Earlier this month, Megadeth frontman and electric guitar player Dave Mustaine teased a range of new Gibson Explorer signature models on Instagram.
Now, Mustaine has fully confirmed that the signature Explorer and, intriguingly, a 24-fret Gibson Les Paul are both in the works, and are set to arrive in either 2023 or 2024.
Speaking to Songfacts, Mustaine said that in addition to his various Flying V models, "we're working on the Explorer, and we have a 24-fret Les Paul I finished creating, but this is something for next year, maybe the year after."
While we didn't get any intel in the interview on the mysterious, potentially USA-made Kramer that also made an appearance in Mustaine's Instagram post, we have a hunch that the 24-fret Les Paul he mentioned might be the guitar – missing from the four-guitar rack in the picture – that he alluded to in the post's caption ("One more to go")...
Even more intriguingly, we appear to have been offered our first glimpse at a Mustaine Les Paul over on the Instagram account of the Megadeth leader's guitar tech, Bryan Jones.
The guitar in question retains the distinctive inlays of Mustaine's Flying Vs, as well as the black hardware, but this time adds witch-hat knobs.
Uncovered Seymour Duncan humbuckers are onboard – presumably Mustaine's signature Thrash Factors – and that fretboard definitely features 24 frets. We expect to be seeing more of this none-more-black LP before long.
Elsewhere in the Songfacts interview, Mustaine explainted that though he's most closely identified with Vs, he began his guitar journey with other models.
"If you go back to my beginning as a guitarist, one of the first guitars I ever had was an SG," he said. "The next one I had was a Les Paul copy. After that, a friend of mine loaned me his [Ibanez] Destroyer, which is an Explorer copy, and I eventually got a [Jackson] King V because I loved the Gibson Flying V but it didn't have 24 frets."
Mustaine went on to explain in detail what differentiates his V signature guitars – fret count aside – from their standard-issue counterparts.
"The model that I play, my Flying V, is 24 frets with my neck configuration on it, which is a different shape than the original Flying V's neck," Mustaine explained. "It has more access where the heel is on the back of the neck joint and the body. The electronics are different. The pickup switch and electronic knob placement, that configuration is different – it's my own.
"I have certain things that I like interior-wise with guitars: fret-wire, inlays, and the nut up at the top, the bridge at the opposite end. They're all important things.
"The original Gibson Flying V had the input jack on the front, and a lot of guitar players back in the day only had straight guitar cord plugs, and they would stick right up off of the guitar," he continued. "I can't even tell you how many people I know have broken cords off when the input jack is sticking out. I use an angular input jack, because for me, it has to be flush with the body.
"I also use the Jim Dunlop strap locks, and they sink into the body. Because of the demand on the guitars I use live, I can't use the Schaller strap locks. I was using those before, and I don't know if they've fixed it, but back when I was using them, the strap would fall off of the guitar. So, I discovered the ones from Dunlop and they were great."
For more info on all of Mustaine's signature models, visit Gibson.