Dave Mustaine Explains Why He Thinks Gibson is Superior to Jackson

Megadeth’s frontman Dave Mustaine switching over to Gibson guitars was a pretty huge thing in the world of metal. And, in an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Mustaine pointed out how he’s always been pretty fascinated with Gibsons, one way or the other.

For many years, Mustaine has used the more “usual” metal guitar brands. This includes Dean and Jackson, as well as a few others. Of course, occasional Gibsons appeared in his arsenal as well, but it was only a couple of years ago that he finally became a Gibson artist. Asked about how this came to be, Mustaine replied:

“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.'”

Icons: Dave Mustaine of Megadeth

“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 start 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.”

Unfortunately for Dave, Gibsons were above his budget back in the day. And he admitted that he had some questionable ways of obtaining guitars:

“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.”

As Dave also added, he tried to get things going with the legendary guitar company in the past. However, as we already know, things weren’t all that great in Gibson for some time:

“And 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.”

Gibson Welcomes Dave Mustaine of Megadeth

“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.”

Despite the somewhat negative experience, Dave eventually ended up getting something done with Gibson:

“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.”

Dave added that he’s “never been treated better by a guitar company” and that no one can really compare to Gibson. In particular, he said that “their quality control is mind-blowing” and that they make “best-sounding guitars.”

Of course, Dave was known for his use of Jackson guitars and was one of the brand’s most famous artists. And although he admits he loved his Jackson guitars, there’s just something special with his current choice:

“I loved my Jacksons, but I also knew that there was something that Gibson had that Jackson didn’t. There is just kind of a swagger that I have now going out there with my real Flying V – not my copy of a Gibson Flying V. Not my impression of a Gibson Flying V. But a real, bona fide, motherfucking Dave Mustaine signature Flying V. I like that idea.”

Dave Mustaine on His Relationship with Gibson Guitars

Gibson now has Dave Mustaine signature V models and they’ve even created Epiphone and Kramer alternatives, both being Gibson’s cost-friendly subsidiary brands. In an interview from earlier this year, Dave mentioned how Kramer versions are almost the same as the Gibson ones, despite being significantly cheaper. He offered:

“Like I said, they all feel the same. So they’re all using my guitar pickups too, the [Seymour Duncan] Dave Mustaine Thrash Factors are the LiveWires, depending on how you want your guitar configured, if you want an active or passive guitar pickup. And with Gibson, we started off with passives. And it was just a love affair from the very beginning.”

“And then going through the other lines with Epiphone and Kramer, it wasn’t really that difficult to make these lines that, all of a sudden, have serious metal credibility.”

KRAMER Dave Mustaine Vanguard (Better than EPIPHONE?)

Photo: Tilly Antoine (Dave Mustaine au Hellfest 2022)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.