Metallica's live covers of Thin Lizzy's Borderline and UFO's It's Killing Me are a great advert for the Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster

(Image credit: Metallica / YouTube)

If you're still on the fence when it comes to the appeal of Fender's Acoustasonic guitars, we think the stage is the place to be convinced. The hybrid acoustic / electric guitar design could be a genuine solution for players who need to move between earthy dreadnought tones and electric lead breaks, not just within a set but individual songs. Take Metallica's Kirk Hammett, for example…

The band's Helping Hands charity performance in Los Angles on 16 December saw them debut two new cover versions with semi-acoustic performances. Their takes on Thin Lizzy's Borderline and UFO's It's Killing Me don't just allow James Hetfield and co to shine by showcasing a softer side to their sound, but Kirk Hammett got to show off his new custom Acoustasonic Jazzmaster.

And it sounded great. 

While recently released pro-shot footage by the band saw Hetfield and guest musician Avi Vincour play dreadnought acoustic guitars with soundhole pickups, Hammett switched to his Acoustasonic's Shawbucker magnetic pickup for the leads in both songs, then back to one of the acoustic voices for the strumming parts. 

It's an effective showcase of how seamlessly the Acoustasonic Jazzmaster can cover tonal territory in a live scenario – and how cool his purple custom model looks with its ouija board inlays. The guitar's electric playability also allows him to play Brian Robertson's solo without compromises. And no wah pedal in sight.

The band's take on UFO's It's Killing Me (a request by Lars Ulrich) is equally effective. Here Vincour plays a hybrid guitar too in the shape of Godin's A 12 for twin guitar harmony duties but it's Hammett providing the electric singing sustain. 

In related news, Fender recently released a Player series model of its Acoustastonic Jazzmaster that we'll be reviewing shortly. In the meantime check out our review of the American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.