Metallica sounded best using Marshall?

VESmedic

Well-known member
They’ve almost always used Marshall in some shape or form on their legendary records. And almost always ( or always) Marshall cabs ;).
 

braintheory

Well-known member
Hetfield definitely could've made great use of Cameron modded amps, but I really never cared at all for their tone on the first 2 albums. It always sounded way too bloated and boxy to me. I agree with Fordham65. Their tone with the Boogies I found to be far superior (way more aggressive and ripping to my ears) and way more inspiring and unique to me. In fact they're the reason I was intrigued by the mark series amps as a teenager and for just chasing aggressive metal tones in general. I don't think there would've been any other tone like that at the time. Can't say the same about their tone on their 1st 2 albums, but I do love many of the actual songs on those first 2 ("hit the lights" in particular is one of my favorite Metallica songs). I know Marshall's were still incorporated in some shape or form on those albums, but that mark series tone is still what I mostly pick up on in them
 

311splawndude

Well-known member
I like RTL and MOP about equally and for different reasons so it was cool to hear that transition as a kid. Each had its plus and negatives.

The thing I liked about MOP that then became a negative over time was that in some places it is almost too liquidy if you know what I mean.
 

VESmedic

Well-known member
What albums did hetfield mix in the vh4 / wizard ?
Wizard was garage inc , along with a recto and a bunch of other amps, but the wizard is the sound on that. The thing about Metallica, no matter what you read here or anywhere, there is tons and tons of amps in the studio with them, tons of pics of other amps that never get mentioned and their use ( Larry amps, VHT amps in black album photos etc). While there is quite a bit of documentation on the earlier albums ( ride the lightning and puppets specifically), AJFA and the black album are still quite a mystery on exactly what was used . I’ve seen pictures of mark 3’s in tons of AJFA recording pics: and quite honestly to me, AJFA and the black album sound much more like a mark 3 than a IV or a 2C+, that’s my opinion take it or leave it. How tracks were blended, what was used on overdubs etc, it’s just not all clear. And then let’s not forget the mixing, especially on the black album, it’s just incredible production all the way around.
 

Wizard of Ozz

Well-known member
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Wizard was garage inc , along with a recto and a bunch of other amps, but the wizard is the sound on that. The thing about Metallica, no matter what you read here or anywhere, there is tons and tons of amps in the studio with them, tons of pics of other amps that never get mentioned and their use ( Larry amps, VHT amps in black album photos etc). While there is quite a bit of documentation on the earlier albums ( ride the lightning and puppets specifically), AJFA and the black album are still quite a mystery on exactly what was used . I’ve seen pictures of mark 3’s in tons of AJFA recording pics: and quite honestly to me, AJFA and the black album sound much more like a mark 3 than a IV or a 2C+, that’s my opinion take it or leave it. How tracks were blended, what was used on overdubs etc, it’s just not all clear. And then let’s not forget the mixing, especially on the black album, it’s just incredible production all the way around.
Where have you seen those pics? I’d like to see them as well. I’ve only seen IIC+’s. And Flemmings notes for Justice shows IIC+. Well IIC++ really. Kirks “Lead A” head, that is a C++, that later James took over. Same amp is seen in James’s amp rack during the TBA recordings. According to Flemming’s notes it was used on Puppets as well.
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TheGreatGreen

Well-known member
Metallica has used a lot of stuff. Personally I think they sounded best with Mesas and Wizards. Their cover of Merciful Fate on Garage Inc might be the single best example of recorded guitar tone Metallica has ever achieved, in my opinion, and that's all Wizard.

However I also think the Black Album is one of the best sounding metal albums ever recorded overall and according to Bob Rock that's all Mesa Mark III. Sad But True specifically is just incredible tone. But that could be the lower tuning, the swing / attitude in the playing, or even the extra Danelectro baritone they used to make the sound some extra slam and punch.

Then again I also totally love the heavy tones on Load, and who knows what they used to get those sounds. Part of that tone was James' Triaxis rig and there were some Rectos in there too, along with a bunch of other stuff as well.
 
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Metallica has used a lot of stuff. Personally I think they sounded best with Mesas and Wizards. Their cover of Merciful Fate on Garage Inc might be the single best example of recorded guitar tone Metallica has ever achieved, in my opinion, and that's all Wizard.

However I also think the Black Album is one of the best sounding metal albums ever recorded and according to Bob Rock that's all Mesa Mark III.

Then again I also totally love the heavy tones on the Load album, and who knows what they used to get those sounds. I know part of the tone was James' Triaxis rig and there were some Rectos in there too, along with a bunch of other stuff as well.
I think Bob Rock is mixing up things. Maybe he is mixing it up with Sykes, who used Mark III, as they talk about recording Whitesnake ‘87 in the same interview. There’s nothing to suggest that Metallica ever used Mark III’s. And according to a Oct ‘91 (right after the album was released) interview with James he used the same Mark II that he used on the previous 3 albums. And pictures from the studio show the Mark IIC++ in his amp rack.

“Did you experiment with different amps and cabinets?HETFIELD: We tried a bunch of amps, but I ended up using the same Mesa/Boogie Simul-class Mark II that I've used on the last three albums.”

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dawnofdreamx97

Well-known member
I love the helicopter style attack from the jose amp on kill em all. You can hear the bright cap clanking away.... that said you can't deny the fury of the boogie tone on master and the black album , of course different but so pissed and tight....
 

TheGreatGreen

Well-known member
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a James Hetfield interview where he really goes in depth talking about his gear. There’s the rare EMG and ESP commercial he does but it always sounds like he’s talking to non-guitar players, or brand new ones.

I wonder if he genuinely thinks nobody would care if he talked about his gear or if it’s the opposite and he really does play it that close to his chest. Or maybe he just doesn’t care all that much. Like, is it just a solved problem for him? Does being able to instantly get any rig you want delivered, setup, and dialed in for you just suck out all the curiosity and interest he might otherwise get from it?

Could you imagine how many views a ToneTalk video would get if he just kinda joined and shot the shit and talked about what he thinks of this or that amp/pedal/cab for an hour or so?
 

stanbog

Active member
Bob Rock (and Rick Rubin if I recall correctly) both said that James is very protective about his sound. Plus, getting the tone he is ok with on tape is very demanding. Considering this, I personally think James is very well aware of his doings and is protecting it accordingly.
It's similar with his guitars - compare JH models with Kirk's sig guitars. While Kirk is flooding the market, James' sigs are remaining a bit rare.
 

VESmedic

Well-known member
Where have you seen those pics? I’d like to see them as well. I’ve only seen IIC+’s. And Flemmings notes for Justice shows IIC+. Well IIC++ really. Kirks “Lead A” head, that is a C++, that later James took over. Same amp is seen in James’s amp rack during the TBA recordings. According to Flemming’s notes it was used on Puppets as well.
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I’ll dig them up and post them here later, kind of interesting.
 

Philhouse

Active member
I've not seen any pics of Mark III's either, it's always been IIC++'s.
The only mention I've ever seen was by the assistant mixing engineer Toby Wright in the AJFA box set book that he thought the amps were Mark III's. But he could be mistaken I believe.
"James had Mesa Boogie amps that they kept in storage - they were like the holy grail for the band recording. I think they were Mark III's"

There was a lot of internet talk about the Boogies being slaved into Marshalls but there is nothing to back that up. They did slave into boogie power amps and Kirk did use Marshalls and his Boogies for his lead tone however. Flemming confirmed that.

Back to The Front book (re - recording of Puppets)

Kirk: "James and I each bought a Mesa Boogie Mark 2C head, which had just come out. They had more output and aggression than other amps and three gain stages with a built in EQ, which was really cool. We loved those things."

James: "I wanted the guitars to have more punch, more attack - the ultimate low-end crunch. We definitely got that with the Mark 2C. Nothing could beat that amp. I used it for all the rhythms on Puppets"



There is some pics from their gig at Ruthies Inn just after Donnington in '85 with what appears to be James's backline rig for the night which is a JCM800 and a nice green Tubescreamer on top.

The tone he got on the Mercyful Fate medley is a favourite of mine too. That pure rhythm guitar tone from 0:45 onwards is amazing. I have a strong hunch the intro guitar on Reload's "Prince Charming" is strong dose of Wizard also, it has that tone.

Kirk has always used Marshalls through the years. He seems to have a particular #1 head he uses. It has an orange "Not 240 VOLTS" sticker on the front and looks like a JMP to me.
 
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