Phil Collen – Guitar Blog #10

09/11/2014 - 00:56

See photos HERE


Here's my last guitar blog from the summer tour. I'll wrap it up by mentioning two guitars that only made one night appearances on this tour and give a few words about the X-Stroyer as it made it onstage every night of the tour.  


Since we were in Mexico City I'll mention the Teotihuacan mask given to me at the Teotihuacan pyramids just outside Mexico City about nine years ago. Ironically I visited those same pyramids again and bumped into the person affectionately known as 'Gorilla' to his friends who gave me my mask. This mask is also the muse for the face that appears on 'Maya' adorning the first fret and two other of my Jackson Supreme guitars (including the grey one which is still on display at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas).


First off the Jackson PC-1 in trans black metallic (Tranny):
This guitar has the usual Dimarzio super 3 and HS-2 pickups with a Jackson sustainer/driver pickup in the neck position. It has FU-TONE saddles and titanium block, a maple neck and fingerboard and D'Addario 13-54 gauge strings. I played it on 'Let's Get Rocked’.  You can also see this guitar in the 'Nine Lives' video with Tim Mcgraw.


Next up is the Jackson Telecaster. This guitar was custom made in the early 2000s. It originally had a maple neck and fingerboard but it never worked 100% for me. It sounded good and made it out on a few tours but it didn't make me want to play it. When my friend Lance suggested how good it would look with a rosewood fingerboard I asked the Jackson custom shop if they could give it a makeover. Mike Shannon created a beautiful fat neck with a rosewood fingerboard. I couldn't put it down after it arrived on tour, taking it to the hotel room everyday. I played it once onstage this summer I think, at Bristow, Virginia on 'Love Bites'. I'll be playing it in the studio on two new Delta Deep songs next week when I get home off tour. It has an ash body, a Dimarzio Area Hot T pickup in the bridge position and a Dimarzio Area T chrome (DP417C) in the neck position. It has D'Addario 13-54 gauge strings. After Scott set it up it feels very different to my PC-1's although it does have a PC-1 neck on it. Mainly because it has a fixed bridge and not my usual tremelo, floating bridge setup now it plays and sounds amazing.


The Jackson PC X-Stroyer continued to wow me on the whole tour. The sound was spectacular and I put this down to there being so much wood involved. It's such a mass of wood making it rather heavy (and I do have some really heavy guitars). With all the bells and whistles that are featured on the PC-1's and Supremes it comes out and slays. Having said that it's nowhere near as comfortable to play as a PC-1 and I wouldn't dream of playing it all night, which I have done with some of my PC-1's-most notably my old green and first one 'Kermit' that stayed in tune all night for the live recording of the Cybernauts live concert in 1996. The X-Stroyer isn't a production model but I'm sure it'll be available as a custom guitar if anyone's man enough for it.


I'd like to thank everyone who came and saw us on this tour; Scott Appleton who made the guitars perform like the champs that they are; Gabriel who is traveling with us on the Mexico leg of the tour who showed us around and shared with me and Helen the most amazing cultural experiences in Mexico City; and my lovely wife Helen Collen who made me and my guitars look great with her excellent photography.

DEF LEPPARD to appear on Paul McCartney Tribute compilation The Art of Paul McCartney featuring covers of songs by McCartney during his tenures in the Beatles and Wings and as a solo artist.  Read the full article HERE

Watch now!.  All photos by Helen Collen.


Def Leppard inducted into the Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame. Thanks to all the fans who voted.  Read about HERE

New Show Dates Announced

08/28/2014 - 19:48

DEF LEPPARD has added another new date this October in California.  Tickets on sale now HERE


October 30th  - Santa Ynez, CA (Chumash Casino)

Jackson-Bela - See all photos HERE

This guitar has been in and on many magazine covers and articles with and without me not to mention Def Leppard videos. It currently resides at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland Ohio in a coffin-well a glass case actually but close enough considering the face painted on the guitar. 


The artwork was done by Dan Lawrence. During the recording of the Hysteria album I ordered my second custom Jackson guitar (the first being the cracked black and silver Soloist in the 'Women' and 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' videos). Grover Jackson, the name where the Jackson guitars title comes from said, "You know we could paint anything on a guitar and even make it glow in the dark". Back in the 80s when Grover still owned Jackson Guitars he was pretty hands on. Many a time he would come out on tour, make sketches that would later take shape on wood, and eventually become a guitar. I'd also go to the old factory and Grover would take a saw to a guitar and hack a new shape. I even have a prototype Phil Collen guitar at home that has pencil marks and is totally raw which was hacked out by Grover (I'll take a photo and share it with you all when I get home). Anyway Grover said, "If you get me a photo we can copy it." Being a horror movie buff like Grover I went to Forbidden Planet, a comic and memorabilia store in London and got an 8x10 black and white photo of Bela Lugosi, arguably the most famous film version of the vampire Dracula and sent it out to California to the Jackson factory.There's a story about when the artwork and specs were left on a table and the next day a vampire bat was on the wall next to the plans when everybody came into work in the morning. That aside the guitar was finally finished and made it's first live appearance on the Hysteria tour. 


The guitar itself is/was a Jackson dinky with a bolt on neck. It originally had a Khaler trem system on it as did a lot of my early guitars mainly because my friend and red hot guitar player Rudi Riviere knew the tremelo bridge's systems inventor Dave Story when he designed the trem in London. The guitar has been through some major changes over the years but still glows like crazy when the lights go out. I had Dimarzio super distortion humbuckers put in as the guitar has 2 hum buckers, not that you can see them as they have plastic covers painted over. It has an ebony fingerboard with shark fin inlays and I eventually had a Floyd Rose tremelo system installed with an FU-tone titanium block. 


This guitar has improved with age and sounds better than it ever did. I've had it for 28 years. You can hear this guitar on the first half of the solo on 'Let's Get Rocked' and see it on the videos 'Animal', 'Armageddon It', 'and 'Rock On'. You can also hear it on the live version of 'Nine Lives' on the Mirrorball album. 


I just got to play it for one night only (Tues Aug 26th) when we played Cuyahoga Falls near Cleveland. I would like to thank the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum's Shelby Morrison, Mngr of Artist & VIP Relations and Amanda Pecsenye-Registrar for bringing, hanging with us, and later collecting Bela at our Cleveland Show at the Blossom Music Center. Scotty set it up and re-strung it. I played it on 'Love Bites', 'Let's Get Rocked', 'Armageddon It', and 'Sugar' before it had to be returned to it's crypt before daylight. You can see Bela on display anytime at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. I'll probably get it back next year so it can go on our 2015 world tour with me, of course.

D.L. will perform the pre-game show at the first of this year’s three NFL International Series games on Sunday 28 September, when the Oakland Raiders host the Miami Dolphins.  Click on image to watch the announcement video below.

Joe Elliott states “Having most recently visited Wembley in May to watch Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi-final, I know what the atmosphere in the ground is like for ‘our’ football so I’m really looking forward to performing there before the NFL game and of course soaking up the excitement of the actual match. I can’t wait!”


“Having Def Leppard perform at Wembley is going to be very exciting and a lot of fun,” said Alistair Kirkwood, Managing Director of NFLUK. “We know their performance will get Wembley pumping, have the fans on their feet and set the tone for a great game.”


A limited number of tickets returned by the participating teams will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Thursday September 4 via


The Raiders-Dolphins game will kick off at 6:00 p.m. UK time (1:00p.m. ET) and will be aired live in the UK on Channel 4 and Sky Sports and in the US on CBS.


For more info vist

Check out Rock Paper Photo's exclusive new offer: a limited edition print of Joe Elliott personally autographed by him. Shot by award-winning music photographer Maryanne Bilham, this 16x20" archival pigment print is sure to be a collector's item. Only 50 available!  Details HERE

Jackson PC-1 (London 57) - See photos HERE

This guitar was a surprise gift for my 50th birthday, orchestrated by Scott Appleton and kept quiet by Jackson Guitars. Unfortunately, its production was held up so it appeared on my 51st birthday. Scott had done the initial artwork which states my birthplace and date in old English font (for anyone who wondered what those markings meant on the guitar). It was further enhanced by our lovely wardrobe and dressing room coordinator Lesley Mortimer-Wallace when she blinged and bejeweled my guitar out in the same Swarovski crystals she used on my microphone stand that you can see in one of these photos below. 


London 57 has had much love from me and is one of my 'go to' guitars i.e. tv appearances, The Voice & other event performances, and recording sessions. It's faithful and sounds killer. London 57 is a classic Jackson PC-1 with a mahogany body with a maple top. It has a slightly larger than standard maple neck and fingerboard. It's fitted with a Floyd Rose trem with FU-Tone titanium saddles and block, a Dimarzio super 3 in the bridge position, an HS-2 in the middle and the Jackson driver/sustainer in the neck position. It's strung with D'Addario 13-54 gauge strings. I play this guitar on the electric part of 'Bringing on The Heartbreak' and 'Switch 625' on this tour.

Win an autographed DiMarzio Super 3 pickups.  Upload your photo of Phil with any of his guitars from the 2014 summer tour w/ KISS and be entered to win.  U.S. residents only and must be at least 18 years of age.  Enter HERE



"One of the Boys" goes Top 20 on the U.S. "classic rock" radio chart, moving up to #19!  Watch the official video now!