James Hetfield builds guitar from garage where Metallica wrote ‘Ride the Lightning’ & ‘Master of Puppets’. tt

Metallica’s James Hetfield has unveiled the story behind a very special new guitar he has dubbed Carl.


Author: Scott ColothanPublished 10th Apr 2018

The instrument is named after 3132 Carlson Boulevard in El Cerrito, California, where Metallica were based during their breakthrough years from 1983 to 1986.

Having relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area from Los Angeles, Metallica penned their seminal 1984 and 1986 albums ‘Ride the Lightning’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ in the Carlson garage.

Some years back, James formulated the grand idea to relocate the garage into Metallica’s vast rehearsal space, as he explains: “(I thought) you know what would be cool – really f****ing rock star-like? Let’s take the garage from Carlson and put it in this room. Let’s get the garage and take it apart and put it back together in here.”

However, these plans never came into fruition and the garage was later demolished by the home’s owners.

Fortunately, James’s friend Andy Anderson of the Bay Area thrash group Attitude Adjustment kept eight pieces of wood from the heavy metal landmark and gifted them to him.

METALLICA's James Hetfield Talks About His Guitar Made From Band's Old Garage

Papa Het then enlisted the services of master custom guitar maker Ken Lawrence to craft him an instrument he has now affectionately called Carl.

“I knew Ken could work with that wood,” James explains. “I was worried about him making it too clean, and that he did not do. There’s no splinters, but you feel the wood, you feel the grain. It’s almost like grooves in vinyl.”

Carl has featured on Metallica’s WorldWired World Tour and is used for performances of ‘Hardwired… to Self-Destruct’ track ‘Moth Into Flame.’

You can watch the eight-minute documentary about Carl right here:

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