Steve's Guitars, Other Instruments and Equipment

Gibson Les Paul Goldtop
Gibson Les Paul Goldtop

Gibson Les Paul Goldtop
(Photo © Jo Hackett)

These are a few of my favourite things...

Electric guitars

Gibson Les Paul Goldtop

Late 1957 model with twin humbuckers and tune-o-matic bridge/stop tailpiece combination.

Steve: "High points - the Firth of Fifth solo on Selling England by the Pound, not to mention some extraordinary noises on Dancing with the Moonlit Knight both from my own favourite Genesis album."

Gibson Les Paul Custom

Heavily modified with Floyd Rose trem and Roland hex pickup and controls for the Roland GR-700 guitar synth.

Steve: "A really fat sounding guitar with a warm tone plus the added facility of mixing the neck and bridge pick-ups together - creamy, bitey, nutty, crunchy!"

Fender Stratocaster

Black 1970s model, once home to the Gizmotron, of which more at

Steve: "Most famously used on Please Don't Touch plus Wind and Wuthering. Please Don't Touch featured deliberately excessive use of tremolo arm. I was thinking of the swirls that became prevalent in Van Gogh's later work as the madness really set in (his best stuff of course!)."

Schecter Strat

As seen on the cover of 'Timelapse'. Heavily modded to incorporate a Kahler trem and controllers for the Roland GR-300 guitar synth.

Steve: "This was the main guitar used on the GTR sessions with Steve Howe and on tour in the mid 80s."

Giffin Custom Electric

Often seen hanging from John Hackett in the late 70s and early 80s.

Steve: "A really clever guitar. Great for chiming chorus effects."

Fernandes 'Burny' Pink Strat

An early foray into the Fernandes sustainer system.

Steve: "This one has a sound as wild as it looks and obviously appeals to the committed pink voter.."

Steve with Black Fernandes

Steve with Black Fernandes
(Photo © Paul Baldwin)

Fernandes Les Paul Black

With Floyd Rose and sustainer.

Steve: "Currently my favourite electric used throughout my latest album Out of the Tunnelís Mouth."

Fernandes Les Paul Gold

Very similar to the black model.

Steve: "This runs the black Burney a close second. Another great guitar."

Ovation UK2

Steve: "This was my guitar of choice on Highly Strung. Twinned with a Marshall or two it's a mighty sound."

Fender Precision Bass

Steve: "One of the great classic rock stalwarts. Stick it through the right gear and it'll blow your head off. Rock weaponry at its finest."

Jones Electric Sitar

Steve: "I often detune the strings to get long bends and mix with single note samples, sympathetic strings etc for that authentic sound."

See here for an in depth article about choosing guitars by Beginner Guitar HQ:
How to Choose the Best Guitar, 15 Factors to Consider According to Science

Acoustic guitars

Steve with Yiari Acoustic

Steve with Yiari Acoustic
(Photo © Mark Bourdillon)

Yairi nylon

Built in 1973.

Steve: "An acoustic classical guitar I bought because of its projection. Almost pianistic in its sound especially in the bass strings. Heard to good effect on Blood on the Rooftops from Wind and Wuthering and on the Tribute album featuring six pieces of Bach amongst others."

Several Yairi cutaway nylon strings

Steve: "With piezo pickups, primarily for live use. Great for recording too. With light guage Pro Arte d'Addario strings they double as fine flamenco guitars for that snappy sound."

Yairi black steel string

Steve: "A sweet sounding acoustic used on To a Close from Wild Orchids."

Banjo guitar

Steve: "A banjo in regular guitar tuning. Donít knock it until youíve tried it!"

Sitar guitar

Steve: "The Sitar Guitar has got a sound all of its own, not surprisingly half way between a guitar and a sitar. If I'm impersonating the Indian sitar I'll usually record it with sitar samples running alongside, as in Waters of the Wild on Wild Orchids."

Cimar steel string

Steve: "In Nashville tuning which substitutes high strings for low. This makes for very bright rhythm work."

Zemaitis 12-string

Steve: "Mike Rutherford and I used these 12-strings during the mid seventies. They make a wonderful noise, built by the late great Tony Zemaitis. He asked me many years ago what design I wanted whilst showing me a book full of guitars made for several luminaries including Bob Dylan and George Harrison. The guitars looked incredibly ornate and beautiful but when I asked him the all important question - "What will make it sound best?" "Just a plain finish" he answered, so that's what I opted for... "

Zemaitis 12 string Zemaitis 12 string

Zemaitis 12-String (Photo © Jo Hackett)

See here for an in depth article about choosing guitars by Beginner Guitar HQ:
How to Choose the Best Guitar, 15 Factors to Consider According to Science

Marshall 1987x 50 heads

Marshall 1987x 50 heads

Marshall 1960A cabinets

Marshall 1960A cabinets

Digitech Whammy Pedal

Digitech Whammy Pedal

Tech21 Sansamp GT2 distortion pedal

Tech21 Sansamp GT2 distortion pedal

Line6 DL4 Delay

Line6 DL4 Delay

Roland GR-300 guitar synth

Roland GR-300 guitar synth


Marshall 1987x 50 heads

Marshall 1960A cabinets

Peavey Classic 50 Combos

Roland Cube practice amp







Steve's current standard studio setup comprises (in order):


Boss TU12 tuner

Vox Wah V847

Digitech Whammy Pedal

Tech21 Sansamp GT2 distortion pedal

Korg volume pedal

Line6 DL4 Delay


From there the signal is either DI'd and subjected to computer processing (including amp and speaker simulation) or sent to the Marshall 1987x and 1960A. Mic choice and placement varies.

The live rig is essentially the same on the floor, with the addition of a rack containing a TC G-Major for reverb, delay, chorusing duties and a Zoom 9050 unit for some of the more extreme effects. Amplification is currently a two Marshall 1987x amplifiers and two Marshall 1960A cabinets.

Over the years Steve has used too many different effects to list here (not least because we've forgotten many of them) but some devices that have loomed large in the past or still make a cameo appearance from time to time include (in no particular order):


Roland GR-300 guitar synth

Roland GR-700 guitar synth

Shaftesbury Duo Fuzz

Colorsound Tonebender

Lovetone Meatball

Lovetone Big Cheese

Alesis Quadraverb

Pete Cornish treble booster

Boss Heavy Metal pedal

Groovetubes Studio Series Tube Preamp
Actually a pre- and power-amp with built in speaker simulator

EMS Synthi Hi-Fli


Other Instruments

My interest in instruments from around the world continues to grow. During 2014 and 2015 I've collected some more, including a Peruvian charango, oud from Iraq, cigar box guitar and electric dulcimer from the States. I'm also pleased with my new Anolog.Man pedals.

Steve on charango

Steve on charango (Photo © Jo Hackett)

Steve on oud (lute)

Steve on oud (lute) (Photo © Jo Hackett)

Steve on cigar box guitar

Steve on cigar box guitar (Photo © Jo Hackett)

Electric dulcimer

Electric dulcimer - close up of light up LEDs (Photo © Richard Buckland)

Analog Man pedals - Delay and Sunbender

Analog Man pedals - Delay & Sunbender (Photo © Jo Hackett)

Hohner Harmonica

Usually recorded through a Peavey Classic 50 combo, sometimes with a Palmer Speaker Simulator replacing the built in speakers.


Other favoured kit

Moog Taurus Mk1 Bass Pedals



Stomp boxes

Stomp boxes (left to right): Volume pedal, Sans Amp, Gidi-tech, Whammy pedal, Vox Wah Wah and Pete Cornish Iron Boost (Photo © Jo Hackett)

Steve playing his Zemaitis 12 string Zemaitis 12 string

Steve playing his Zemaitis 12-String   |   Enjoying the banjo (Photo © Jo Hackett)

Weilding magic on the Sitar Guitar Small but mighty

Weilding magic on the Sitar Guitar   |   Small but mighty (Photo © Jo Hackett)

Vibrant red toys

Vibrant red toys (Photo © Jo Hackett)

Other Pedals

CostaLab Buffer CostaLab Compressor

Left: CostaLab Buffer & Right: CostaLab Compressor

CostaLab EchoLab CostaLab

Left: CostaLab EchoLab & Right: Click above logo to visit CostaLab

30 minute video soundcheck interview & equipment analysis with Steve by