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Dave Mustaine

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David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is the founder, main songwriter, lead guitarist, and lead vocalist for the American thrash metal band Megadeth. Prior to Megadeth, Mustaine was the first lead guitarist and a co-songwriter of the heavy metal band Metallica until he was fired from the band in 1983 due to being extremely violent and heavy alcoholism. In 2009, he was ranked No. 1 in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.Mustaine was ranked 89th by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time.


Early Life

Mustaine was born to Emily and John Mustaine on September 13, 1961 in La Mesa California. He is the youngest of the four children and has three older sisters.

He didn't have good relationship with his father and heard only about him in stories told to him by his sisters. His mother was Jewish but Dave was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness. By the age of 17, Mustaine had rented his own apartment and was surviving financially by dealing drugs.One of his clients, Willow, was often short of cash, but worked in a record store, so in return for drugs, she offered albums by artists such as Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Motörhead and Judas Priest in trade, which helped form his taste in heavy metal. In the late 1970s, Mustaine began playing electric guitar, most notably a B.C. Rich Bich and joined a band known as Panic for a short time.

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Short time in Metallica

Mustaine joined Metallica as the original lead guitarist in 1982. He wrote 5 songs for Metallica, Phantom Lord, The Mechanix (later changed by Metallica to 'The Four Horsemen', at a slower tempo, with different lyrics and added bridge.Released on Kill 'Em All. This song was later recorded and released in its original form and much faster speed by Megadeth on their debut album, Killing Is My Business... And Business is Good), Jump In The Fire, Motorbreath and Metal Militia.

He also wrote the main chord progression for Metallica's epic instrumental, The Call of Ktulu (later used by Megadeth for Hangar 18, released on Rust in Peace) and also the spider chord riff for the song Ride The Lightning (later used by Megadeth for Wake Up Dead)

On April 11, 1983, after Metallica had driven to New York to record their debut album, Mustaine was fired from the band because of his alcoholism, drug abuse, overly aggressive behavior, and personality clashes with founding members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, an incident Mustaine refers to as "no warning, no second chance". The band packed up Dave's gear, drove him to a Bus Terminal, and put him on a bus bound for Los Angeles.

It was on this bus ride that Mustaine saw the word 'Megadeath', which he later changed to 'Megadeth'. He scribbled some lyrical ideas on the back of a hand bill, which would later become the song "Set The World Afire" from the 1988 Megadeth album So Far, So Good... So What!

Megadeth

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Style

Vocal Style

Mustaine has a very unique vocal style. Some call it gnarly. He has a range of (E1-)C♯2-E♭5(-B♭6)

Rhythm Guitar Style

Mustaine is a virtuoso rhythm guitarist. He is often praised for his excellent rhythm chops. He uses fast shifting power chords (Wake Up Dead), his own invention, the Spider Chord (Wake Up Dead, Set the World Afire), Fast palm muted with Sixteenth note riffing on the low E string, in Rust in Peace classics like Holy Wars, Take No Prisoners, down picked palm muted fast moving power chords (Tornado Of Souls), and the list may go on.

Must hear riffs

Mechanix

Peace Sells

Wake Up Dead

My Last Words

Set the World Afire

Mary Jane

In My Darkest Hour

Holy Wars... The Punishment Due

Hangar 18

Take No Prisoners

Tornado Of Souls

Poison Was The Cure

Five Magics

Rust In Peace... Polaris

Symphony Of Destruction

Sweating Bullets

Foreclosure Of A Dream

Reckoning Day

She Wolf

FFF

Prince Of Darkness

Insomnia

Kick The Chair

Washington Is Next

This Day We Fight

The Right To Go Insane

Never Dead

New World Order

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Lead Guitar Style

Mustaine has a shredding lead style. He mostly utilizes minor pentatonic scale, adds chromatic notes sometimes and in some solos, goes for insane 4 note per string descending chromatic triplets (Sweating Bullets, In My Darkest Hour). He also utilses scales like Harmonic Minor (Wake Up Dead).

He mostly picks all his shred solos, but also uses legato sometimes. He has not been seen sweep picking much although he uses tapping in some solos (Hook In Mouth, Last Rites). He also has a solo using Chicken Pickin' (Poison Was the Cure)

Mustaine is also known to harmonize well with other guitarists, especially Marty Friedman (Ashes in your Mouth, She-Wolf, Hangar 18)

Must hear solos

Mechanix

Peace Sells

Wake Up Dead

The Conjuring

Set the World Afire

Mary Jane

In My Darkest Hour

Holy Wars... The Punishment Due

Hangar 18

Five Magics

Poison Was The Cure

Sweating Bullets

Ashes in your Mouth

Victory

She Wolf

Prince Of Darkness

Recipe For Hate... Warhorse

Kick The Chair

Burnt Ice

Washington Is Next

Head Crusher

This Day We Fight

The Right To Go Insane

Bodies

Sudden Death

New World Order

Millennium of the Blind

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Gear

Guitars

Mustaine used B.C. Rich guitars early in his career (and for his entire duration with Metallica), most notably a B.C. Rich Bich 10 string with just the regular six strings. First the guitar started in a natural finish, but Dave painted it black around the time 'Peace Sells' was released. In 1987 he switched to Jackson guitars.

In March 2009, while he was guest hosting Bruce Dickinson's Friday night radio show, Mustaine attributed his choice of the Flying V guitar to being a fan of UFO's Michael Schenker when he was growing up.

After switching to Jackson guitars, he helped redesign the King V guitar. After the modification, it became one of the most successful models, and had a major role in making Jackson guitars famous. The Mustaine King V specs can be found here

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Around the Risk era, he designed a newer version of the classic Gibson Flying V. Its specs can be found in this file

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Rumor has it that Mustaine tried buying Jackson guitars with a few friends, but he lost support and Jackson Guitars was eventually bought by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. After he came out of retirement in 2004, he wanted a new endorsement as his previous deal with Jackson guitars had ended and Jackson was bought by FMIC. He switched to ESP guitars and his new signature was a blend of his two previous guitars. Its specs can be found in this file

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In 2005, Mustaine and ESP teamed up to release the ESP Axxion, (pronounced Action), in order to celebrate Megadeth's 20th anniversary.(the XX in Axxion and the fretboard inlays being the number 20 in Roman numerals).Its specs can be found in this file

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Related GMC Lessons

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See also

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