Teemu Mäntysaari Explains What It’s Like to Play With Dave Mustaine: ’He’s a Very Confident Guitarist’

Now a full-time member of Megadeth, Teemu Mäntysaari spoke up on what it’s really like to share guitar duties with Dave Mustaine as part of the legendary thrash metal quartet.

Kiko Loureiro’s departure from the lineup was a huge bummer for the metal community. At first, it wasn’t certain whether this was for good or not, but now, it’s pretty obvious that Teemu Mäntysaari is here to stay. With his impressive work in the Finnish band Wintersun and other projects, Teemu was the perfect candidate for the lead guitarist position in the band.

Speaking to Guitar World in a recently shared interview, Mäntysaari reflected on playing in the band and what Mustaine is really like as a guitar player and — more importantly — a guitar-playing partner.

Teemu Mäntysaari Absolutely nailing Megadeth Solos live! #megadeth #davemustaine #live

“Dave is very detail-oriented,” Teemu explained when questioned about any “tips and tricks” he got from the Megadeth mastermind. And speaking of which, he adds that a lot of these tips came from Kiko. Teemu continued:

“I learned the songs by ear, and from some tips Kiko gave me. Kiko showed me how things work within the band and gave me some tips, but I’ve worked mainly with Dave.” 

“I’d have Zoom meetings with Dave, go through the riffs, and look at the small details of how they groove, the moods, and the technical side. We talked a lot about what Dave wants to project, picking directions, being very aware of down-picking, alternate picking, and, in many of the songs, being aware of both.”

Megadeth - Tornado Of Souls Live 9/23/2023 Plymouth Speedway, IN Teemu Mäntysaari

Going more into technique and what kind of sound Dave was aiming for, Teemu added:

“We also talked about things like dampening, the flow of songs, creating contrast, hand positions, and trying to get things right fingering-wise, all of which I enjoy doing. There’s a bit of detective work involved, and to get that information from the source in Dave was amazing.”

Needless to say, getting into this lead guitarist spot in Megadeth is far from an easy task. All guitar players that went through the lineup over the decades were nothing short of impressive. Teemu takes the spot that once belonged to Chris Poland, Marty Friedman, and Kiko Loureiro, just to name a few.

Megadeth - Holy Wars, Live 9/23/2023 Plymouth Speedway, IN Teemu Mäntysaari

On top of that, Mustaine is an incredible guitar player, too. And he’s obviously very detail-oriented when it comes to his music. So it’s not a surprise that new Megadeth axeman had nothing but words of praise about his band leader. Asked about what he admires the most about Dave, Teemu replied:

“Dave is a very confident guitarist. He has a great sense of rhythm, and his tone is great. As a writer, he’s a master of both riffs and solos. He chooses special types of notes, uses cool techniques, and all these very interesting tapping parts.”

“There’s a lot of groundbreaking stuff; to think he came up with a lot of it in the ’80s and how influential he’s been is crazy. We still feel that influence even today.”

Needless to say, being an impressive metal lead guitarist himself, it’s only obvious that Teemu was influenced by Megadeth. Joining them was simply mind-blowing for him and he took the opportunity the moment it was offered.

“Megadeth was always kind of there in the background for me,” he explained. “I was very aware of the band – they’re one of the biggest metal bands in existence. So, of course, when they called me up, it was a bit surreal.”

Not only that, but Teemu adds that Mustaine was pretty supportive after the audition went well. He continued:

“But from the first phone call with Dave, they were so welcoming. He even said, ‘I really liked your audition,’ meaning the videos he saw. The momentum from that, and how fast-paced it’s been, has allowed me to concentrate on getting my work done, so there wasn’t much time to be nervous.”

Deception - Excavation - Solo Playthrough (Teemu Mäntysaari)

At the beginning of 2024, Kiko Loureiro spoke in more detail about his decision to part ways with Megadeth. Although he and Dave didn’t go into too many details, it was obvious that Kiko made this decision due to personal reasons. Speaking to Guitar World, the now-former Megadeth axeman said:

“It got harder in 2023, especially during the three-month summer tour. So I went to Dave in June, saying, ‘This is too much. I’m not feeling like I’m in the right place or mood to give 100 percent.'”

“It was complicated for me to say because I wanted to play, but I knew I needed to be at home. And, of course, Dave was not expecting it. We had just done a show in Florida with the Misfits, and it was right after that show that I talked to Dave.”

Guitar Bros Demos Shred Collab - Original take, Teemu Mäntysaari - Wintersun

“And then Megadeth management was there, and I let them know I could not do the September gigs. I offered to help find a replacement and do what was needed to help Megadeth be ready to go.”

Photos: DragonOfWisdom (Wintersun – Rockharz 2019 (1)), Selbymay (HF2022Megadeth 2)

  • 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.