METALLICA's KIRK HAMMETT Partners With GIBSON To Create His 1979 Flying V
April 4, 2023
For 130 years, Gibson has shaped sound across generations and genres of music, becoming one of the most relevant, played, and loved guitar brands around the world. Gibson is proud to introduce the next global release in its partnership with Kirk Hammett, legendary guitarist of the multi-platinum selling, and Grammy Award-winning band METALLICA. For the first time, Gibson has collaborated with Kirk to create one of the most important heavy metal guitars of all time, his beloved 1979 Gibson Flying V. The Kirk Hammett 1979 Flying V from Gibson Custom Shop is now available worldwide through premium Gibson dealers and via Gibson.com.
METALLICA fans worldwide are familiar with Kirk Hammett's 1979 Flying V. It was Kirk's first-ever Gibson and established his passion for Gibson guitars. Its purchase was inspired by famous Flying V players Kirk admired and because he was looking for a fuller sound. And what a sound! Kirk still plays the original guitar to this day, and used it on all the early METALLICA albums, including "Kill 'Em All", "Ride The Lightning", "Master Of Puppets", "…And Justice for All" and The Black Album, making it one of the most important heavy metal guitars of all time. Only 200 were hand-made by the expert luthiers of the Gibson Custom Shop in Nashville, Tennessee. The Kirk Hammett 1979 Flying V from the Gibson Custom Shop is artfully aged to match the original by the Murphy Lab and was inspired by this legendary guitar. In addition to case candy developed in collaboration with Kirk, an SKV Flying V Case complete with gaff tape and METALLICA museum tags which match Kirk's original is included along with a Certificate Of Authenticity photo that is hand-signed by Kirk Hammett himself.
One of the most iconic rock guitarists of our generation, Hammett has been the lead guitarist and a contributing songwriter for METALLICA since 1983. Before joining METALLICA, he formed and named the metal band EXODUS.
When Hammett's partnership with Gibson was first announced in 2021, Kirk said about the collaboration: Yes, it's official. I have become an official Gibson endorser and it's been a long time coming. I'm really, really happy about it. And when I think about it, I've been playing Gibson, really, since the late '70s when I bought my very first black Flying V, in 1979. I could barely play it and it felt funny putting it on because of the V wings. But I knew that it was the guitar for me, and within three or four days, I was just inseparable from that guitar. And I still have it to this day. Gibson guitars have been with me for pretty much 95 percent of my musical life. I've revered so many Gibson players in my life too, and the Gibson sound has been so inspiring to me. And at times, I didn't even know it.
"I remember when I first started playing guitar, I was just blown away by the sound of Jeff Beck's guitar — 'Let Me Love You', off [the 1968 JEFF BECK GROUP debut album] 'Truth'. Pretty much the opening lick, I was just, like, 'How did he get that sound?' And I remember it was one of the very first guitar licks I learned, very simple lick, G position, blues lick, but I could never get it to sound the way that sounded with that tone, that attack, that distortion... And it wasn't until decades later that I realized it was because he was using a certain guitar, it was a Les Paul Standard. And then it all made sense to me."
Hammett went on to say that the time was "right" for his partnership with Gibson.
"When I really think about it, Gibson guitars have been on every single METALLICA album," he said. "And primarily on the first three albums. It was all Gibson-powered because all I had was my Flying V, and then I had a Strat copy, and I had a Jackson. The Jackson didn't really come to me 'til 'Master Of Puppets'. That Gibson Flying V was a real workhorse in the studio for the first four or five albums, and then after that, I started playing vintage Gibsons from 'Load' on, and I started playing Standards almost all the time."
Kirk added that he loves Flying Vs. "I think I have almost every '70s Flying V, from '79 to '81,' he revealed. "I really like that particular run of Flying Vs. There are a lot of cool colors, and I like the design, I like the weight, I like the sound. I have one of the very first Flying V's from 1957, a prototype."
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