James Hetfield’s Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar – Metalhead Community

During the past year in an interview James has revealed the whole truth about his first guitar and in particular of his precious and symbolic “Carl”.

James-Hetfield's-Garage-Days-Ken-Lawrence-Explorer-Guitar---Carl

James Hetfield, the founder member, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist of the most symbolic rock band of all time “Metallica” has taken a moment to talk about the instrument that has accompanied him from a very young age and for which he has been recognized on many occasions: a guitar.

In an interview, James has revealed everything about the best guitars and which ones have become his favorites and why, and he has also revealed “Carl’s” secret.

Boys Things: He changed his guitar to the microphone

From a very young age he had the musical spark within him and his desire to be a singer and guitarist materialized years later, however that young boy had asked his mother to buy him a cheap guitar he had seen for sale, it was like that as he got his first SG Gibson however in a short time he changed it for the microphone, since this dream was about being a guitarist.

Back to the guitar dream, James reveals who influenced his preferences

His dream was always to enjoy the company of a White Flying V, symbolic guitar of great famous bands like Judas Priest, The Scorpions, among others.

Once Metallica made it to a certain point in their careers, he was able to obtain his long-awaited White Flying V, which would accompany him to various presentations, definitely the greatest Rock bands have a White Flying V as one of their members, and in this James would not have been wrong.

A closer look to the body wood

James-Hetfield's-Garage-Days-Ken-Lawrence-Explorer-Guitar---Carl-close-look

James’s favorite form

Once becoming an icon of Metal, the vocalist and guitarist of Metallica surely had many options in his closet. Some much more comfortable to play than others. One of James’s favorites is the “Explorer”, which seemed to be in his moment something very “futuristic”. He used a white Gibson Explorer for a long time while touring for Metallica’s debut; Kill’Em All. Sometime later, Esp company developed an Explorer model with particular specifications for James Hetfield which fit his body, gave him mobility, style, and become one of the most iconic guitar models in metal history.

No doubt many guitars have passed through the creative and expert hands of James, but one of his latest acquisitions is completely subject to the past and in the brightest ways.

James Hetfield’s Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar | Metalhead Community | Heavy Metal Blog | Metal Music Magazine

James is showing the guitar on his interview

James-Hetfield's-Garage-Days-Ken-Lawrence-Explorer-Guitar---James Holding the Guitar

Garage creator of successes

The mighty Metallica has an amazing history, but in this case, it is not about excesses, luxuries, and eccentricities, but something of more value and symbolism. James has told how Carlson Boulevard 3132 relates, a shocking tragic moment and a song.

For many fans the reference 3132 Carlson Boulevard is an address that has great significance for the band, and this is the space that managed to harvest two extremely important albums for the band: Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, and in addition to this it represents the time when Cliff Burton strolled in his characteristic flared pants, filling the room with innovative ideas and creative harmonies of his magical electric bass guitar.

3132 Carlson Boulevard in El Cerrito, California. This is the address of the rustic-style garage where a group of young people, created a couple of masterpieces that a little later would have a much deeper value before, as would carry forever the essence of a light that went out very soon, that of Cliff Burton, bassist of the band during these two albums so representative of the band.

In this garage, they managed to compose each of the songs of these two albums. During the whole creative process, they were carried away by the magical connection that existed between them while they played and the result was completely wonderful. So much so that the songs will always remain valid and some have become rock hymns.

James Hetfield’s Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar | Metalhead Community | Heavy Metal Blog | Metal Music Magazine

Woods they used from the garage

James Hetfield's Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar - Woods

The garage in music notes

After a long time, the band, who managed to continue despite the loss of their bassist Cliff Burton, decided to return to their roots and visit that old garage. They already knew that it was demolished, yet they decided to continue with the idea of returning. When they arrived, they held a memorial meeting and an old friend of James; Andy Anderson who preserved some wood from the garage which immediately gave James, one of the most innovative artists in the world, a brilliant idea.

Ken Lawrence did something unforgettable

James Hetfield kept the wood and contacted his trusted luthier Ken Lawrence so that he could build a brand new explorer guitar using the wood from that Garage while retaining its essence.

A picture of the guitar from Ken Lawrence’s custom shop

James Hetfield's Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar - Ken Lawrence Building the Guitar

This is how “Carl” was born the rustic-looking guitar of James, which represents more than an instrument for the band, contains its roots and unforgettable moments

The wood was worked to preserve its shape, so the garage is present in this aspect as you can also see on the artwork, designed by Petar Milivojevic. The first three figures, Kirk, Lars and James himself, followed by a Cliff in the form of Orion (song of the album Master of Puppets) in which Cliff had very active participation. Among them, there is a bridge that represents the union of the quartet in the bay of San Francisco. In the following group of figures are again the three, under the gaze of Cliff and finally the Garage with a couple of tickets.

At the end of this explanation James surprises even more, you can see the figures numerically represented by 3 1 3 2, which coincides with 3132 Carlson Boulevard, where they cultivated the short but significant career of their bassist Cliff Burton who would die in a traffic accident after a driver lost control of the bus where the band was going and it fell on Cliff’s body who seconds before would have been expelled from the vehicle. The tragedy marked the band significantly, especially James, who would have become the best friend of the young man who did not reach more than 24 years of life.

The artwork was designed by Petar Milivojevic for James Hetfield

James Hetfield's Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar - Petar Milivojevic Artwork

Metallica is surely one of the most successful bands in the history of music. And one of the things that made them this far was their innovative thinking. James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich have always been into doing something that was never done before, which you can see when you look back at their careers. The story of Carl is a part of this, part of James, part of Metallica, but more importantly, part of an incredible story of their lives. Thanks for reading!

The artwork was designed by Petar Milivojevic for James Hetfield

James Hetfield's Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar - Inlay Artwork

And the inlay artwork, also designed by Petar Milivojevic for James Hetfield

James Hetfield's Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar - Inlays

Four coins for the backplate, hand engraving by Shaun Hughes

James Hetfield's Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar - Coins

The backplate view, hand engraving by Shaun Hughes

James Hetfield's Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar - Backplate

Watch the interview where James Hetfield talks about the guitar

Comment below your thoughts!

James Hetfield’s Garage Days Ken Lawrence Explorer Guitar | Metalhead Community | Heavy Metal Blog | Metal Music Magazine | Heavy Metal Music Magazine | Music Submission | Submit Your Music For Consideration | The Best Metal Blogs Online | Top Music Blogs Online | Baby Metal Review | Greatest Heavy Metal Webzine | Metal Blog | Mainstream Music Breakdown | Underground Metal Scene | Mainstream Metal Bands | Metallica | James Hetfield | Kirk Hammett | Ken Lawrence Guitars | Esp Explorer James Hetfield Custom | MX250 | MX220 Eet Fuk | Esp Guitars | James Hetfield Guitars Equipment | Garage Days | Cliff Burton | Jason Newsted | Lars Ulrich | Metallica Equipment | Garage Inc | Custom Guitars