Carl Martin Effects Launches Greg Howe's Lick Box Pedal

(Image credit: Carl Martin)

While chatting over a, um, “coffee” a while back, guitar ace Greg Howe asked Carl Martin whether he could develop a pedal that would re-create his signature sound. A pedal that would combine Greg’s unique High Gain and Crunch tones, but allow him to manipulate these sounds and layer them for even more guitar fun.

A little unorthodox, yes, but Carl was never one to back down from a challenge, nor one to think inside the box. The result is the Greg Howe Signature Lick Box—better known as Greg Howe's Lick Box. Not only does it fulfill Greg’s requirements, but it adds even more great tones to his palette.

So what is this crazy pedal? At first glance it looks like many other Carl Martin pedals. There is a High Gain channel that has loads of bottom end and nice crisp highs, a very dynamic Crunch channel that emphasizes the mids with very little compression and, of course, that famous 12db Boost channel we're all so familiar with.

So that’s it? The High Gain and Crunch channels were voiced to Greg’s specs, but it’s still just a pedal based on Greg Howe’s signature tones?

Nope. Underneath the simple cosmetics is a rethinking of how these channels work together. Yes, you can use the High Gain or Crunch channels on their own, and you can adjust the tone for each with its dedicated Tone control, and yes, you also can add up to 12 db of crystal clean Boost to either of those channels—but you also can turn on both gain channels together.

By placing the High Gain first in the chain, you allow the Crunch voicing to overrule the High Gain while adding a few db to your volume. You lose some of the lows and highs, but this results in a focused and controlled mid-range that cuts through the mix. Of course, you can add up to 12 db of clean Boost as well for meatier leads dripping with tone and sustain.

Greg's Howe Lick Box features the usual cast metal casing, the high-quality switches with "on" indicating LEDs, and the new Carl Martin DC/DC converter circuitry. This new power circuit allows you to use a 9V Power Supply while still maintaining the +- 12V circuitry that is crucial for component quality and extra headroom above most 9V pedals. We recommend the Carl Martin ProPower Version 2 as the power supply of choice. Power consumption is a surprising 150 mA.

Greg Howe's Lick Box is available for MSRP $380, Street $266.

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Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.