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Machine Gun Kelly fires back at TikTok user who accused him of not playing guitar on stage

Machine Gun Kelly onstage with his signature Schecter PT guitar
(Image credit: Kevin Winter / Getty)

Machine Gun Kelly has responded to accusations from a guitarist on TikTok that he doesn’t play his electric guitar live.

In a video captioned Machine Gun Kelly EXPOSED, TikTok user Gunnar DüGrey – who says he has a day job as a Guitar Center employee – initially illustrates the kill switch function of Kelly’s Schecter PT signature model.

“Flip this in the down position and it cuts off all the volume, making it completely silent,” DüGrey says. He then analyses several live images of the guitarist playing in what he alleged was the off position.

@gunnar_dugrey (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - Gunnar DüGrey (opens in new tab)

The video has since gained 4.5 million views and provoked a response post from Kelly, also via TikTok. “Hold on one second,” says Kelly, in his reply. “You reverse engineered it to go down…” 

At which point Kelly clearly demonstrates that you can spin the toggle switch around, thereby reversing the appearance of the switch positions: “When you go down, it’s on… I only play my guitar live.”

@machinegunkelly (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - Gunnar DüGrey (opens in new tab)

DüGrey has since posted a full retraction, alongside the excellent hashtag #GuitarDrama. 

“I was wrong and I’m happy to admit that,” says DüGrey. “This was the first guitar that I had seen with a kill switch like this and it was, in fact, off in the down position and on in the up position when it came out of the box. I didn’t realise you could just spin the thing around… I just didn’t consider that. And that’s on me.”

@gunnar_dugrey (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - Gunnar DüGrey (opens in new tab)

The situation echos a story involving Machine Gun Kelly’s friend and UK contemporary, Yungblud, who was forced to respond to accusations that he was miming on an unplugged guitar, back in November. 

In that case, the British songwriter took to Twitter to point out that he was using a wireless pack and offered to supply an audio capture of his guitar from the show.

Credit to DüGrey for offering a proper apology in this situation. He even offers to play as a backup guitarist. Regardless, we imagine that the combined 16-million (at the time of writing) views across three videos showing off Kelly’s signature model will prove to be to his advantage eventually...

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.