In a recent interview with U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine, METALLICA's Kirk Hammett pondered the future of the guitar in light of the troubles facing iconic brand Gibson, who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
As more popular music has been made with computers, international guitar sales began to decline, creating a challenge for larger manufacturers and retailers like Gibson. According to The Washington Post, the other of the two biggest companies, Fender, is also in debt, and a third, PRS Guitars, had to cut staff and expand production of cheaper guitars.
Hammett said: "I don't know what the fuck it is, but people seem to be seeing the guitar in a different light and passing them up for fucking samplers and whatnot. Maybe it's a sign of the times.
"Like all instruments, there's a time when it goes out of fashion.
"In the early '80s, the guitar wasn't as popular as it became again in the mid-'80s, so we'll see what happens as far as enthusiasm is concerned with the actual act of making music with a guitar.
"It's sad news to me, but I hope Gibson prevail. They have in the past."
Hammett also talked about the lack of guitar solos on METALLICA's controversial 2003 album "St. Anger", a move that he supported at the time. He said: "I guess it was appropriate for the time, but looking back, it doesn't seem so appropriate to me now.
"I will always object to that, but I think the message was driven home after that album, that solos are needed in METALLICA," he said. "People look forward to hearing them. So, for me, there was a weird vindication."
In a 2003 interview with Rockezine.net, Hammett said the decision to have no guitar solos on "St. Anger" was made "because we wanted to move together all four of us in the same musical direction. We also wanted to preserve the sound of the album. When we tried to put overdubs on the album and put guitar solos on the album, it kind of… it sounded like an afterthought, you know? Like something was put on after we created it. It stood out. We wanted to preserve the sound of all four of us in a room just jamming spontaneously together. To put production stuff on top of that just didn't sound right. We tried to put guitar solos on, but we kept on running into this problem. It really sounded like an afterthought."
The 2018-2019 North American leg of METALLICA's "WorldWired" tour in support of the band's latest album, "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", will launch September 2 in Madison, Wisconsin and run through March 13 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Each ticket purchase is accompanied by a physical or digital copy of "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct".