Hey everyone! I'm amidst heavy rehearsals for a Metallica tribute gig, so I figured I'd share some insight as to how one would go about achieving Metallica's tone through one's rig, and through one's fingers. I'll focus on rhythm playing for this first tutorial, with possibilities of doing an "In The Style Of Kirk Hammett" tutorial in the near future!
So to start, let's examine how a Metallica-esque tone is achieved. I'm going for more of a Master Of Puppets-era sound, but most albums share general tonal qualities.
So to start, you'll notice our amp settings are rather "flat". Nothing too extraordinarily out of place. If you have a piece of equipment that allows for an effects chain, it'll allow us to alter the mid-range of our tone rather drastically, without destroying the qualities of our initial tone. If you're simply running an amplifier, try experimenting with cutting the mid-range - but not too much - we still need to be present in the mix!
In the first paragraphic EQ, I cut the mid-range almost entirely, from 200K, to 2000K. This will give us the "scooped" thrash metal tone we're looking for.
In the second paragraphic EQ, I added a hi-pass (cut the lows from about 200K), and also added back some mid frequencies for a little "cut".
It's fairly simple - start with a heavy tone that sounds good to you, and alter mid frequencies until that throaty early thrash metal quality is present - then the real metal begins! So let's dive into some cool riffs.