THE GIBSON LES PAUL FIREBRAND
Production ran from 1980 to 1983(?) for this model out of Nashville and Steve was seen with this guitar at the San Remo Festival in 1988.
(There was a similar guitar from Gibson which started production a little earlier [circa 1978] known as “The Paul”. The Standard version was made from Walnut and the Deluxe version from Mahogany.)
The Gibson Les Paul Firebrand model features a solid mahogany body with natural finish. It’s a non-lacquered (non-gloss) finish giving the guitar a vintage rustic appearance. No binding. The neck is mahogany with an ebony fretboard and 22 jumbo frets and pearl-dot inlays.
The headstock has the Gibson branded logo burned into it and on most Firebrands the truss rod cover would have “LP Firebrand” on it. I think Steve’s would have this but it is hard to be sure as I have not yet come across an image with a clear enough view of the headstock.
The hardware on the Firebrand is all chrome finished and they came with Grover tuners and two Gibson “T-Top” black exposed humbucker pickups with black surround and black control knobs.
The other notable difference with this guitar is that the 3-way selector switch is located down beside the volume and tone controls instead of its usual spot at the top front (neck) area of a Les Paul.
Having read some customer reviews over the years about this guitar it is believed to have a solid heavy natural tone and great sustain qualities making it an all-round fine rock guitar.
THE BLACK DEAN CADILLAC
This is one of the Dean guitars that Steve owned but I have never seen him on stage with it anywhere. He donated it to the Hard Rock Cafe where it was proudly displayed in London’s HRC for some years in the early 90’s.
Steve Clark: Dean
Serial No. 8307530
“It’s a custom three-pickup” is what Tap’s Nigel Tufnel might tell you, but there’s more to this Dean than just its triple humbuckers. Formerly owned by renowned guitar collector, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, this pointy Dean, which features a Kahler tremolo system, found its way into the hands of Brit rocker Steve Clark.
Steve’s work on Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria‘ and ‘Pyromania‘ albums will serve as a constant reminder of his talents. This Dean was donated to the Hard Rock by Steve just two weeks before he died.
SOURCE: Guitarist Magazine | 1992
The guitar also features gold hardware, an ebony fingerboard, pearl block inlays and the “shrimp fork” headstock design.
THE BLACK FENDER STRATOCASTER
The guitar in which Steve is holding in the photo to the left is a Fender Stratocaster built circa 1978 – 1981. It’s a “Made In USA” model, with a fast maple neck (Fender micro-neck), Kahler flat mount tremolo system, 2 Fender US Standard single coil pickups and the bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan Hot Strat Stack – for high output & sustain… so you could say he had this one “hot-rodded”.
One would assume that this was a guitar that he used either in the studio or for personal use. It has the larger 70’s headstock. To the left side of the photo you can see some of the collection of guitars that Steve had built up. If you look closely you may spot his Gibson Les Paul XR-1 between two black Les Paul Customs. Note that here (post Pyromania tour) the XR-1 has had a Kahler tremolo unit fitted.
The guitars to the right are some of Phil Collens’.