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2012 Gibson Kirk Hammett Flying V

Kirk didn't own this one, for sure. But, using digital technology to scan his original 1974/75 Flying V, the Gibson Custom Shop has created such a perfect clone - every ding and dent, the aged gaffer tape applied to the body back and sides - that it warrants an appearance in the As Played By list. For the forensically-minded, he held & signed each of the 50 guitars at the signing ceremony in April 2012. So his DNA's going to be on at least the headstock. As close as anybody is going to come to playing the guitar that powered its way through the first four or five Metallica albums and accompanying tours. That is, if you're up to the challenge of shredding your way through Master Of Puppets. Welcome Home.

See & Hear It In Action

Kirk Talks About the Signature Model - and reveals a little bit about his move from Strat to Flying V.

Kirk started out as a Stratocaster devotee. Looking for a more heavy metal sound, and following in the footsteps of Flying V ambassador Michael Schenker, he bought his first Flying V in 1979.

​And then played it in the studio and live on Metallica's first five albums: Kill ’Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets …And Justice For All, and The Black Album.

Not surprisingly, "it's a little fragile now". Kirk put his through a lot - endless months touring on the road, thrown at amplifiers, thrown to guitar tech, but not always caught. As he says: "Surprisingly, I never snapped the neck".

The attention the Gibson Custom Shop gave to reproducing that battle-scarred axe is all the more staggering. It's not just things like the EMG pick-ups, nor the Stars Guitars style Tune-O-Matic bridge that Gibson went off-rulebook to replicate. It's the original screw-holes for the replaced tuners, it's every crack, dent and ding, and it's even the aged and frayed gaffer tape that Kirk used to protect the back and sides of the guitar from any (further) damage.

I never got to put this one to the shred test - well beyond my skills. But as an example of a high-performance Flying V, this delivers everything you'd want, from clean melodic tones to full-on metal. A true monster of rock!





Custom Shop Kirk Hammett Flying V


Aged Ebony








Maple & Mahogany




Gibson Schaller M6


EMG 81 & EMG H


Modified Tune-O-Matic Stars Guitars Style


Gibson Stop Bar

Scale Length


Full Length


Sources & Links

Gibson Custom Shop Overview & Spec: No longer available on the Gibson site, but thankfully preserved by Guitars Collector. Read all about the process, materials and components used to recreate this iconic guitar.

If you need any more information about this one, I've a lot more specification and set-up data to hand.  Just drop me a line here

Happy to help!

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