After years of searching and finding the right gear, I've never been happier with the stuff I use (on AND offstage) than right now! This page is for showing you the COOL STUFF the band and I have the pleasure of using every day, and the fine folks who have made it possible...hope you enjoy all of it!! Click on these below for details...
I am proud to endorse Ernie Ball-Music Man guitars! The model I currently play is the 25th Anniversary model. It has a chambered basswood body, mahogany tone block down the center, and a gorgeous curly maple top. It has custom DiMarzio humbuckers, which are tapped (for single-coil sound) AND a series/parallel switch for tonal versatility. I also play 2 Axis Super Sport models. One has DiMarzio humbuckers which are coil tapped for that occasional single-coil sound. The other is fitted with 2 P-90 style Seymour Duncan hot single-coils. I can honestly say that Ernie Ball Music Man guitars are the most ergonomic, well-built, best sounding guitars I've ever played. They are light (6 pounds), and they feature asymmetrical necks which are a little thinner on the underside so it fits perfectly in the hand. They have locking tuners, tuning-compensated top nuts. Special thanks to Derek Brooks from Ernie Ball-Music Man for working with me and running such a fantastic company! Click here for the Music Man website.
I still have my 1975 black Gibson Les Paul Custom, but being almost 10 pounds, after 19 years it has wreaked havoc on my neck and left shoulder. I got it when I was a kid, so I'll never sell it.
My prized possession is my Gretsch Bo Diddley Signature model, sent by Gretsch (as per Bo's request) in 2002, signed by Bo the following year. It is tuned to open 'E' like Bo, which enables me to get the chugging rhythm/muting that Bo did. All my guitars are strung with Ernie Ball Slinkys, gauges 10-46.
I have 2 main amps I use. My main "Number One" is a 1984 Marshall JCM 800 single channel 2x12 combo. No reverb, no frills, just tone-to-the-bone. My other is a Peavey Classic 50 2X12 combo. It sounds great, and is built like a tank. The Classic 50 is the best mass-produced amp I've ever used, straight out-of-the-box. I also have a Peavey Classic 30 I use for intimate gigs, TV, radio, etc. All my amps are equipped with Eminence speakers. I especially like the Cannabis Rex 12s I use in the Peavey...they are actually hemp-coned speakers, and they have a great warmth to them.
For my harmonica, I'm using a Line 6 POD straight into the P.A. system...my Fender Blues Junior broke down, so I had to use the POD one night...it was really easy to set up and the tone was even better, so I stuck with it. I use the "tweed" setting with a little slapback delay and noise gate to eliminate feedback.
I am pretty basic with my overdrive/distortion sounds...I'm currently using a tiny Mooer "Hustle Drive" for my main overdrive (modeled after Fulltone OCD), and i supplement it with a Mooer 005 Preamp/Overdrive. For Leslie sounds, I use a TC Corona mini chorus with the speed turned up. I have an Xotic SP compressor that I leave on all the time...it's great on the "Lo" setting because you don't notice any squish on the attack, notes just ring out longer. I have another micro series Mooer "Mod Factory" which has tremolo, phaser, and 10 more all in a tiny box! The "Micro" pedals are great because I can pop a bunch of them on my Pedaltrain Mini or Nano, and pack it in my suitcase when we fly. My wireless is a Shure PGX series, and power supply is a Visual Sound 1-spot. I endorse Pedaltrain pedalboards, who makes the best pedalboards on the market. Thanks to John Chandler at Pedaltrain for the best boards out there. Also special thanks to Ryan Nixon at GuitarEffectsPedals.com for supplying the Pedaltrain, and carrying the best selection of pedals/accessories on the web!
My saxophonist Fabian Hernandez endorses Tenor Madness Saxophones, and plays through a TC Helicon "VoiceLive 2" harmonizer to simulate the sax section. We got the idea from Fred Vigdor of Average White Band. The harmonies are fully programmable by pitch and/or key, and its "step" function lets us put multiple harmonies within presets for the song we're playing, so Fabian will advance the steps as the song moves along. Fabian also plays a Nord Electro 2 keyboard.
"Yes, it's a vacuum cleaner" is my most repeated phrase at shows lately. I wanted to play harp and guitar at the same time, but with the same "Chicago-style" dirty tone. I found a vacuum cleaner attachment at my folks' house in Galveston and the harp fit right in it! Luthier Chip Todd made a connector for me and now it fits on the end of my Shaker mic (dynamic). I play Hohner Special 20 harps. I proudly endorse Shaker Harmonica Microphones! I play harp through a Line 6 Mini POD, powered by my pedalboard. I used to use an amp for many years, but the POD is tiny, flexible, programmable, and has a noise gate (to reduce feedback).
Mando is currently playing a Tama Silverstar birch drum kit, 22" kick, 10" tom, 14" floor tom, Ludwig Black Beauty 14" snare, Tama 12" popcorn snare, and Sabian cymbals.