Epiphone and Kramer Officially Release Dave Mustaine Models, Here’s How They Compare to Gibsons

There’s been a lot of commotion among lovers of all things guitar online after Megadeth mastermind Dave Mustaine finally decided to fly over to the Gibson camp. Although the brand wasn’t that often associated with metal, they seem to be bringing in more and more metal musicians on their side. After Mustaine and Gibson announced that they’re teaming up in 2021, we’ve got the thrash metal legend’s full collection of guitars, featuring Flying V guitars, as well as one acoustic guitar.

And now, finally, Gibson subsidiaries Epiphone and Kramer have officially released their versions of Mutaine’s Flying V models. This comes a few weeks after the new Gibson CEO Cesar Gueikian revealed that they’ll be coming, alongside the Epiphone version of the Greeny Les Paul and a few other goodies. Nonetheless, Dave’s more affordable Epiphone and Kramer models were announced back in 2021, around the time when the two sides announced this major collaboration.

The newly released models come with much more modest price tags compared to Gibsons. Dave’s Gibson models currently come in a few variants. His Gibson Custom Shop Flying V is $6,999 while Dave’s regular Gibson models are $2,799 and $2,999.

Icons: Dave Mustaine of Megadeth

Meanwhile, these newly released Epiphone and Kramer models are much cheaper, ranging from $1,299 to $1,499. There’s a total of four models, two for each brand.

Epiphone Dave Mustaine Models

The two Epiphones are:

  • Dave Mustaine Flying V Prophecy, $1,499
  • Dave Mustaine Flying V Custom $1,399

The Prophecy model comes with the usual stopbar tailpiece, 24 frets, body binding, Graph Tech nut, and the well-known scale length of 24.74 inches. There’s the same control layout as we have with the Gibson models, featuring two volume knobs and one tone control, as well as the usual 3-way switch. There’s the push-pull functionality for more tone-shaping options.  

What’s worth noting is that these come with Fishman Fluence pickups that combine the usual PAF-style tone and some additional custom voicings. These options are accessed via push-pull volume and tone knobs.

Meanwhile, the Flying V Custom is a more “conventional” one in terms of features. Apart from a pair of Dave Mustaine Signature Seymour Duncan Thrash Factor humbuckers, you’ll find the same control layout but without the push-pull functionality. Another noticeable difference is that it has a string-through body design instead of the stopbar tailpiece.

Other than that, the Custom variant has the usual expected traits as the previous model, including the set-in glued neck and body design, scale length, and fret count.

Kramer Dave Mustaine Models

Kramer models are:

  • Dave Mustaine Vanguard Rust in Peace, $1,299
  • Dave Mustaine Vanguard, $1,299

Apart from a slightly more modest price tag, the Kramer models come with a “sharper” body design. Both also feature a string-through body and are, apart from their finishes, pretty much the same guitar model.

The main difference, compared to Epiphone and Gibson Dave Mustaine models, is that these guitars come with a 25.5-inch scale. There’s also a slightly different neck profile but they’re all aiming for the usual “shred-friendly” ergonomic design. The pickups are the aforementioned Dave Mustaine Signature Seymour Duncan Thrash Factors and we have two volume knobs, one tone control, and a 3-way switch.

Just like the Epiphone Flying V Custom, they both come with a stylish Flying V plate where the strings meet the body. Although there are some differences, these guitars have the same overall feel, at least at a first glance. The main difference is probably the inclusion of Fishman Fluence pickups with the Epiphone Prophecy variant.

Dave Mustaine and Gibson

In a last year’s interview with Songfacts, Dave Mustaine confirmed that he will be deepening his friendship with Gibson with both Explorer and Les Paul models. He said:

“We’re working on the Explorer, and we have a 24-fret Les Paul I finished creating, but this is something for next year, maybe the year after.”

So far, we’re yet to see what comes out of it. But judging by Gibson’s recent moves and their tendency to gravitate more towards the metal side of things, there’s a high chance that we’ll see this happen.

Gibson Welcomes Dave Mustaine of Megadeth

While discussing his new Gibson guitars in the brand’s video, Mustaine offered some details about his Flying V EXP guitars:

“As far as guitars are concerned, if you ask someone to draw a guitar, they’ll draw a Flying V. As soon as the opportunity came for me to get a signature line, I wanted to make it my own.

“It started with just some simple changes with input on the leg, on the inside of the leg. Second most important thing, is most of the guitars come with my Thrash Factor pickups or the Live Wire active pickups. The Thrash factors are passive and Live Wires are active. So either way, you can have the guitar the way that you wanted to pick up and put into that.

“And the number one most important thing on the guitar was that we made it a 24-fret guitar. That, for me, is part of my favorite area on the guitar, up in the 12th fret and above area, higher strings.”

Dave Mustaine Flying V™ EXP Rust In Peace

“Flying V is so easily identifiable, the silhouette to me is identifiable… It’s like when you hear somebody’s voice, you know right away, you can hear their voice and you know. Like, when you hear Axl [Rose], or James [Hetfield] or me, I think those prove that you’ve become a brand that you’ve become something dependable for the public.

Photos: Gibson

  • 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 and brands like Sam Ash.

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