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ERNIE BALL, the iconic maker of SLINKY guitar strings and instrument accessories, has announced the launch of the “Hetfield + Hammett Experience,” a partnership with longtime Ernie Ball artists and legendary guitarists JAMES HETFIELD and KIRK HAMMETT that will grant three lucky winners the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hang with the guitarists at METALLICA Headquarters in San Francisco, CA. See Hetfield and Hammett talking about “The Experience,” below.

 Winners will also take home their choice of a Hetfield or Hammett Signature ESP Guitar as well as an Ernie Ball Prize Pack complete with their favorite gauge of SLINKY guitar strings and other prizes. The contest launches today, September 7, and runs through October 31.

 “I have to say that HQ is kinda like NASA,” says Kirk Hammett. “You need the right credentials to get in, you need to know the right codes to get through the door. There are constantly people around making sure that whoever is there is there for a purpose. It’s pretty tight because it’s like the brain control…the mission control for all things Metallica.”

 This is a pretty cool opportunity to get into Metallica’s creative space and see what it is, why it is, and what is in there that inspires us, said James Hetfield. “For me, as a fan of other bands, it would’ve been pretty awesome to have shown up in Phil Lynott’s writing space. This is gonna be a very special moment for whoever gets to show up at HQ.”

 “To have artists like Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield trust our strings for over 35 years is something the Ernie Ball family is incredibly thankful and proud of,” says Ernie Ball President Brian Ball. “It also means our strings have been along for the epic ride of ‘Seek & Destroy,’ ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls,’ ‘Sad But True’ and many of the band’s biggest hits. We’re excited about this contest and looking forward to connecting the band and a few lucky fans in a special way.”

 Fans can enter Ernie Ball’s “Hetfield + Hammett Experience” by purchasing qualifying packs of Ernie Ball Strings at Guitar Center or from Musician’s Friend, then entering the codes found inside the packs at for a chance to win.


Metallica formed in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield and has become one of the most influential and commercially successful rock bands in history, having sold 110 million albums worldwide while playing to millions of fans on literally all seven continents. They have scored several multi-platinum albums, including 1991’s Metallica (commonly referred to as The Black Album), with sales of nearly 17 million copies in the United States alone, making it the best-selling album in the history of Soundscan. Metallica has also garnered numerous awards and accolades, including nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, and multiple MTV Video Music Awards, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.  In December 2013, Metallica made history when they performed a rare concert in Antarctica, becoming the first act to ever play all seven continents all within a year, and earning themselves a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Metallica’s latest album Hardwired…To Self Destruct was released on November 18, 2016 on Metallica’s own Blackened Recordings record label and debuted at No. 1 around the world, selling over 800,000 copies worldwide in its first week.

In 1962, Ernie Ball revolutionized rock music with the introduction of Slinkys®, the iconic light-gauge electric guitar strings widely revered by some of the most important artists in rock history, including  Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Jeff Beck, Slash and of course, Metallica, to name but a few. Ernie Ball strings have been used to write, record and perform some of the most important music in rock history. With its founder’s dedication to preserving the musician’s playing experience and delivering superior sound quality through the development of new products, the company continued its pursuit of innovation.” Fifty-five years after giving us Slinkys, Ernie Ball is changing the landscape once again by creating PARADIGM, the world’s strongest, most durable and technologically advanced guitar strings. Kirk Hammett was one of many rock guitarists who accepted Ernie Ball’s challenge to try and snap the break-resistant strings – you can watch the results in this Billboard piece. Unlike their competitors, who are all corporate-owned, the Southern California-based company remains a family-run business. They employ a “techie artisan” approach that combines cutting-edge technology with handcrafted techniques and as pointed out by Adweek and Inc., they’ve become a high-quality content creator securing brand loyalty on the level of a major media organization. As Blink 182/Angels & Airwaves’ Tom DeLonge recently said at the premiere of his “Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone” television special, “Who would’ve thought that a company that makes guitar strings would be so influential? It’s crazy.” As covered by the Huffington Post, the company recently announced a new line of guitars, which they designed with Grammy winner St. Vincent.

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