1985 Gibson Standard Les Paul
1970 Gibson Gold Top Deluxe
1988 custom 6 string Strat made by Karl Sandovall and Dave Cervantes
1987 custom Strat made by Karl Sandoval
1985 custom Strat made by Karl Sandoval
1995 custom baritone Strat made by Dave Cervantes
1978 Gibson Explorer
1988 Takamine nylon string
Igor the pedalboard
When you go into battle your weapons are your tools for fighting. If you're a dentist your tools are what you use to pull out teeth. For a musician the instruments are just there for you to express yourself. Guitars, instruments, they're like swords that you use to communicate with. If they get scratched or I spill some beer on them or I sweat on them- SO WHAT! As long as they sound and play right, I can say what I want to say with them. To each his own...
None of my instruments are from endorsements. When I was in the band, Dio, I used some German amps, only when I played in Europe. I always have used my own stuff everywhere else. They sounded good for the rhythms, but too thin of a sound for the solos.
My oldest guitar is my Gibson Explored 1978. It's the only guitar I have that is store bought. The rest of my guitars have been custom made for me. My oldest custom-made guitar is called the Holy Guitar. It's a 15-year-old Stratocaster made by Karl Sandoval. It is my main guitar. It has Humbuckers Floyd Rose and it has a single coil in the middle. It's pretty ugly. It has knots in the body and is burned by the stove. I also have another Stratocaster made by Karl Sandoval. It has the same set up, but I spray painted it black. I call it my Black Guitar. It is a back up guitar. I also have something I call a Baritone Guitar. It is pretty much close to a bass. I keep it tuned down to a low G or F sharp. I call it the Snowplow. Next is the Slippery Hog Guitar. The designer calls it a Drop 6. It's like a Baritone. It is tuned to a low B or A for the lower stuff. It too has the same set up and Strat body as my other custom guitars. Dave Cervantes is the guitar guy right now. He does all the work on my guitars these days. He made the Snowplow and the Slippery Hog. He is a guitarist/guitar designer, inventor, and innovator type guy. He's real creative and he comes up with all kinds of weird ideas and instruments that he makes. He's a pretty gifted guy. He does all the repairing and building on my guitars and I do the entire cosmetic on them. None of my guitars have a paint job on them except the Alien guitar. All my guitars are all made of Alder wood. Dave gives me the body and I destroy the naked raw wood as much as I want to, so that they feel and look comfortable to me. Usually by burning them on my stove. Some have different things nailed into them. One has solder poured into some holes Dave drilled into it .Dave's working on a new guitar and neck for me now .Its called the KAZM.. It will have a Drop 6 tuned to A.The body is a strat shape with a huge knot in it..Basically I like to make them as ugly as I can.
None of my guitars have paint or lacquer on the backs of their neck. They're all just wood. I like the feel of the natural wood. I also use a lot of that stuff called Finger Ease. Does it make me play faster? NO! It's just a lubricant. Some things work better when they're wet. Some things work better when they're slippery. When I play my hand gets sweaty. Finger Ease keeps my hand from sticking. It's just much more comfortable.
As far as strings, I use 9 or 10 gauge.
There are no other guitars just like mine. They have a unique look and sound that I personally like.
I also use a Splitter, which allows me to use up to 4 Heads at one time if I'm playing the bigger places. Usually I will use 2 Heads, depending on what I'm playing.
The only store bought guitar that I would like to own one day would be a Gibson LesPaul 1959.They are hard to fine.. I've used those in the past and really liked them. Other than that I'm happy with my arsenal of guitars and amps.
I've used the same amps and most of these guitars for a long time. I don't switch to different guitars and amps because I'm happy with the way these play and sound. Usually if there is something wrong with the sound or something wrong with what's going on, it's my fault as a player. It's not my gear's fault, because it all sounds great. So it's up to me to learn to play the best I can. It would be hard to have my own sound if I kept changing amps all the time. I like their fat sound.
Guitars, amps, effects, and so on, they all mean a lot. But your fingers and your feel and the way you play are just as important to making your own unique sound. The way you pick, the way you hit the strings, the way you finger the chords, all of that is part of your signature.
I know some people who think if you walk in and buy an Eddie Van Halen guitar and a 5150 that they are going to sound like Eddie Van Halen . That's the biggest crock in the world. It just isn't like that. Those players, like Eddie, Carlos Santana, Angus Young, Alan Holsworth, and Tony Iommi; (the list goes on) do have their own personal gear, but when they pick up an instrument you know it's them because it's coming out of their guts, souls, and their balls! Having your own real signature---which is what it's about to me.
There are a lot of great new bands that I like today. Good singers that might not be singing traditionally, but they have their own sound. Tool, Stained, I think Korn is good. They came out with that low stuff. They all seem to have their own sound. The main thing to me is that when any musician sings or plays their instrument, that they have their own identity!