Tuesday, May 1, 2012
What can I say about this guitar? A guitar utilized by one of my heroes and inspirations, Dave Mustaine. A guitar fit to be described as the epitome of heavy metal guitars. One of which I have been eyeing for 3 years from a man who has fought through it all, and up till today produces some of the finest thrash metal music in history (unlike a certain other band he used to play for). An exquisite looking guitar, with fierce design and killer graphics, the Dave Mustaine VMNT Rust in Peace guitar was fit to destroy worlds - and that is exactly what Dave has been doing night in and night out by using this Korean made model on stage.
From the many videos seen of Dave playing on stage, and also interviews with Willy G, his guitar tech, there has been a lot of talk about Dave preferring the Korean made Deans simply because of its lighter weight and playability. Both the American and Korean DM models are equipped with active Seymour Duncan Livewire pickups - which are Dave's signature pickups. There are 8 incantations of the Dave Mustaine VMNTs, 5 of which comes with the Dave Mustaine Duncan Live Wires, 2 of them which come with Dean Active Pickups, and 1 of which comes with a set of DMT passives (the United Abominations VMNTX). How I understand it, the silver and black VMNTX guitars have been discontinued in favour of the guitars with album artwork as they have been much better sellers.
Neck Material: Mahogany
Neck Profile: Set Mahogany D-Shaped Neck
Fingerboard: Ebony (24 Frets)
Body Material: Mahogany
Neck Pickup: Dave Mustaine Duncan Live Wire Active Pickups
Bridge Pickup: Dave Mustaine Duncan Live Wire Active Pickups
Make: Made in Korea
I'll be honest, I really only bought this guitar because of its killer looks! I will not even kid you that I considered the sound. The only reason why I tested it at the guitar store was to make sure it worked! With that said, however, the DM Livewires are an amazing set of pickups. They are not as "clean" as EMGs, but it certainly gives you a high output tone fit for the thrash metal genre. The neck pickup is actually brilliant for soloing, and I enjoyed playing the solo to Symphony of Destruction on the neck setting simply because it sounded more crisp, cleaner and with a bit more depth to it. While the bridge pickup is equally as stunning tone wise, however, it's clear the bridge pickup is used very much for Dave's pentatonic style solos, which needs a thinner shriek which cuts through a lot of the rhythm playing. With that said, playing the intro to Washington is Next on the bridge pickup setting, with high gain is a hell of a thrill!!
I've had this guitar for a month now, and I have to say the build quality is excellent. A lot of care was taken into making this guitar to specifications, and the art looks simply beautiful (take a look at the photos above). It doesn't look like a cheap art sticker pasted on, and it certainly looks very well crafted and painted on the body. I took a lot of time to just stare at the guitar before plugging it in to play, and believe me you will too if you have this bad boy. To top it all off, this guitar comes with a custom hardshell case, which fits the VMNT body perfectly.
Rhythming on this guitar felt very natural, and the way the fins are designed outwards, made it a bit more natural to play this in comparison to my Michael Schenker V. A simplistic example of this is that when resting with the VMNT between my legs, I can actually see my fret board when I play - while the way the Schenker guitar is made, and where the jack plugs in - it makes it really difficult to view the fretboard while playing - so half the time I am playing on insticts more so than really seeing where I am going - which is not really that bad a thing after all. Intonation wise, this guitar plays well, with a slightly raised action. You may not get the pinch harmonics you desire because of how the action and intonation is set, but you hardly hear Dave Mustaine do any of those anyway. So I am guessing this was set very much to how Dave would use it for many of his songs.
Ergonomically, this guitar actually is "convenient" to play for a V, and its lightweight makes it all the better to stand up and to maneuver around. At times it makes you think that for the price you pay, you may be getting short changed in the wood department, but the richness of the tone and how boisterous it can sound will beg to differ. I do believe this was a "production triumph" for Dean in producing a light weight guitar, while maintaining a lot of depth in this solid body. I am sure Dave worked very closely with Dean to ensure the right specs were thrown in as Dave won't be caught dead with sub-par fire wood on stage. With that, I salute artists such as Dave Mustaine for using guitars of which they have their name on and do not cost more than US$2k! (hear that Satch? Vai?).
Overall Rating: 9