Guitar Technician for Mick Box
We caught Chris during some rare downtime
the opportunity to ask the questions below.
Thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer them so candidly !
His website is www.gtech64.com
Net What Guitars does he keep home for fear of them being stolen or
Mick still has some great guitars at home, A very nice Gibson SG, a Gibson 335 and some great Martin and Furch Acoustics, a beautiful Buddy Holly type Fender Stratocaster and many others.
Box Net Custom Guitars - we know he has had more than a few made for him. Can you tell us about them, both Acoustic and Electric?
He has lovely Electric Guitar the Ruokangas Duke guitar
( Mick Box Signature ) made by a luthier in Finland called Juha Ruokangas
He also has a beautiful acoustic called
“Amelia “ that was made for him by a luthier in Canada called Randy
Box Net He has told me 17
have been stolen through the years... is that still true or has the number
Box Net His Amp of choice is
a Marshall of course. What head and speaker combination is he using now?
Box Net In the past, his
pedal board was quite a bit "fuller" - what's the effects he has on the
floor these days?
How long have you been his guitar technician? What were your gigs in the
past? Do you have a website we can plug?
Mick first contacted me in 2004, I was living in Germany at the time and Mick needed a stand in tech to cover for Steve for a few gigs, Andy Scott from the Sweet gave him my number and i jumped at the chance to work for him, I did a few gigs as a stand in then at the start of 2005 Mick took me on full time. You can check out my Web Site at www.gtech64.com
Box Net The Wah...
Over the years, he has had a few different varieties - what's the current model he uses?
What's his favorite? Is his wah-wah modified in any way?
He now uses the original Dunlop Crybaby, It really is the best . We had one hot rodded by Robert Keely which sounds ok, But if it ain't broke don't mess with it... Dunlop got it right first time.
Box Net His Wah style now as compared to earlier - as on Salisbury and earlier and a bit later, the wah was very pronounced - of course the song may call for that , but generally, does he have it on all the time and use it to "come through the background" for leads or does he keep it off most of the time?
The "Whakker" is used for the solos or to accent a part in a song
Box Net Most times, I think he uses it sparingly - pronounced, but not WAH WAH WAH if you know what I mean. Does he cite any influences for his style of Wah?
People should be citing HIM as an influence....
He is after all the King of Wah...
Box Net Has he ever used an Auto-Wah?
Box Net Mick doesn't appear to go for the multi-function gear as on the all in one pedal boards out there, but rather he is using a few effects on stage (and with great results I might add), does he ever play around with pedals that we don't see or know about?
Oh we have so many pedals you would not believe it... Mick likes to try out different pedals to see which ones work for him, I will get an E-Mail from him asking " Have you heard about the ??????? Pedal ?" and that's my hint to beg, steal or borrow one for him to try.
Box Net Acoustic Guitar
What does he use as his fav?
What kinds of Strings?
Does he Mic it live with an onboard pickup or is it picked up by his vocal mic?
Mick has some very nice Acoustics By Furch and Martin, But live we mostly use the Variaxe, It's a Modeling guitar which means it can sound like just about any guitar you can think of Including 12 string, Sitar and BANJO (dont ask) Again he has light gauge strings 11 gauge Phosphor Bronze .
This goes into an AER acoustic amp sat between Micks Monitors then fed to the Monitor engineer and to Charlotte out front.
Box Net When playing live, what are your main functions?
I set up the amps and pedals, Then Clean, Re-Sring and tune the guitars, Fixing anything that needs it along the way. I will then play the guitars for a while to bed the new strings in. Gig time i hand Mick his guitar Then spend most of the show reeling his guitar cable in and out trying to keep it from under his feet, When he needs the Acoustic i will hand it to him, While muting the Electric and activating the acoustic by a switching system i have by my work station. Then i pack it all away and go for a beer.
Box Net Does he have spare heads in case his main ones blow?
We always have at least two amps
Box Net Are his Marshalls modified in any way?
Box Net Does Mick have a preference for a specific year and/or Model Marshall?
If it's a JCM800 or an SLP he can make them work.
Box Net Are there ever problems when the backline isn't what he expects - IE: How do you deal with a Marshall, that just doesn't want to be one that night?
It has happened, With rented gear your never quite sure how well it's been maintained or how good the valves are. Mick's a pro to the letter He just grits his teeth and does what he does best.
Box Net Does he have more than one Black Beauty?
He has two.
Box Net Does Mick write on an acoustic or electric, or both?
Box Net Home recording - I remember in New York one time, Mick and I were at Mannys Music, and he was looking for some home gear. I know he's been through some now - what's current?
Mick has just had ProTools installed, And considering his luck with computers (Not Good) I thought that was very brave of him.
Box Net Is there a recording studio at his house?
Box Net Mick Stage presence is legendary - his "hand trilling the strings" where his fretting fingers follow his left hand up and down the neck, the famous Mick move where he "pulls" the sound from above and "splashes it" on the fans - I'm sure the readers would like to know how Mick describes what these mean to him.
Well you would have to ask him about that. It does look cool though
Box Net Does he do anything specific as far as limbering up his fingers before a gig (like backstage) or does he just go out there, warm up with the band and so forth?
The band will all do a sound check together, But Mick has no warming up routine, He's done this for so long I think his fingers know what to do by now.
Box Net Does/Did Mick play a Nylon string anywhere? At home? On Record?
Yes he has 3 Nylon strung guitars.
1 x Furch Nylon Strung
1 x Furch Nylon Strung with cutaway and pick up.
1 x no name nylon strung guitar I bought back from Spain in 1969
Box Net Any special Tunings IE: Dropped D, Open E, etc ?
We tune to standard 440 except for "The wizard" where the whole thing is tuned down one step and then the low E is dropped again to a C
Box Net Your worst fear of equipment failure - what's the one thing that you fear will happen but hasn't yet?
Well I basically have two of everything, But things can and do still go down Leads, Amps, Pedals, I guess that if we blow both the amps then thats pretty bad
Box Net His Amp - can you tell us the settings (vol, bass, treble channels 1+2 joined?) You know, that sort of thing.
Well it depends on the room and the stage, They all affect the sound, But the Vol is always on 10 Bass around 5 , Mid around 4, and Treble around 7/ 8
Box Net Does he tune by ear or with a tuner while on stage?
I get the guitars in tune with a Peterson strobe tuner and Mick has a Boss pedal tuner in his pedalboard
Box Net What can you fill us in on that I haven't asked you ?
I have been in this business for over 20 years, Working for Mick is by far and away the best job I have ever had, Not only is he a rock legend but also a true gentleman.
I stand at the side of the stage and watch him play and it annoys me that the man is so underrated. To be able to call Mick a friend is truly an honor.
We have had a few interesting times together and his humour and positive outlook is a true inspiration to me. Is there a better gig out there ? Maybe . Would I swap ??
Is there a cooler guy than Mick to work for ?? I doubt it !
Now where did I put that bottle of Jack ??