At the Drive-In guitarist and Mars Volta mastermind Omar Rodriguez Lopez has relied on Ernie Ball Music Man guitars on and off stage for years. Having played favorites like the Albert Lee and St. Vincent, the Ball family decided it was time to craft Omar an instrument that was uniquely his own. Thus, the Mariposa was born.
Inspired by the upside down
As a left-handed player, Omar has grown accustomed to walking into a guitar shop, picking up a guitar, and playing it upside down. The quirky feat is what conjured the dexterous design of the Mariposa. No matter how you flip it, the design remains relatively the same.
The glitch would make an error and I was like, ‘Stop! I like that! That’s it.
After flipping through sketches with Brian Ball and our head engineer, Drew, a glitch in the screen is what brought forth the final body design.
Chaos meets beauty
Admired for his ability to distort and manipulate a world of sounds, Omar wanted his guitar to remain the constant amongst his chaotic production process. With custom humbuckers designed to Omar’s exact specifications, he describes the pickups as “very hot,” with a clean, precise tone.
“I wanted it to be a lighter guitar,” Omar explained, “Trying to do that, it led to things that were tonally unexpected.”
I have no schooling, I have no real technical skills, but I have an intense interest and an intense focus on things that move me or make me feel like I’m participating in life in some way.
— Lightweight okoume body, roasted maple neck, and an ebony fretboard
— White pearlescent block inlays and matching headstock
— Custom Ernie Ball Music Man humbucking pickups
— Three-way toggle pickup selector
— Dual volume pots with 500kohm volume for each pickup
— Four finishes: Imperial Black and Imperial White for the Standard models and Pueblo Pink and Dorado Green for the Deluxe editions
Learn more about the new Mariposa guitar here.