MEGADETH's DAVE MUSTAINE On His Partnership With GIBSON: 'I've Never Been Treated Better By A Guitar Company'

September 26, 2023

In February 2021, it was announced that MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine had partnered with Gibson after spending nearly a decade and a half with Dean. Asked in a new interview with Greg Prato of Ultimate Guitar how his affiliation with Gibson came about, Mustaine said: "This is a wonderful situation. I had been a Gibson fan since I was just a young guy and I'd seen my first KISS record. Because it said on the bottom, 'KISS uses Gibson guitars and Pearl drums because they want the best.' And I thought, 'I want to use the best! How do I get one of these Gibson things?' So, I finally became a musician and got in a band, and started learning about these differences between guitars that people who don't want to be best play, and people who play Gibson because they want to be the best. So, I realized that Gibson was a lot more expensive than a homeless kid can afford — and I went my way about 'procuring' guitars in a very scandalous way. Meaning, using a window to pick up my guitar. But I did make amends to the guy that I had nicked that guitar from and went back and gave him a guitar to replace it — because I felt terrible about what I had done. And believe it or not, it was a Gibson copy of a Les Paul. So, I've always had an affinity for Gibsons."

He continued: "The one time when it looked like I was going to be able to endorse them, I went there and they had a different manager and things weren't really great at Gibson at the time. The A&R guy they had there was not really loving his job, I guess — that's the only thing I can think, because he was the interface between the public and the company, and he just kind of seemed like he didn't want to be there. They sent me a guitar and I swear I hit a chord and the bottom E string goes, 'Plinggg!', and I said, 'Yeah, I think I need to go somewhere else.' And I did. I was semi/sort of/kind of happy, and that contract came up, and I could not get Gibson out of my heart. I wanted so bad to be a Gibson endorser. So, the opportunity came up finally — they were looking for an ambassador. They had new management, the company had been bought by new people — same quality instruments but different mindset. I've never been treated better by a guitar company. Never. And there's been some really good companies, but no one compares to them. Their guitars are the best. Their quality control is mind-blowing. And I think my new guitars are the best-sounding guitars I've ever played."

In November 2019, Mustaine sold off much of his gear, including several Dean prototype signature models that he had used over the years. In January 2021, he confirmed that he was going separate ways with Dean after spending 13 years with the company.

Mustaine's Gibson announcement came two months after a employee for the American guitar maker accidentally leaked an image of a guitar that some devoted guitar aficionados speculated could be Mustaine's new signature model.

When Mustaine's deal with Dean was first announced back in January 2007, he said he chose Dean over other guitar companies "because they understand the value of Dave Mustaine and MEGADETH. And it's mutual," he explained. "I know that this is the right place for me to finish out my career, endorsing their products, and having my guitars made by Dean."

Ranked No. 1 by Joel McIver in "The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists" book, Mustaine godfathered fast-heavy-metal guitar generations, first as the original lead guitarist for METALLICA, and then as the founder of legendary MEGADETH.

In 1983, Mustaine founded MEGADETH, and the band released its first album two years later, established Dave and his bandmates as pioneers in the thrash metal movement. The band has since sold 38 million albums worldwide, including five consecutive platinum or multi-platinum albums in the U.S., while garnering 12 Grammy nominations. MEGADETH also landed a 2017 Grammy for "Best Metal Performance" for "Dystopia", the title track of the band's 2016 album.

Prior to MEGADETH, Mustaine was an early member of METALLICA. Before leaving the band in 1983, he had co-written a half dozen songs that would appear on METALLICA's first two albums.

In the video game arena, Mustaine composed the Grammy-nominated MEGADETH track "Sudden Death" for the 2010 release "Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock". The game also featured two other Mustaine-composed MEGADETH songs: 1990's "Holy Wars… The Punishment Due" and 2009's "This Day We Fight!"

MEGADETH's 16th studio album, "The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!", came out in September 2022.

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