Dave Mustaine’s signature Vs from Epiphone and Kramer are officially released and they look mighty thrashable

Kramer Dave Mustaine Vanguard
(Image credit: Epiphone / Kramer)

Dave Mustaine has officially made his debut for Epiphone and Kramer as the two Gibson-owned brands have launched their much-anticipated signature guitars for the Megadeth frontman. Epiphone offers Mustaine’s Flying V in Classic and Prophecy versions, while Kramer has unveiled the über-metal Vanguard V-shaped electric guitar in a trio of finishes.

The Epiphone Dave Mustaine Flying V Custom hews close to the Gibson blueprint, offering the guitar in Metallic Black, digging deep to equip it with a pair of the Megadeth main man's Seymour Duncan Thrash Factor signature humbucking electric guitar pickups. The Prophecy version gives it a modern twist, finishing the guitar in an eye-catching Aged Dark Red Burst and giving it a pair of multi-voiced Fishman Fluence humbuckers. 

Like the regular Epiphone Prophecy Flying V, it has everything you might need from a 21st-century metal guitar – well, perhaps a Floyd Rose but then double-locking vibratos aren’t for everyone, and they sure aren’t for MegaDave. 

Unlike the mainline Prophecy V, this, as with the Classic, comes with Mustaine’s preferred six-in-line Explorer headstock.

Epiphone Dave Mustaine Flying V

Epiphone Dave Mustaine Flying V Prophecy (Image credit: Epiphone)

The shape of these guitars is the same. Both have a 24.75” scale, 24 jumbo frets with dot inlays on a 12” radius ebony fingerboard. The neck is a custom Mustaine profile, made from mahogany and glued to a solid mahogany body that has multi-ply binding on top. Single ply binding on the headstock and neck makes for a tidy high-end look. Thereafter, you’ll find some subtle and not so subtle differences between the two.

The Classic is all mahogany whereas the Prophecy has a AAA flame maple veneer on top. The Classic has a Flying V string-through tailpiece and an Epiphone LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge. The Prophecy pairs its Tune-O-Matic with a stop-bar, its brushed nickel and knurled black nickel controls gives it an industrial, lived-in look. The Classic has a set of Grover Mini-Rotomatic tuners while the Prophecy has a set of locking Grovers. Think of it as the beefed-up cousin, the T-1000 to the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101. Both deadly, both super cool.

Those who are wanting to recreate Mustaine’s sound on record and play through the Rust In Piece tab book from front to back might want to go for the Classic. It has a pair of volume pots and a tone control for fine-tuning your sound.

Those looking for a more modern brand of chug, or more options from the guitar, might find the Prophecy’s push/pull function on the controls for coil-splitting and choosing between old-school PAF-alike sounds and a modern high-output humbucker more to their tastes. Either way, these are as high-end as Epiphone’s Chinese-made models get, with both shipping in a hardshell guitar case

The Classic is priced $1,399 . The Prophecy will set you back $1,499. For more details, head over to Epiphone.

Now for the Kramer Vanguards. Again, this is a first for Mustaine, and long-awaited – everyone knew they were coming. Available in Silver Metallic, Ebony and the limited edition and 100 per cent awesome Alien Tech Green, these rebrand the Kramer logo in the Megadeth typeface and, similarly priced and spec’d to their Epiphone counterparts, will really cause a little commotion for those deciding on which of the Gibson-owned brands’ guitars to go for.

Kramer Dave Mustaine Vanguard

Kramer Dave Mustaine Vanguard in Alien Tech Green, a limited edition finish with a lot of cult appeal for '80s thrash fans. (Image credit: Epiphone / Kramer)

Well, the fundamentals are similar. The Vanguards have solid mahogany bodies, mahogany necks, 24 frets. Like the Classic, they too have the Dave Mustaine Seymour Duncan Trash Factor humbuckers with individual volume controls, a master tone, a three-way pickup selector. CTS pots have been used under the hood. The Flying V string-through-body tailpiece is similar to the classic, and once more there is a 12” radius ebony fingerboard. But with a scale length of 25.5”, these might feel that little bit different. 

Kramer Dave Mustaine Vanguard

(Image credit: Epiphone / Kramer)

The necks are described as having a Dave Mustaine Custom medium C profile, which again, we would imagine would be similar to the Epiphone Vs. The Vanguards come with black chrome hardware as standard, have Graph Tech nuts, and a hard-shell case is included in the deal. All are priced $1,299. For more details and pics, head over to Kramer.

And also, stay tuned, because there is more to come from Epiphone in the near future. We know the Epiphone Kirk Hammett Greeny Les Paul Standard is coming, and the Metallica lead guitarist has already said that it’s "probably" his favourite of all the new repros of his storied singlecut.

Kramer Dave Mustaine Vanguard

(Image credit: Epiphone / Kramer)

Dave Grohl has a signature DG-335 incoming. How do we know? Well, he was pictured in the Foo Fighters’ rehearsal space with it, and a couple of weeks ago during an AMA on Instagram, Gibson head honcho Cesar Gueikian did reply “OK” when asked if Epiphone would make a Grohl model. 

He said many other things too; Mesa/Boogie guitar amps will be back in Europe after the summer, and heck, there will be white versions of it’s ‘80s Flying V and Explorer models coming sometime this year.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.