Steve Rothery of Marillion Q&A

We ask a famous guitarist all those gear-y type questions you really want the answers to...

This month: Marillion's Steve Rothery

Q: Do you have a type of pick that you can't live without?

A: We have picks made for each tour. Standard size and shape and medium thickness

Q: If you had to give up all your pedals but three, what would they be?

A: TC Electronic 2290 because it's the best delay/effects controller ever made; Roger Linn Adrenalinn because it's such an inspirational unit, especially when driven by MIDI clock; Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere, a gritty and authentic sounding Leslie effect.

Q: Do you play another instrument well enough to be in a band?

A: I play bass guitar on my latest Wishing Tree album, Ostara. It's something I really enjoy.

Q: If a music chart were put in front of you, could you read it?

A: Possibly, but very slowly!

Q: Do guitar cables really make a difference? What make are yours?

A: Yes they do. Evidence audio and George L cables for me.

Q: Is there anyone's playing (past or present) that you're slightly jealous of?

A: Jeff Beck, because he's never lost the fire - unlike his contemporaries. I walked past him at Heathrow a couple of weeks ago and wished I'd had the nerve to tell him in how much regard I hold him (I did meet him in the studio about twenty years ago).

Q: Your house/studio is burning down: which guitar do you salvage?

A: The prototype of my Jack Dent Steve Rothery model: the only one in the world and a stunning guitar.

Q: What's your favourite amp and how do you set it?

A: It's a Groove Tubes Trio preamp and Dual 75 power amp. The three channels of the Trio are set:

Clean - full and warm sounding
Mean - slightly distorted
Scream - full-on distortion

Q: What kind of action do you have on your guitars?

A: It depends on the guitar, but usually low but not very low (so I can still play slide).

Q: What strings do you use?

A: Ernie Ball Super Slinkys 9-42 gauge

Q: What are you up to at the moment?

A: Recording an acoustic album, promoting the upcoming release of the second album of my Wishing Tree project, Ostara, which is released on 7th September (free track download and sound clips at and working with an outstanding guitar builder called Jack Dent from North Carolina on a Steve Rothery model guitar. I'll also be selling/demonstrating Jack's guitars and giving guitar clinics across the world (see for details).