What Gear Does Dave Mustaine Use?

Just how important Megadeth was for the evolution and propagation of metal is easy to figure out. They’ve introduced a lot of new ideas that weren’t necessarily present in the mainstream scene.

One more thing this band did was to show people that driving leads can push a song to a whole new level. When it comes to specific individuals who were responsible for Megadeth’s popularity, the first name that comes to mind is Dave Mustaine.

what gear does dave mustaine use

This talented guitarist/vocalist is known for using a variety of pretty interesting guitars. His sound is somewhat conservative but also very flexible.

Today we are going to take a look at what gear does Dave Mustaine use, and how you could go about replicating his legendary tone.  

Just to remind everyone who we’re talking about, here’s a clip of Megadeth playing live and you can hear that tone live and loud in this blistering solo from “She-Wolf”…

Dave Mustaine Preferred Guitars

We are going to kick things off with the guitars that Dave Mustaine uses.

If there’s one thing that you can tell straight away, that is Mustaine’s affection for Flying Vs and other ‘unusual’ guitar body styles.

He was also among the first to use electric guitars with two necks. With that said, let’s check out some of the notable models he was seen using over the course of his career.

B.C. Rich Bich Perfect 10

B.C. Rich Perfect 10 Ten-String Electric Guitar, Dragon Blood

When he was just starting out, long before he ever laid his hands on a Flying V of any kind, Mustaine rocked a B.C. Rich Bich Perfect 10.

It was a decent guitar and still is. However, his relationship with this particular model didn’t last for too long.

Soon enough the ’80s rolled around, and Mustaine switched focus to some more interesting models that just started appearing on the market.

Hardcore Megadeth fans will still respect this particular B.C. Rich, and give it a certain amount of credit for Mustaine’s success so far.

Feature Pick

Bc Rich Handcrafted Bich10Suptr Bich 10 Supreme 10-String Electric Guitar, Trans Red

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Jackson King V

Jackson King V KVXMG X Series Electric Guitar - Black

As soon as Mustaine first saw this guitar, he changed camps for good. His love for Jackson began in the mid-’80s, and has resulted in an endorsement deal with this company.

Needless to say, he could choose whichever guitar he wanted at that point, but Dave still remained in the Jackson camp for a long while.

The significance of Jackson King V is the fact that it was one of the first Jacksons Mustaine ever played. Because of that, this guitar definitely deserves praise and attention.

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Jackson King V Kvxmg X Series Electric Guitar – Black

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Dean VMNT Dave Mustaine Angel of Deth Electric Guitar

Mustaine’s gig with Jackson wasn’t the only endorsement deal he ever made with guitar manufacturers. Dean was another brand that was more than happy enough to work with this incredible artist.

Over the years they have released a number of Dave Mustaine signature model guitars that all featured the Flying V design.

On a similar note, he had a short stint with ESP as well, which also produced some Flying Vs based on Mustaine’s input.

Feature Pick

Dean Vmnt Dave Mustaine Peace Sells Electric Guitar

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Dave Mustaine’s Favorite Amps

When it comes to amps, Dave Mustaine started pretty simple but ended up using a variety of different brands and amp models.

What you will notice is that most of his amps, at least ones he is personally fond of, are various Marshall models.

Mustaine never really felt the need to swap them for anything else, while he included various preamps to get the desired effect.

Marshall JCM800

Marshall JCM800 2203X 100W Tube Head

Back in the day, Marshall JCM800 was a very popular amp. It was used by a large variety of artists, but it just seemed to be naturally good at delivering a more than decent metal sound.

As a matter of fact, Mustaine used the JCM800 to record a number of Megadeth’s initial albums. Ever since then, his love for Marshall has only grown.

Feature Pick

Marshall Jcm800 2203X 100W Tube Head

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Marshall JVM410


Another notable amp we have to mention is the Marshall JVM410. It has found its way into Mustaine’s set-up quite recently, but he was more than happy to use it for a very long period of time.

Did it significantly change the sound of the band? No, not really. Marshall amps are Marshall amps.

They all share that same core quality which is the main reason why so many people love them in the first place. The Marshall JVM410 is just a more modern representation of that very sound.

Check for deals on the Marshall JVM410 on Musician’s Friend

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Dave Mustaine’s Favorite Guitar Effects

If you’ve been listening to Megadeth for any significant period of time, you will know that Mustaine’s tone is pretty conservative. Dave isn’t a fan of large pedalboards that are filled with layers upon layers of distortions and overdrives.

His policy is to get the best sound out of those tubes and use that to achieve the wanted results. With that said, Mustaine does use some guitar pedals.

Zoom G2.1DM

Zoom G2.1DM Dave mustaine signature pedal

One of the most interesting things you will find in Mustaine’s signal chain is this Zoom effects processor. Not only was it designed based on the input of this great guitar player, but it pretty much gives you that ‘Deth sound straight out of the box.

In fact, it is so good that Mustaine himself uses it quite often. This is definitely not something you see every day. Usually, guitar players of his caliber will stay far away from devices like these. However, no one can deny the practical value of this unit.

Visit the ZOOM website


What we showed you in this article is a rundown of Dave Mustaine’s most notable gear. As you can imagine, he probably uses a much wider range of equipment than what we listed above.

Dave-Mustaine playing Dean VMNT

It’s worth noting that most of that gear is rather stage-oriented stuff that you probably won’t need to use anytime soon. The stuff we listed will be more than enough to perfectly replicate this tone.

Sure, it’s not that complex of a tone to emulate, but if you want to literally mirror his setup, these instruments and accessories will get you there with the least amount of effort.

Mustaine’s very simple and spartan approach to his gear has lead many to follow his example. This is especially true today when a lot of guitar players are ditching their solid state amps and are turning to more traditional tube  amps to get that organic sound.

The Best DJ Record Needle For Turntable Scratching With Vinyl

shr-m44-7 review

First of all, you need high quality sound. It’s quite probable that you already know that different needles can sound quite different and that’s often due to their frequency characteristics.

At the end of the day, DJs are artists and choosing your palette is your personal prerogative. Just be mindful of the options. The frequency range might be a matter of choice, but as far as the output levels are concerned, you usually want something capable of higher volumes for your scratching needs.

For our DJ scratching needles, we also need to look into durability, serviceability and price. As mentioned already, scratching is a demanding activity for both for your needles and your records. So you need a needle that would provide reasonable durability for both itself and your valuable vinyl.

Some needles might last longer, but wear your grooves faster while others might act the opposite way. It’s up to you to decide what is more important and which one you are willing to change more often. Additionally some needles are easier to bend while carrying around, setting up or operating than others, so their maintenance would be more difficult and they would be less reliable. And of course there is the price factor which doesn’t really require deeper examination.

So we know basically what we’re talking about, now let’s look at some of the best models available on the market.

Shure M44-7shr-m44-7 review

Many DJs consider this their go-to scratching needle and it surely has it’s merits and is a product that has been held in high regard since the 90s. These needles sound nice, track well and don’t wear out your records too much. It’s an industry standard already and hits all the right spots for a huge number of DJs. Additionally, it has a really loud output, it’s stable in the grove, perfect on the backspin and robust in general.

Here’s how the Shure M44-7 sounds in action…classic.

If you have to look for any shortcomings you might find that the spherical head might miss some of the finest details, especially at the highest frequencies, but that’s a pretty common trade-off when dealing with scratching needles and pretty much a non-issue in that context. Additionally, this is not a very expensive needle and proves to be great value for money.

Read our full review of the Shure M44-7

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Shure Whitelabelshure whlb whitelabel turntable scratch needle for dj

Now this is another classic product from Shure with a bit of a cult following that might be a great asset to any DJ. And on top of this, it looks cool and is one of the most recognizable cartages out there. It sounds great, tracks well, preserves your records and can handle the backspins, but it’s more of an all-rounder than a specialist and its output levels are actually lower.

So if you want a versatile needle that can handle scratching as well as other things, the Whitelabel might be what you need, but if you want a needle that excels at it, you would be better of with something else.

Check price of the Shure Whitelabel on Amazon

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Ortofon Q-Bert Scratchqbertortofon2

This is a great needle that’s geared towards scratching in particular. This is a very stable needle with a very nicely colored frequency range with a midrange accent that some DJs really love. As a needle that has been designed specifically for that purpose, it handles backspins with perfection, stays in the groove and its slim design allows the DJ to see more of their vinyl which might actually be a killer feature. And, besides being functional, the looks of this needle are unique, memorable and attractive.

Ortofon’s Scratch series has a few other models like the enigmatic Concorde and they are all great, but also cost a bit more than the rest. Additionally, they might put a little bit more wear on your records than the M44-7s and their stylus is easier to bend while carrying around. Still, if you are willing to spent a bit more, this might be the best option available.

Thanks for reading!