Equipment Review: Mariposa Guitar – American Songwriter

The words “progressive” and “experimental” are often used to describe American guitarist Omar Alfredo Rodríguez-López. He is perhaps best known for being the guitarist, songwriter and conductor of the band Mars Volta from 2001 until their separation in 2012. In addition to numerous solo efforts, he is the guitarist of the rock band alternative At the Drive-In. . His adventurous musical style made Rodríguez-López an ideal collaborator with Ernie Ball Music Man on their 2021 Mariposa guitar line.

As an extraordinary creator, engaging with Rodríguez-López on a Music Man design made perfect sense. Rodríguez-López not only enjoyed the company’s other models, but had used their guitars on tour exclusively since 2015. After gaining experience with Music Man’s Albert Lee and St. Vincent models, which he used extensively on tour, Rodríguez-López provided his considerable creative contribution to help design the first models of the Mariposa, which incorporated the features he loved from both models. Of course, Rodríguez-López’s personal models had to be left-handed, which is why the company is committed to designing and evolving two versions, a right-handed model for retail and a left-handed model for its use on stage. . Note that Music Man does not currently offer a left-handed production version, but they have indicated that it could happen. Stay tuned.

As with the company’s successful Albert Lee and STV models, the Mariposa features a bold, angular body made from Okuome and sleek hardware. What is notably absent from the guitar is a tone knob. Instead, the Mariposa uses Music Man’s “captive tone circuit” which exploits the treble (treble) reduction that results from lowering volume controls.

Rather than a tone knob, the tone is controlled by the player using two volume controls, which not only change the output levels, but also take advantage of the passive interaction between the two volume knobs. This creates a natural variation in the high end when the volumes are set at different levels. As a creator, Rodríguez-López enjoys the amount of tonal flexibility and ‘flavor’ he can effortlessly achieve by manipulating the volumes of Mariposa’s two custom Music Man humbucking pickups configured via a three-way toggle switch.

The 2021 Ernie Ball Music Man Mariposa guitar collection features four striking finishes (Sahara Sunset, Galaxy Pearl, Imperial White, and Dorado Green) each accented with gold hardware and gold hat buttons. The solid pickguard is laser etched with an ornate gold design, including a flower motif designed in collaboration with Miami-based artist Peter Santa-Maria, coordinated to complement the new finishes. The wide, flat surfaces of Mariposa’s lightweight okoume body are reminiscent of the wings of a butterfly (Mariposa translates to butterfly in Spanish), lending itself to an artistic hand. The instrument’s roasted maple neck with its ebony fingerboard showcases the guitar’s own pearly block inlays.

Rear-locking Schaller M6-IND tuners, like on other Music Man guitars, and a compensated nut, help provide stable intonation in all situations. At the bridge level is Music Man’s Modern (down-only) tremolo setup with an elegant chevron cover and vintage curved steel saddles in matching gold.

The simplicity of Mariposa’s electronics may seem counterintuitive to some and perhaps even limiting. But those who think so should consider the progressive work of Rodríguez-López, the artist who collaborated so closely in the design of the guitar. Sometimes the simplest art tools are the ones that can offer the most creative freedom.

Price: $ 3,099.00


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