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When Def Leppard first embarked on their career, after being signed up by a record company and management team, the guitars Steve would be seen with live on stage most frequently were a white Hamer Standard, a Hamer Special and a Gibson Les Paul Standard which was stock.
Steve also owned a Cherry Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Deluxe which he had fitted with Seymour Duncan ’59 pick-ups. This guitar made appearances on the High ‘n’ Dry tour.
The Gibson Les Paul Standard, as said above, is an all-stock Gibson. This guitar features a lovely vintage sunburst finish and would also make several appearances on the Pyromania tour with Steve later where he would by then, have made a couple of changes to the guitar in changing the tuners on the headstock to Grovers and removing the pick-up covers. Either that or he had a second very similar Les Paul Standard.
The Hamer Standard’s style and design bears resemblance to the Gibson Explorer. It’s most likely that the white Hamer Standard that Steve was seen playing in the early days was in fact one that belonged to Pete Willis. It’s a 1979 model with matching white body and headstock. Both the body and neck are handcrafted from Honduras mahogany but has no maple top like many of the other stock Hamer’s had and it’s also unusual in that it has no body binding. The neck consisting of 22 frets, a rosewood fingerboard and mother-of-pearl dot inlay’s. The headstock would most likely be fitted with Grover tuners. (During mid-to-late ’79 Hamer changed the Grover tuners to Schallers).
This Standard was fitted with two DiMarzio PAF Humbuckers, wound to Hamer’s specifications, a three-way selector switch, two tone and one volume control and an adjustable bridge & tailpiece.
The Hamer Specialwas introduced in 1980. This guitar features a double-cutaway unbound mahogany body with a flat flame maple top. Again the Special featured a mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets and a headstock with 3 pegs to a side. Hardware consisted of two Di Marzio PAF humbuckers (a zebra for the neck and cream for the bridge), a Sustain Block bridge, Schaller tuners (although Steve may well have had his fitted with Grovers) and the selector switch and tone and volume controls. Steve’s Special is finished in Sunburst.
Steve’s Cherry Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Deluxe(pictured below during the High n Dry Tour – 1981) was also a stock Gibson except for the pick-ups which were the Seymour Duncan ’59 pick-ups. This guitar also appeared later on the Pyromania tour.