Motley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars has gone through hundreds of guitars during his impressive 33-year career with the band, and continues to be a collector of vintage instruments today. Born as Robert Alan Deal, Mick's primary axe in the early Crüe days was a 1972 Gibson Les Paul Custom, recording the band's classic albums Too Fast for Love and Shout at the Devil with it. Mars added several other guitars to his playing rotation over the next few years, but the Les Paul continued to be his favorite guitar until the early 90s, when he developed an affection for Fender Strats. Mars purchased his first Strat for $1,200 during the Girls, Girls, Girls tour, using it on the band's 1994 self-titled album featuring John Corabi on vocals. That Strat, pieced together from a '63, a '64 and a '65 is still in use today by Mars, while the Les Paul Custom he used on Too Fast... now hangs in a Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, Florida.
When Motley Crüe exploded following the release of Theatre of Pain, Mick began being inundated with guitar makers asking him to play their instruments. Alot of the guitars coming out in those days were the pointy, heavy metal variety such as B.S. Rich's Warlock and Jackson's Randy Rhoads model. Mars never really liked any of those guitars, and would eventually either break or sell them all off when the band ran into financial difficulty in the late 90s. Mars acquired a handful of vintage instruments during the 80s, but really became a collector in the mid '90s, amassing quite an impressive collection by the time he had to start selling them off. Thanks to a recent resurgence in the Crüe's popularity, Mars has built up his collection again and currently has over 100 guitars in his arsenal. While Mick's main axe has been a Strat for the last decade or so, he is still able to produce a thick, grinding metal tone generally associated with Les Pauls. He achieves the feat by using humbuckers on the bridge rather than the typical single-coil found on Strats. Most of Mick's guitars are outfitted with custom, high-output pickups from J.M. Rolph, though he also likes Gibson's T-Top pickups.
Mars produces his sound on tour with a careful selection of amp heads, cabinets and effects, just as he produced his sound in the studio in the old days. These days, Mars has turned to Pro Tools for recording purposes, generating his signature sound with the handy Pro Tools plugin Eleven LE, which delivers dozens of different amp tones, including the same rigs he uses live. Mick Mars has always preferred shaping his sound with fewer effects than most metal guitarists, but considers the Eventide H3000 Harmonizer a key element to his sound. As for strings, the majority of Mick's axes are adorned with .11-.50 gauge strings from Ernie Ball, the same company that makes the picks he prefers to use. The list below is not intended to be a complete list of every guitar Mick has owned, but rather a list of his preferred instruments. As mentioned before, Mick owns over a hundred guitars at last count, with many of those being the same model.