DEF HISTORY: GUITARS AT WISSELOORD

Hysteria recording sessions, Wisseloord Studios, Holland

The photo to the right captures another great moment in the history of Def Leppard.  The location is Wisseloord Studios during the Hysteria album recording sessions. We have a great display of 16 electric guitars with their respective owners standing behind them – Mr Steve Clark and Mr Phil Collen.

Flanked by The Terror Twins himself is one Dave Story from Kahler USA. To the outer left is Malvin Mortimer (Steve’s guitar tech) and to the outer right is Mike Rogers (Phil’s guitar tech).

Mike Rogers explains: “The Dave Story pic was taken during our first few weeks at Wisseloord. It was the first time the band were stationary in over a year and Story came over to see what we wanted vis-a-vis Kahler tailpieces.”

From studying the guitars in the photo, here’s some brief details of what I know at the time of writing. This will be subject to updates as and when more detail is obtained.

  • No. 1 This is I think, one of Steve’s (new at the time) custom spec. Gibson Les Paul Custom’s with the Kahler and Dirty Fingers pickup in the bridge.
  • No. 2 This is a Hamer… looks like a Hamer Standard and fitted with a Kahler, I am guessing one of Steve’s?
  • No. 3 I think this could be Phil’s Les Paul Custom which I have seen him use on the Pyromania tour. I know it had the mirrored pick guard and the Kahler is fitted.

From Left-Right: Malvin Mortimer, Steve Clark, Dave Storey, Phil Collen, Mike Rogers

  • No. 4 Phil’s Fender Stratocaster that he named “Felix”. Fitted with a humbucker pickup in the bridge. I know “Felix” underwent many different configurations of different types of pickups/trems etc. over the course of time. This is the one that was used to record a lot of the Hysteria album guitars with.
  • No. 5 & 6 Both are Fender Telecasters… I assume one is Phil’s and one is Steve’s? From what I can see they both look quite similar. I have seen Steve with a black telecaster in some studio photos by Ross Halfin. Also when Def Leppard appeared on BBC’s Top of the Pops for the single Pour Some Sugar On Me, Steve used a black telecaster on this occasion too. A rare thing to see.
  • No. 7 Another Fender Stratocaster. This one is Steve’s black Stratocaster. The Kahler trem unit has been fitted but as of yet the stock bridge pickup had not been swapped for the red Seymour Duncan Hot Strat Stack which appeared in some later photos with Steve and this guitar.
  • No. 8 & 9  Two of Phil’s Ibanez Destroyers. I’m unsure from this photo if one of these may be his original one (which had a bolt-on neck and was used on the Pyromania tour) or if they are both newer models (with neck-through-body) from Ibanez.
  • No. 10 This is Steve’s Gibson Les Paul “Heritage 1980 Standard” in Cherry sunburst, which I have seen in one or two other photos. I think Steve may have used this one at the Monsters of Rock festival and on the Hysteria tour very occasionally – as a backup guitar perhaps?  A Kahler was later added to this one also.
  • No. 11 The gorgeous Tobacco sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard. This guitar was used by Steve on his earlier tours and was sadly a victim of theft from Wisseloord studios during this period.
  • No. 12 This is a Charvel guitar… one of Phil’s but I’m unsure of the exact model or spec. but a Kahler has been mounted.
  • No. 13  I have no idea what this guitar is. It looks like a cross between the old Gibson Nighthawk (Body shape) and a Fender Telecaster-style hardware & control knobs set-up? Could it be a Hamer? Can’t make out the headstock logo or design. Answers on a postcard please…
  • No. 14 This is Phil’s blue Dean Standard that we see him with in the promotional video for Me and My Wine.
  • No. 15 Another  one I have no idea about as I’ve never seen it in the hands of any of the Leppard’s before. It looks like a (Gibson) Les Paul, with something like a Gold top and what looks like a baked maple fingerboard board, just going by the colour. It isn’t really the normal for a Les Paul although I know there were a few made by Gibson from time to time.
  • No. 16 Steve’s Gibson Les Paul XR-1 from the Pyromania tour. In this image it has been fitted with the Kahler trem unit.