James Hetfield's Signature Guitar Strings Have Ended A Career-Long Struggle

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

May 11, 2022

Although some guitar players suspect all strings to be the same, Metallica's James Hetfield would beg to differ.

After decades of being frustrated by shortcomings of his guitar strings, Hetfield is over-the-moon to finally be touting a signature set, tailored to a true power-player like himself.

With Papa Het's Hardwired Master Core Signature Strings hitting music retailers everywhere this week, Ernie Ball and Hetfield released a new promo video in which he articulates how Ernie Ball's latest innovation has changed his life on the stage and in the studio.

"The biggest challenge was tuning," Hetfield said of his career-long struggle to stay on pitch. "[If] you got lighter strings, you hit them hard, they're going 'Whoa!' real sharp for a second and then settle back. It just became such a challenge, especially in the studio when we would sit down. I [recorded] this thing and it was great and then, 'Wow, you're a little out [of tune].' Oh, then you're gonna do it again."

Hetfield, who has described his playing style as 'barbaric,' says Ernie Ball's uniquely-designed strings seem to thrive under his uncompromising pick attack, preserving the bright tone of a lighter string but retaining the stiff action and tuning stability of a heavier string.

"When I'm able to just hit it hard and it stay in [tune] that is the important part, so I don't have to worry about my finesse or 'Gosh, you're pressing down too hard or you're hitting too hard.' I can play the way I need to play," he said. "Live, especially, is when you're filled with adrenaline from the crowd and the big amps are on and you're out there and you don't want to worry about anything except just having fun and hitting hard."

For more on Papa Het's Hardwired Master Core Signature Strings, go here.

Metallica With Greta Van Fleet - Las Vegas, NV
Photo: Getty Images North America
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