Kiko Loureiro reveals the biggest challenge of playing guitar in Megadeth and being a southpaw playing right-handed

(Image credit: Joe Branston/Future)

"Dave is very picky" says Kiko Loureiro about Dave Mustaine – but he means that literally too. In a new interview with Rick Beato he illustrates that downstroke Inc is not Megadeth's business, instead there's all kinds of upstrokes and rhythmic subtleties that have become part of the Mustaine riff sound he needed to immerse himself in when he joined the band in 2015.

"He has heavy hands," Loureiro says of his boss, "and I practiced my entire life to play very lightly and softly." It's part of the Mustaine magic that has made Megadeth such a force in thrash metal.The Brazilian guitarist demonstrates all of this to Beato with his signature Ibanez. And he also reveals he's a left-handed person playing guitar right-handed.

"This [picking] movement with my left hand is way more precise," notes Loureiro."So he has to work harder on his picking technique because he uses his right hand: "I have to practice this, and I knew since the beginning," But there's surely a trade off because he's fretting with his left hand? It's not that simple for Kiko. In fact, he plays down the whole thing. 

"It's only the rock musician that switches," notes the guitarist of playing right-handed as a musician. "You never see someone play a cello [left handed]… so it's only in rock. When you start it doesn't matter. I think the bad part is [I] use a lot of left hand to write, to open doors, to carry stuff so then it might be a problem if you practice a lot, you might have some tendonitis. So I've had some tendonitis throughout my life because of that."

Dave Mustaine and Kiko Loureiro talk Megadeth's Dystopia

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.