These metal guitar heroes helped shape the modern rock and metal sound with their guitar riffs, instrumental style, and musical prowess that continue to inspire musicians around the world. See who made the list for our ‘Top Metal Heroes’ of String Theory.

Mick Mars

Mick Mars, the co-founder of Mötley Crüe has been instrumental in the guitar scene since the 1980s with his blues inspired but melodic heavy rock riffs. Mick kicks things off in this video by giving us a taste of Mötley Crüe‘s unmistakable 1987 hit, “Girls Girls Girls” from :06 to :20. At some point it literally comes down to sitting in a room with a guitar… if you want to get on stage, then do. If you want to practice, sometimes it’s going to be hard. Music is about a feeling and it’s about having fun.

Mick Mars plays Paradigm Power Slinky electric guitar strings.

Kirk Hammett

Kirk Hammett doesn’t need too much of an introduction. As a staple in the metal guitar scene since joining Metallica in 1983, Kirk has been plastered all over guitar magazines and guitar player’s walls. His knack for furious soloing, signature wah pedal usage, and double picking, blends perfectly with his melodic appreciation for blues, creating his own signature Hammett sound. Check out Kirk showcasing Metallica‘s 1991 platinum certified song, “Enter Sandman” at 12:10. This intro has been replicated millions of times by inspired guitarists all over the world both as beginners and experts alike. 

Kirk Hammett plays Paradigm Regular Slinky electric guitar strings.

Daron Malakian

The modern metal and rock scene received a breath of fresh air in the late 1990s thanks to System Of A Down and the dynamic playing of Daron Malakian. Daron developed a very distinct style to his playing courtesy of his education and inspiration from the thrash and metal scene with bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Pantera, and songwriting styles of The Beatles, The Kinks and The Who. Combine that with Daron’s musical inspiration from his Armenian upbringing, and it’s no wonder Malakian has been ranked 30th in Guitar World’s list of The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time. Check out Daron playing System Of A Down‘s 2002 single, “Toxicity,” at 3:01 where you get a taste of not only their knack for heavy riffs, but dynamics in both sound and time signature, as this song alternates between 6/4, 12/8, and 4/4 time signatures. 

Daron Malakian plays Skinny Top Heavy Bottom electric guitar strings.

John Petrucci

Every time John Petrucci picks up a guitar, you receive a lesson in technical skill, music theory, songwriting, and improvisation all at once. The Berklee College of Music educated shred master has proven himself an expert composer, improvisor, rhythm and lead player both as lead guitarist in Dream Theater and with his own projects. Not only has John inspired kids and adults around the world to pick up a guitar, but he’s also inspired guitarists to move beyond the bar chord and attempt to master their craft. John’s deep appreciation for music theory and guitar work also allows him to be an inspirational improvisor which he has proven in the clip below, making up an original piece for the intro to his String Theory video.

John Petrucci plays RPS Regular Slinky electric guitar strings.

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