Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen took a break from their current arena-filling tour to discuss the rigs they are using on their current tour with Kiss. Campbell filled in the history of his life-long love of Les Pauls while Collen took us through his collection of Jacksons and one Strat with serious sentimental value. Guitar techs Scott Appleton, Roger Veage, and Dave “Wolfie” Wolff fill in the details on the rest of the gear.
Phil Collen's Gear
Phil Collen travels with several vaults of spectacular guitars; way too many to cover here, so let’s just go with a few of his favorites. Collen’s Jackson X-Stroyer is based on his old Ibanez Destroyer, but the contours of the body have been inverted. It has DiMarzio Super 3 pickups and a Jackson Sustainer, however the center pickup is just a dummy. It did have an additional volume knob when it was first built, but it was in the way of Phil’s picking technique, so the volume pot was removed. The X-Stroyer features a Floyd Rose trem upgraded with FU-Tone titanium saddles and block.
Next is “Felix,” a late ’70s Japanese Strat that was a gift from Collen’s mother. It was notably used on almost the entire Hysteria album. It has sported various trems over the years, but recently Mike Kotzen at Jackson refitted the guitar with a Floyd Rose trem and a new set of DiMarzio Tone Zone S pickups.
The Jackson PC-1 “London 57” is a stock Jackson PC-1 made for Collen’s 50th birthday. The custom graphics include the year Phil was born and the Collen family crest. It has been equipped with FU-Tone titanium saddles and block.
Amps and Effects
Collen’s signal path starts with two Shure UR4D+ wireless receivers, which run into the RJM IS-84 Input Selector before going into a pair of Marshall JMP-1 preamps and a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II. One channel of the Axe-Fx II feeds the front-of-house sound engineer and monitor engineer while the other channel is plugged into a Randall RRM 2-200 stereo power amp. The Randall powers two EVH 4x12 speaker cabinets on stage to give Collen the proper feel and also serves as a stage monitor. Since everything runs direct there are no mics on the rig. A RJM Music Mastermind GT/22 MIDI controller allows Collen’s tech, Scott Appleton, to control everything from offstage.
Vivian Campbell's Gear
Vivian Campbell has come full circle in his choice of guitars. Campbell brings out a ’78 Gibson Les Paul Custom with a silver sparkle finish that he bought in a Nashville pawn shop for $400. A luggage cart in Germany smashed the body but the neck was salvaged and attached to a Jimmy Page-style body by Bolin Guitars.
GMP Guitars put Campbell’s “Irish” guitar together. It’s basically an “off the rack” LP-style guitar that was upgraded with a TonePros bridge and DiMarzio pickups.
Amps and Effects
Campbell’s rack signal path starts with his Shure UR4D+ wireless receiver. Next, it runs into a RJM IS-84 Input Selector and then to a Dunlop DCR-2SR Rack Wah before hitting the RJM Effect Gizmo loop selector.
Loop 1 – Marshall JMP-1 MIDI preamp
- Loop 2 – Voodoo Amps VC-2 preamp
- Loop 3 – Rocktron Intellifex (used only for chorus)
The outputs of the Effect Gizmo are sent to a Custom Audio Electronics mixer, which runs to a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II that handles all modulation and compression effects. One output from the Axe-Fx II feeds into a pair of Engl 850/100 power amps that run four Engl cabs onstage (each loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers). The other output goes into a Palmer PDI-05 Stereo Speaker Simulator. Wolff does all the switching via a RJM Mastermind GT/22 MIDI controller.
To keep this complex rig running, Wolff uses an old school, hand-drawn diagram.
Rick Savage's Gear
Savage is a longtime Jackson man. Each of his touring basses is basically the same, varying only in finish. His #1 is a Jackson Custom Shop BlackJack 5-string. Two more Jacksons travel as backups.
Amps and Effects
Like the guitar rigs, Savage’s signal starts with a Shure UR4D+ wireless receiver, which runs into a Whirlwind MultiSelector 4X. The sound engineer gets a dry bass sound via a pair of Avalon U5 Tube DIs. The signal then runs into the Voodoo Lab GCX Audio Switcher that splits the signal into the front of one his Gallien-Krueger Fusion 550 amps (this one powers a pair of Gallien-Krueger 4x10 cabs on stage left). Another Fusion 550 runs a pair of the exact same cabs on stage right.
His effects are housed in the rack and include a Source Audio Soundblox Pro Multiwave Distortion, Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver, Line 6 DL4, and a TC Electronic G-Major 2.
To add to the thunder, Savage uses Roland PK-5A bass pedals, which are routed into the TC Electronic G-Major 2 before hitting a MOTU Midi Express 128 interface.