All Steve’s touring guitars (solid bodies only) are Gibsons. While it’s a well-known fact that he has an endorsement with Gibson, could the real reason be that he is a Gibson freak?

As we said in last months issue, his [Steve’s] main guitar of late is a white Les Paul Custom (photo 6 in gallery below). This is mounted with three Gibson PAF [1959 style] humbucking pick-ups with their covers removed. In addition to the familiar circuit where the pick up selector switches between front / centre + rear / rear positions, the volume pot for the centre + rear position uses a push pull type pot which acts as a coil tap switch to allow the centre and rear pickups to be simultaneously switched to single coil. The tremolo system is a Kahler #2200K.

The black Les Paul Custom (photo 7) is a new acquisition and differs slightly from his older one. The circuitry is the same as on the white one but the black one differs in that there is a Gibson Dirty Fingers mounted in the rear pick up position and for the tremolo he has chosen a Kahler #2200B. Also, the twelfth fret position marker is his name “Steve” and the pegs are different. The only point of difference with his black Les Paul Custom from before is the coil tap part, so for the most part they look the same.

The Gibson Firebird in photo 8 is a limited production 1976 Firebird, which was made to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the U.S.A., is mounted with a Kahler #2200B tremolo. While it looks similar to a vintage Firebird III, there is no binding on the fingerboard and the quickest way to tell them apart is by the unique red,white and blue Firebird logo on the scratch plates with stars and a small “76” – standard Firebird logos are plain and all red. This is the most visible way of noticing one. On the rear of the headstock it should also have Limited Edition stamped on the back and if it was made in 1976 the serial number should begin with a “00”.

The other Gibson Firebird with 3 pick-ups in photo 9 was custom made for Steve. It resembles a vintage Firebird VII but the position marks are trapezoids and the pegs are Grover Mini Rotomatics. Also, the centre / rear volume pot is a push-pull type coil tap switch for the centre and rear pick-ups.

The last guitar is a familiar Gibson EDS 1275 W-neck (photo 10). This model is a relatively newly built 6-string 12-string combination.

Both Phil [Collen] and Steve use a sound system [for this tour] consisting of a Randall RG100 guitar pre-amp and T.C.1210 from TC Electronics (Expander + stereo chorus / flanger) and a T.C.2290 (digital delay).

Later on the Hysteria Tour when Love Bites was released as a single Steve would be seen on stage with a Fender Stratocaster – which was a fairly rare thing to see with Steve being primarily a Gibson man at this point in his career.

This Stratocaster is the one that he uses in the video for the“Love Bites” single. Steve had stated in an interview in Guitarist magazine in 1988 that he had a Fender Stratocaster fitted with Bill Lawrence pickups. Bill Lawrence pickups are renowned for their excellent tonal qualities. I assume that it is this guitar he’s referring to regarding those pickups, but I cannot be sure.

Steve’s “Love Bites” strat is a Fender (unsure if it’s a “Made In Japan” or a “Made In USA”) with the standard SSS configuration. It also has a rosewood fingerboard and is finished in the very nice gunmetal blue colour, looking similar to one that Jimmy Page had. It’s also fitted with a Kahler “Traditional Series” 2520 fulcrum tremolo unit.

Obviously most of the guitars featured on this page were the main guitars Steve used on the Hysteria World Tour from the start. However, we know that he ordered up more from Gibson as the tour progressed (as in the above-mentioned Fender Stratocaster) and was later seen with another black Les Paul Custom with all-black hardware, and a white EDS-1275 doubleneck custom fitted with a Kahler Flat Mount Tremolo system and custom pick-ups on the 12-string neck.