Kirk Hammett had been playing ESP guitars for a lot longer than Hetfield. I guess ESP decided to put out two Metallica signature guitars together with very similar features on each. Even though Kirk had been playing ESP guitars this was his first signature model. Both are Flying V designs with bolt on necks. This is the Kirk model and it has more of a lead guitar oriented feel. The guitar has a mahogany V body with a neck through maple neck. The neck has a rosewood fretboard with 22 jumbo frets. The inlays are supposed to be devils but they look like dancing monkeys to me. It has a locking nut and an original floyd rose. The pickup is a single EMG 81 with a single volume control.
This guitar is as simple as it gets really. They sold some versions of this guitar with a bolt on neck which is pretty baffling. The neck through construction means you have no neck heel to get in the way and playing all the way at the 22th fret is very easy. The locking nut and floyd rose let you go crazy on the whammy without going out of tune. The single knob is as simple as it gets. The inlays are pretty funny. I think they look like monkeys and this is a bit distracting when you play.
With a guitar this simple there is not much to say about the sound of this guitar. All it has is the 81 in the bridge position. The 81 is a classic bridge pickup when it comes to metal. Its active preamp design gives it tons of output with relatively weak magnets. The sound comes raw and ready from this pickup. It has a great high end grind to the sound. It is not thin but has a lot of top end. It has enough body to fill out the sound but the top end is predominant. This top end means all your riffs will come out crystal clear. You will really hear every note you play. Harmonics pop out like crazy. If you are a decent player EMGS will make you sound like a great player. They seem to read your mind and everything you want to play comes out clearly. A neck pickup would have made this guitar much more versatile though.
I would recommend the neck through version of this guitar over the bolt on but overall I probably wouldnt recommend this guitar to anyone. If you want a guitar like this you can easily build one for a lot cheaper than what these guitars go for nowadays. In the early days Hammett played a Fernandes Gibson Copy which looked just like this so even he was making his own guitars. A flying V with a Custom pickguard is pretty much all you need and a competent luthier to install the tremolo. If you are some kind of crazy Metallica fanatic and you have to have every piece of gear associated with Metallica I guess this is a guitar for you but if you are just a player or working musician I would recommend something else.