Of thrash's Big Four, which has the best guitarist?

Is it:





Or none of the above?

Me (and IANAGP), I’d go with Megadeth; specifically, Dave Mustaine.


Hetfield is the Keith Richards of thrash - amazing, memorable riffs and songs, but not the lead player. He probably gets my vote because that is what I value over shreddiness or other technique things, with Mustaine very close behind for the same reasons.

I have never understood the appeal of Hammett - I just don’t like his playing. Marty Friedman, one of the lead players for Megadeth (he’s on Rust in Peace, right?) is a brilliant, fluid, shred-tastic lead player…I just place more value on folks like Hetfield, Mustaine and Keith Richards…

Anthrax’s players have not stood out to me, nor have Slayers’, but that may be due to my comparatively limited exposure…

Voted Slayer, but that’s mostly because they’re my favourite of the four. As for who’s technically best, no real idea…

From a technical standpoint, Megadeth hands down.

I’ve also never liked Hammett.

I always liked Anthrax but they had more of a punk influence than pure metal in that they were not all about the fretboard wizardry.

Been a huge Slayer fan for forever but the solos often feel obligatory and frequently have little to do with the song, just a lot of squealing and “look we can trade off really fast runs for a few minutes.”

Went Metallica, because their songs are usually more complex than Megadeth’s. It’s really a question between those two though; neither Slayer nor Anthrax ever really grabbed me with their guitar work.

This is kind of hard. For pure riffs it has to be Metallica IMHO.

However, Hammett went to shit somewhere along the way. Well, actually it appears he went to shit after Master.

Marty is shredtastic but for some reason I’ve never been a huge fan of his. Not to take away from his playing, he is a badass, but it just doesn’t work for me.

I’ve never been a big Slayer fan, too much grunting.

I love Anthrax but they are more a song band than a shred band IMHO.

Therefore I have to go with Metallica.


My vote for best thrash guitarist would have to to to Jeff Waters of Annihilator, Gary Holt of Exodus, or Andy Sneap from before he was producing all the above with Sabbat.

Out of that bunch mentioned though, I’d say Hetfield purely based on his riffs.

I voted other because of Dimebag Darrell. Guy had monster chops on both riffing and soloing. I think he’s the best. Although Marty Friedman is a very close second.

My ‘other’ vote is Dimebag as well.

I feel like we had this same thread recently, and were all ragging on Hammett.

This is a close call between Hetfield and Mustaine for me. Like Wordman, I value riffmeisters above all else, and they are two of the best. I voted Mustaine becaus i think he’s technically a little better than James, and I think his noodling style keeps his songs interesting longer than a lot of what Metallica does. He doesn’t have as many of the monolithic, classic individual riffs or iconic songs that James has, but I think a lot of his records stand up to repeated playing and deep listening for longer.

I’ve found that that I appreciate Dave Mustatine’s songs more when I learn to play them. He writes riffs that are fun to play. Challenging, but not frustrating or impossible, and just really cool.

Pantera was not one of the “Big Four.” Nor did they play thrash.

Actually, if you look at their recorded work, Metallica hasn’t really been playing thrash since Kill 'Em All.

They are the evolutionary bridge from thrash into groove, and I say that makes 'em count.