Joe Satriani On Giving Guitar Lessons To Metallica’s Kirk Hammett: “He Knew Exactly What He Wanted”

Joe Satriani On Giving Guitar Lessons To Metallica's Kirk Hammett: "He Knew Exactly What He Wanted"

Joe Satriani recalled giving guitar lessons to current Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and admitted that he was a pretty talented person who exactly knew what he wanted.

Joe Satriani is a 15-time Grammy Awards-nominee American musician that has 17 solo studio albums in his solo career. Debuted in 1986 with his Not Of This Earth, Satriani is one of the best-selling rock guitarists of all time. Before he got fame in his youth, the guitarist had given guitar lessons to renowned artists such as Alex SkolnickSteve Vai, Larry LaLondeCharlie Hunter, which later helped him to work alongside Deep Purple and Mick Jagger on their tours.

One of those students he had given guitar lessons was current Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. At the time, Kirk Hammett was playing at his pre-Metallica band Exodus. He was playing well while Satriani was giving him the guitar lessons because he was in a band during the time. The creation of a world-class guitarist was being laid, and perhaps no one, including Kirk, knew about this. In fact, he was the latest musician who took a guitar lesson from Satriani.

The end of one era was the beginning of another. Over the years, Kirk Hammett has improved his guitar talents. Debuted in 1983 with Kill ‘Em All with Metallica, he has released ten studio albums as a member of the band, which means he performed in the band’s entire discography. He then became an icon in the community. Once looking for inspiration for himself, Kirk Hammett now inspires young and new artists with his huge talent.

During the recent episode of Life In Six Strings, Joe Satriani once again remembered giving guitar lessons to Kirk Hammett. Saying that he was a motivated guitarist, Satriani added that he was a musician who knew what he wanted. That might have been one of the things that impressed Satriani about Kirk Hammett.

“Kirk Hammett was such a motivated young student,” he comments. “I mean, he could play pretty well before I first met him.

“He was already playing lead guitar in the band Exodus when he started taking lessons. And then during that time, he got the gig with Metallica, and he started taking two lessons a week.

“He was so motivated; he was such a good student. He knew exactly what he wanted and he was really hungry. So, it was great.”

Joe Satriani Recalls Playing A Great Show Alongside Metallica And Kirk Hammett

Joe then revealed Hammett was his last student in his guitar lessons. Admitting that it was exciting that he became a solo artist after his lessons with Kirk Hammett, Satriani mentioned a Metallica show he played with the band. According to him, that was a great show.

“He was actually my very last student; the very last lesson I gave in early January of ’88 was to Kirk, and then the next day I was off becoming a solo artist for the first time in my life,” he continued. “So it’s been very exciting for the both of us.”

“We actually did a show together in front of a hundred and twenty thousand people in Quebec City a number of years ago — Metallica was kind enough to let us open up right before them — and that was great.

“There’s something special when you get to hang out with somebody where you both know where you came from and you’re amazed at where you wound up. [Laughs] And it’s a good thing.”

Back this past March, Satriani had revealed how Kirk Hammett’s playing during their guitar lessons. Saying that Kirk had got vibrato like Tony Iommi, he also said it was crazy.

“I carried that on to when I moved to Berkeley, California,” Satriani recalls. “I start giving lessons there. And, again my luck as a teacher just shines bright because of Alex Skolnick, Larry LaLonde, Kirk Hammett, David Price, and Kevin Cadogan. It’s just crazy. The talented people that come in… Even a little Charlie Hunter – I don’t know, maybe he was eight years old or something like that. It was really amazing.

“And not only did they keep me on my toes, but made me excited about the prospect of where the guitar was going. Because I could hear guys that would come in and I’d think, ‘Wow, that person is going to be a great songwriter because of their approach to understanding harmony.’ Or ‘Wow, Kirk’s got vibrato like Tony Iommi, it’s crazy.’ You know, he’s got the sound. He’s a full-on guitar player.

“Kirk at the time was already in Exodus so he could really play. But he just needed that little lift to get to his final stage where he was no longer a beginner-intermediate, he was a full-on guitar player.”

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