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Classic Guitar Ads from the 80s & 90s Featuring Your Favorite Heavy Metal Heroes (Dimebag, Eddie Van Halen, Dave Mustaine, KISS and More)

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As the title of this throw-back post suggests, you are about to be treated to a flashback-inducing look at old-school guitar and bass adverts, some dating back to the good old 80s when everyone had hair as big as the Marshall stacks they blew their speedy riffs through.

In 1984, Eddie Van Halen appeared in his most famous ad for Kramer Guitars wearing famous "No Bozos" t-shirt (the original shot included Ed's ever-present ciggy, which Kramer rejected. You see it here). I'm pretty sure every 80s metalhead with a heartbeat still remembers the ad and the others Ed would do for the brand during his career. Lemmy Kilmister became synonymous with the Rickenbacker Bass thanks to his devotion to the 4000/4001 series before Rickenbacker created a signature, hand-carved model for Kilmister in 2001, the 4004LK. Interestingly, Lemmy never really did any ads for Rickenbacker though he and his Motörhead pals have lent their image to Marshall (like pretty much everyone heavy and metal) in ads for their amplifiers. I'm not telling you anything you don't know by mentioning gearheads have gear preferences. This would often lead musicians to team up with companies like Ibanez (Steve Vai), Dean (Dimebag), Hagstrom (Frank Zappa), Peavy (Adrian Vandenberg, Rudy Sarzo), Charvel/Jackson (Marty Friedman) and others in cool print campaigns championing their preferred axe or bass, or perhaps their own tricked-out signature models.

So much vintage guitar and bass goodness follow–let's just dive right into it!

Eddie Van Halen for Kramer 1984.


Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs of The Scorpions for Gibson.


Rudy Sarzo for Peavy.


A young Marty Friedman and his hair for Charvel/Jackson.


Vivian Campbell for Kramer.


Joe Satriani in an ad for his JS series for Ibanez (1990).


Steve Vai for Ibanez.


Members of Racer-X for Ibanez.


Ace Frehley for Gibson.


Paul Stanley for Ibanez.


Rudy Sarzo and Carlos Cavazo during their Quiet Riot days for Washburn.


Marty Friedman and the awesome Jason Becker for Hurricane.


Tony MacAlpine for B.C. Rich.


Adrian Vandenberg with one of his signature guitars for Peavy.



Another one of Eddie Van Halen's ads for Kramer.


Kirk Hammett for ESP.


Yngwie Malmsteen for Fender.


Steve Stevens for Hamer.


Billy Sheehan for Yamaha.


Tom Keifer for Gibson.


Dave Mustaine for in an ad for his own signature ESP.


Craig Goldie for B.C. Rich.

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