Metallica guitar picks

Metallica Picks: A Guide To Their Guitar Picks and Plectrums

Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by Justin

Metallica guitar picks are here and they are badass! If you’re a Metallica fanatic and have yet to catch one of their plectrums at a concert, this is the next best thing.

What are these Metallica Guitar Picks?

These guitar picks are made by Jim Dunlop, who is one of the biggest names in the guitar pick industry, if not the biggest. In this case, Dunlop offers you the same shapes we all know and love but there’s one awesome difference.

The Metallica picks have seriously cool artwork and are designed to match the exact picks the band uses on tour.

Metallica’s range has options with regard to the different artwork and shapes available. The same applies to the different materials used however they still stick to the exact ones the band uses.

There are also other guitar pick brands out there that have the right to create official Metallica guitar picks.

However, these picks do not claim to be the official ones and so if you are on the lookout for genuine Metallica picks we suggest making sure they are made by Jim Dunlop.

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Are These The Real Thing?

If you are looking to sound like Metallica then these are cool because you can be assured they’re the same as the ones James and Kirk use.

This means you’ll be one step closer to achieving the same tone. Guitar picks are important to the overall sound and tone and that is why the Metallica guys use the best. These are also great because the artwork on the plectrums matches the exact guitar picks Metallica use.

As one can see in the image below, those are the Metallica guitar picks my brother and I caught at a Metallica concert in South Africa back in 2012.

The shapes in the range we can confirm, are identical to James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett’s guitar picks. The range includes:

  1. James Hetfield’s custom Dunlop .88 mm regular shape
  2. Kirk Hammet’s custom Jazz III

As you can see, there is a triangle-shaped pick in the image below. I’m not sure if any of the members ever used those but perhaps Rob Trujillo uses a pick occasionally. Although he is known for playing with his fingers.

1) James Hetfield Black Fang Picks

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Coming up first we have the first-ever signature guitar pick that James Hetfield had. These are called “Black Fang”. Firstly, the obvious, they are black in color. Secondly, the “fang” refers to the pointer edge the plectrum has.

James Hetfield prefers the pointer tip because it lends itself to his heavy, chunky fast rhythm-playing style. Furthermore, this pick is made from Ultex which further lends itself to his playing style by producing a tone that cuts through the sound.

The Ultex guitar pick material has become exceptionally popular over the last few years and the material is now offered by Jim Dunlop in many different shapes and forms.

James is known for being one of the greatest riff writers of all time and thus, was on the search for a guitar pick that was durable enough but also gave great attack and a “sharp” tone to cut through the mix.

You also have the choice of three different gauges when it comes to buying these signature picks. These include 0.73mm, 0.94mm (Hetfield’s custom gauge unable to find in any other Dunlop range), and 1.14mm

2) Kirk Hammett’s Jazz III Green and Purple

Kirk Hammett Jazz III green
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Second up we have Kirk Hammet’s latest signature guitar picks. Also made by Jim Dunlop. This is his custom Jazz III nylon plectrum which sports a V shape cut out that not only looks cool but has a function too. The one pictured above is his green version. But he also has a sparkly purple version which looks amazing!

That function is the V cut-out, which gives the player more grip on the guitar pick. Kirk used to use the regular jazz III shape and cut out his own V for extra grip.

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So Dunlop just incorporated this into his custom pick. A little trick, the V cut is the perfect pick slide for epic noise in between riffs and the signature Kirk sliding side.

Read more about the Jazz III shape in my list of best guitar picks here.

Check out the video below. It’s from NAMM where the guys at Dunlop talk about Kirk’s custom pick and the Metallica range among others. We recommend you start watching from 2:09.

3) Hetfield’s White Fang Picks

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The White Fang guitar picks are Hetfield’s latest signature picks. They are quite different from his previous signature pick, the “black Fang”.

Firstly, the shape is totally different. His previous picks were more of a regular-shaped pick, but with a sharper tip. The White fang is the Dunlop “Flow” shape. Which, is a relatively new shape to their lineup of picks.

The tip is still just as sharp which would make sense. Because, as I mentioned above, the sharper tip suits his playing style which is fast and heavy.

Secondly, and for me, the stand-out feature on this pick is definitely the stubbed grip it has. This is another feature that would suit his playing style. Because he plays so hard, fast and heavy, he requires a pick that stays in place. The grip helps tremendously with helping just that.

James has stuck with the Ultex material same as his first Black Fang signature picks. Ultex is a great material that I highly recommend. Check out my review of the Ultex Jazz III picks to get a better idea about how it sounds, feels, and plays.

The White Fangs come in three gauge options which are 0.73mm, 1.0mm, and 1.14mm.

4) The James Hetfield Guitar Pick Tin

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Next up we have the old Dunlop Tortex picks that Hetfield used to use for many years before he switched over to the black fangs and then ultimately the White Fangs.

I believe these are regular Tortex picks and James used the 0.88mm gauge which is the regular green Tortex. Hetfield and Kirk both used to use Tortex material picks. However, James Hetfield switched over to Ultex and Kirk switched to Nylon. I have an article that discusses the differences between Ultex picks and Tortex picks.

This artwork was inspired by Hetfield taking into account some of his favorite things.

The tin has two captions. The first caption reads, “Pick Stash” and the second caption reads, “James PapaHet Hetfield”. Both of these captions were handwritten by him.

Another cool feature of this official Metallica plectrum tin is that James Hetfield drew one of his famous ESP explorer guitars with a third caption that reads, “So What”. If you don’t already know, “So What” is a single off their Garage Days record.

Kirk Hammett Guitar Pick Tin

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Lastly, we have the old picks that Kirk used before he switched over to his signature Jazz III picks. They’re actually exactly the same Tortex picks that James Used to use (see pic above).

This is Kirk Hammett’s official Monster Pick pack featuring five 0.88mm guitar picks made by Jim Dunlop once again. These were the exact gauge Kirk used to play as he has now moved on to the Jazz III pick, also by Dunlop.

Kirk Hammett is a big fan of old-school horror films and even runs conventions around this hobby. The artwork on these guitar picks reflects just that, his love for old horror movies. Hence the name, “The Monster Tin”. The monster in is awesome and makes for a great place to store your guitar picks