Jeff Hanneman (Guitar)

Birth Name: Jeffrey John Hanneman
Born: January 31st 1964
Place of Birth: Oakland, CA, USA
Died: May 2nd 2013 (age 49)
Residence: Riverside, CA, USA
Instrument: Guitar
Slayer member: 1981 - 2011

Jeff was born January 31, 1964 in Oakland, California and grew up in Long Beach, California, in a family containing several war veterans: his father fought in Normandy during World War II and his brothers in Vietnam; so warfare was a common conversation topic at the dinner table. War films were popular on TV at the time, and Jeff often joined his brothers in constructing and coloring tank and plane models. His interest in warfare and military history is attributed to his upbringing. In a 2009 interview with Decibel Magazine, he states his father is German, but fought for the ally side of World War Two. In the same interview, he also goes into detail of what district of Germany his father and grandparents hail from. His grandfather was fluent in German.

Jeff approached Kerry King in 1981, when King was auditioning for a band. After the try-out session, the two guitarists started talking and playing Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs. Slayer was born when Jeff asked "Why don't we start our own band?", to which King replied "...Fuck yeah!". In 1984, Jeff, Dave Lombardo and Suicidal Tendencies's guitarist Rocky George had a brief punk side project called "Pap Smear" - the band was due to start recording when Jeff was advised to avoid the side project by Slayer's producer, Rick Rubin, who is quoted as saying "Ahhhh, don't do it, man - this is the kind of thing that breaks bands up!" Jeff took Rubin's advice, and later used two of the songs on Slayer's 1996 album Undisputed Attitude.

In 1997 Jeff married Kathryn, whom he had met in the early 1980s. The couple have no children and live in Los Angeles, forty minutes away from King. Kathryn stays at home when Slayer tours; Jeff claims to prefer this, saying that when he comes home, she is "all brand new again". Kathryn has toured with the band twice in twenty years.

In early 2011, Jeff contracted necrotizing fasciitis. According to the band, doctors say that it likely originated from a spider bite. In the light of this situation and Slayer's upcoming participation in the Australian Soundwave Festival tour that was set to kick off on February 26, the band made the tough decision to play the dates without Jeff, and on February 16, 2011 brought on Gary Holt (guitarist of the band Exodus) to fill in for him until he has fully recuperated and is ready to return to the lineup. Pat O'Brien will act as Slayer's second guitarist when Holt leaves the tour to play with Exodus at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile on April 10, 2011. On April 1, 2011 metalunderground posted an April Fools' Day joke that Jeff Jeff would be leaving Slayer permanently, citing health concerns and set backs in his recovery.

Jeff Hanneman died on May 2nd 2013 following a liver failure. Jeff passed away at Hemet Valley Medical Center, near his home in Southern California's Inland Empire area.

When touring, Jeff carries six guitars due to the different tunings required. Early albums such as Haunting the Chapel up to Divine Intervention have E-flat tuning, while later albums such as Diabolus in Musica to Christ Illusion feature alternate tunings, the first album Show No Mercy was recorded in standard tuning, while live performances of the respective songs are being played in E-flat since about 1984. Extra guitars are also brought in case a string snaps or a guitar sustains damage.


ESP Jeff Hanneman Signature model
Jackson Custom Shop Soloist with 2 EMG Pickups
EMG 81/85 Pick-ups with EMG SPC Mid-Boost circuit
Kahler bridges
D'Addario .009-.042 Strings


Shure Wireless System
Dunlop Crybaby From Hell Wah-Wah Pedal
Eventide H3000S Harmonizer
MXR Super Comp
MXR Smart Gate
MXR 10 band EQ
Monster cable


Marshall JCM-800 amplifiers
Marshall ModeFour Speaker Cabinets (Either 280 or 400 Watt Models)