by the way.

      Buddy Holly? I guess he could rock out the 1-4-5 like the rest of them back then. But 1-4-5 rockers were a dime a dozen. The music is so untechnical beginning guitarists almost always learn their first chops rocking out fifties music. Why? Because it is easy as hell for them to play.
      The Beatles sure achieved a very high level of mediocrity.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4466833].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author bravo75
        I think a lot of people would disagree with you on that one, including me.

        Originally Posted by oncewerewarriors View Post

        The Beatles sure achieved a very high level of mediocrity.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4466856].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author lcombs
      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      The Beatles were great...but they were not great musicians in my book. Which is a sentiment they all shared by the way.
      Not sure where you heard that they all shared the sentiment that they were
      not great musicians, but either way, I disagree.

      Harrison worked and played with the best of them, obviously Clapton being one.

      McCartney was a great bass player and, on his first solo album played all the instruments himself.

      Lennon was a great rythm player and wasn't bad on piano either.

      Ringo got a raw deal on his criticism as a drummer.
      Despite popular belief that John and Paul got rid of Pete Best because he
      he was getting all the girls, they went after Ringo because, at the time, he
      was considered the best drummer in the U.K.
      And, when they re-mixed the Beatles Anthology CDs, Paul and George said that it brought out just how good Ringo truly was.

      I think people tend to forget that they were a small, 4 man band that made that incredible music.

      They did things that were virtually unheard of at the time.
      Such as "reverse chords", and progressions.

      Also consider that every rock band that followed built on what they did.
      And, the quality of equipment they were working with.

      When John was assassinated he and Paul were in discussions about getting
      getting The Beatles back together.
      Who knows what they could have done, and/or be doing now had John survived.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4474028].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ToddWales
    For heavy metal I'd have to say Dimebag or aspects of Randy Rhoads playing. For hard rock rhythm it's hard to challenge EVH.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4386856].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
      Originally Posted by ToddWales View Post

      For heavy metal I'd have to say Dimebag or aspects of Randy Rhoads playing. For hard rock rhythm it's hard to challenge EVH.
      I would classify all of them as lead guitarists not rhythm guitarists though. Different breed altogether.
      Signature

      Free Training for SEO Providers in the United States - https://happyseoclients.com/happy-seo-clients-training/

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4386871].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author QuickSurf
        Hetfield is def among the top, as is Zakk Wylde. My 1st cd was Master of Puppets

        Their doing better now than like 5+ years ago, going sober was pry the best thing. They were sounding washed up live, and albums years ago sucked.

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4387048].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Matt, the "baddest" is subjective and a matter of taste. I will say this ... if you stick with the guitar you will start hearing music differently as you progress. I listen to things I wouldn't have been interested in before I started playing. I actually wrote a song about it years ago. You'll become amazed by the technical execution of different kinds of music, even if it's not your favorite genre. It's a great ride, enjoy every moment.
    Signature

    Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4387599].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author w1908
    James is a good player indeed but please let us not forget Hendrix, Satriani, Clapton and dozens of others he listened to when he was younger and probably still is...
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388574].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Greenfatman
    James is amazing , sure one of the best...But guys we all know Malcolm Young is the most complete rhythm guitarist ever! he is responsible for the broad sweep of AC/DC's sound. Just ask all big 4 guys, they all agree with me. Yes, "Sad but true" the guitar is pure genius and James sings on the same time, kind of insane, I don't know how he does that.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388585].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
      Originally Posted by Greenfatman View Post

      James is amazing , sure one of the best...But guys we all know Malcolm Young is the most complete rhythm guitarist ever! he is responsible for the broad sweep of AC/DC's sound. Just ask all big 4 guys, they all agree with me. Yes, "Sad but true" the guitar is pure genius and James sings on the same time, kind of insane, I don't know how he does that.
      For sure Malcolm Young needs to be mentioned. He was the backbone behind the sound of ACDC. But he still played pretty simple riffs in my opinion. James stuff is much more complex and intricate. But as my instructor keeps letting me know..."It's not the technical difficulty of a song that get's listeners dancing. Never has been and never will". Malcolm got people dancing. Enuff said.
      Signature

      Free Training for SEO Providers in the United States - https://happyseoclients.com/happy-seo-clients-training/

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388604].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Matt I usually have to agree with you, but all James Hetfield does practically is just go back and forth on one string. When the note changes, he just goes back and forth on the next string - Howbeit real fast...

    I dont necessarily think of that as skilled rhythm... Anyone who could be the top rhythm guitarist would have to know some chordal changes as opposed to primarily playing one note at a time real fast. James hetfield changes "notes" mostly... A real guitarist changes "chords". I have never heard a metallica song that couldnt be learned by a very basic guitarist fairly easy. There are guys who will have your head spinning for 6 months trying to figure out their rhythms...

    James does have a few more melodic things here and there, but nothing very complicated.

    So I politely disagree, but I think what counts is that his music moves "You"... if he heard me say this he would probably just shrug his shoulders and say "Eh...no big deal... he's not my market".

    What I think doesnt matter though if his fans love his playing.

    On this point though, one very chordal hard rock rhythm player is Warren Dimartini formerly of "rat", I like him alot myself. Again, his isnt all that complicated, but even his hard rock rhythms are semi chordal.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388644].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Greenfatman
    Yes James sound is much more complex for sure, but Malcolm's riffs are everything in rock, he so perfect and unique,I saw them 2 years ago in Wembley...Hell! this guy didn't made a single mistake, everybody knows an ac/dc song straight away, some riffs have a very complex tempo though,I'm not sure if you can sing and play on the same time.
    I read a Iommi coment, the players today just want to be fast as they can and forget about the feeling, I was thinking this guy is jealous, but the other day I was listening to "something"(beatles,abbey road) when came up the solo I felt in heaven, George plaid this solo over 30 times the same way until get the final take, but he was looking for the feeling, yes he found it....So I remembered what Iommi said: He was damn right, not jealous!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388685].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Dennis is right... when I was younger I thought Eddie Van Halen was the hottest... Before that I actually thought Ace Frehly was (Now I dont know what I saw in his playing at all)

    Today I can watch this guy play for hours...and "do". Taste changes the longer you play and things people do just fascinate you for the strangest reasons and you become obsessed with learning all kinds of things.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4388706].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Darrel Hawes
    My vote would go to John Petrucci (of Dream Theater). He plays a lot of lead too but his rhythm playing is like a laser.

    There was a Youtube listing that had just the guitar track to Pull Me Under. Highly recommend for guitar aficionados! If I can find it, I'll post it here.
    Signature
    Darrel Hawes - Blog
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4442935].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    He gets warmed up around 0:55 here... Love this guys playing.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4462048].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    It is kind of difficult to pick the ultimate rhythm guitar when they play vast different styles of music
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4463427].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
    This is embarrassing to admit given the fact I have been here a couple of years. How in the heck do you embed a video from Youtube on your posts. Whenever I add the embed code the code itself pops up. I have some must listen to vids that I'd like to contribute to the discussion.

    Any help you can give and old and feeble warrior on this would be very much appreciated!
    Signature

    Free Training for SEO Providers in the United States - https://happyseoclients.com/happy-seo-clients-training/

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4465630].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Matt,

      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      This is embarrassing to admit given the fact I have been here a couple of years. How in the heck do you embed a video from Youtube on your posts. Whenever I add the embed code the code itself pops up. I have some must listen to vids that I'd like to contribute to the discussion.
      First, make sure that you've enabled the WF enhanced editing feature. Go to your User CP -> Edit Options -> Miscellaneous Options -> check the option for "Enhanced Interface - Full WYSIWYG Editing"

      Then, when you post, you need to paste in the YouTube URL for the video (NOT the embed code).


      Frank
      Signature


      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4465819].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bravo75
    I know I sound like a broken record at times but when it comes to electric guitar, to me, Hendrix is the alpha and omega. Check this out for some rhythm guitar play!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4465937].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Hendrix was awesome and iconic... He is synonymous with stratocasters, the greatest, most versatile rock and roll machine ever created, as is the tele to country.

    I think we all sound like broken records when it comes to our favorite players. lol

    Ps. Thanks Bravo, great vid.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4466042].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
      Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

      Matt,



      First, make sure that you've enabled the WF enhanced editing feature. Go to your User CP -> Edit Options -> Miscellaneous Options -> check the option for "Enhanced Interface - Full WYSIWYG Editing"

      Then, when you post, you need to paste in the YouTube URL for the video (NOT the embed code).


      Frank
      Very much obliged Frank.

      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Hendrix was awesome and iconic... He is synonymous wirth stratocasters the greatest most versatile rock and roll machione ever created, as is the tele to country.

      I think we all sound like broken records when it comes to our favorite players. lol
      I have a new strat I hardly ever take out of the case. It's just too twangy. But I know scale hounds love them. I like the sound of a Les Paul for rhythm though. But since I do not have one in my collection at the moment I have to settle for my ESP. Though I haven't been able to put down my Ibanez acoustic all summer long. When I play my electric I play metal. Chunky palm muting power chords mostly. With my acoustics it's a total different instrument I am absolutely in love with. Does that mean I'm getting old?
      Signature

      Free Training for SEO Providers in the United States - https://happyseoclients.com/happy-seo-clients-training/

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4466076].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author John Durham
        Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

        Very much obliged Frank.


        I have a new strat I hardly ever take out of the case. It's just too twangy. But I know scale hounds love them. I like the sound of a Les Paul for rhythm though. But since I do not have one in my collection at the moment I have to settle for my ESP. Though I haven't been able to put down my Ibanez acoustic all summer long. When I play my electric I play metal. Chunky palm muting power chords mostly. With my acoustics it's a total different instrument I am absolutely in love with. Does that mean I'm getting old?
        I like the ec 1000 alot better than the studio les Pauls, good choice... Im with you about the collection. One day I will have the custom lp black beauty, but thats about 5k, it wont be anytime too near.

        Ps. You arent getting old... when you start craving acoustics... you are just seasoning, and becoming more musical. You want to touch the music and feel it come through the acoustic vibration.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4466814].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Want to talk about innovation in rythym guitar? This first song was recorded in 1959 I think:



    Signature
    Discover the fastest and easiest ways to create your own valuable products.
    Tons of FREE Public Domain content you can use to make your own content, PLR, digital and POD products.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4466472].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Matt, check this guy out. He has like six different esp's... He's an esp fanatic... If you watch him for a minute or two his execution will blow your mind. I have never heard and LP sound this good.


    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4466896].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author bravo75
      Damn, I wish I could play like that. Just imagine all the chicks you could pick up if you could play like that. Just sitting in a corner at a party having a little jam session and the next thing you know, you leave with 2 platinum blondes...

      I've always been a bit of a dreamer.

      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Matt, check this guy out. He has like six different esp's... He's an esp fanatic... If you watch him for a minute or two his execution will blow your mind. I have never heard and LP sound this good.

      If I could fly Joe Satriani cover by Arnaud - YouTube
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4466928].message }}
  • {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4473656].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Thrasher66099
      Are we talking about technical skills or ability to create a catchy riff? He is an excellent song writer but definitely not even close to the best rhythm guitarist. There are quite a few progressive technical metal guitarists that surpass him and most of them are under the age of 30.

      If we are talking ability to create quality music though, then I agree.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4473883].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bpmiller
    Wow this thread is long, and has taken weird turns . In respect to the guy that started it let me be the first to say that the topic was heavy metal which would be a much shorter thread because HM is not know for its rhythmn musicianship as much as scrub board machine gun rhythmn for effect while some guy screams in pain about how seriously ****ed up the world is.....Its out of my demographic and I never got it, Im stuck in the past back when music was musical ....not amplified factory machinery noises... or street talk rap crap..
    Sorry guys the best ever rhythmn rock guitarist ever is.............
    Keith Richards
    Ask top musicians and they would agree he does mix it up. But you have to know music, not just pick who plays on songs you like. Richards does not fill all the available space in his area of the song but lays back and paints it. There isn't one guitarist I know that wasn't blown into another world waaay back with Honkey Tonk Women. Eddie Van Halen took up guitar after hearing it. Listen to that rhythm intro and tell me who else has ever figured that out . Its like he said once in an interview. Its what you leave out as much as what you put in, its the space between the notes that he looks to creatively structure also. And like him or not he is a genius and I cant think of any more creative force on the rhythm guitar. Sorry but Hetly doesn't have half the imagination and depth Richards does.
    Here try this out:
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7100922].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Big Rob
    IMHO, Hetfields talent lies in his Vocals and song writing. Kirk Hammett is the Guitar God in AlcholicaA, Garage days is one of my fave examples of this.(The solo in" crash course in brain surgery" KILLS). No doubt James rock s the rhythms, Just think Kirk is much better all around.

    Warren DiMartini is also a phenom LEAD guitarist, the rhythms were played by Robbin Crosby(RIP..).

    As mentioned previously, it depends on the genre.

    When it comes to Metal, here in no particular order are my formidable mentions:
    Rudolf Schenker (Scorpions), KK Downing and Glen Tipton(Judas priest), Dave Murray and Adriann Smith (Iron Maiden), Mick Mars (Motley Crew), Vivian Campbell(Dio,Whitesnake), Jon Sykes (Whitesnake),Jake E. Lee (Ozzy), Pat Thrall (Pat Travers Band) and ,Of course, The Godfather of them all; TONY IOMMI (Black Sabbath)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7101126].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Here's two more excellent rhythm players not on the list: Jimmy Vaughn and Steve Cropper....
    Signature
    Discover the fastest and easiest ways to create your own valuable products.
    Tons of FREE Public Domain content you can use to make your own content, PLR, digital and POD products.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9341335].message }}

Trending Topics