Phil Collen Explains How AC/DC Helped Def Leppard To Get Their Own Sound

In a new interview with Guitar World, Def Leppard co-lead guitarist, Phil Collen talked about AC/DC’s great influence on one of Def Leppard’s legendary albums, ‘Hysteria’, and revealed that they inspired by AC/DC during the search of finding the right sound for the album.

As you may know, Def Leppard released their fourth studio album entitled ‘Hysteria’ on August 3, 1987, which was produced by Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange. It was one of the most popular and commercially successful albums of the band. ‘Hysteria’ was sold more than 20 million copies all around the world and reached number one on the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart.

In the recent interview, Def Leppard guitarist said that the band previously used a Les Paul and an Ibanez Destroyer but then they chose to use Telecasters adding a DiMarzio Super Distortion T. Collen explained the change in the sounds of the album saying that it was advised by the producer, Mutt Lange during the recording of the album. It also one of the main reasons that caused the success of the ‘Hysteria’ album.

Collen also mentioned that Mutt actually got the idea from working with AC/DC. Apparently, Mutt was inspired by AC/DC’s Malcolm and Angus Young’s clear sounds on the vocals and the guitars. Later, Def Leppard applied this style to their music by combining Telecasters and a DiMarzio Super Distortion T in their fourth studio album which helped the band to find that clear and effective sound that they have been trying to get for years.

Here’s what Phil Collen stated:

We were always searching for this sound, a basic bedrock sound, especially when we were working with the producer, Mutt Lange. We had to compromise, and we’d use a Les Paul and a Tele, or a Strat and a Les Paul. I put a DiMarzio Super Distortion T in about four of my Teles and got the sound we’d been trying to get for years. You’ve got clarity and chime, but you’ve also got firepower and balls!

I think he got it from working with AC/DC. A lot of rock players get the wrong idea. They think it’s all this distorted humbucker thing. AC/DC guitarist, Malcolm Young, used his Gretsch really kinda clean. The blending of the Gretsch and the SG from the lead guitarist, Angus Young was amazing.

It’s like vocals – tenors and baritones blending together. Guitars do the same thing. AC/DC didn’t use Telecasters, but it’s where Mutt got the idea for the clarity. A lot of rock bands were just a wall of fuzz. You want it to breathe and be a bit cooler. That’s where the Telecaster comes in.”

Click here for the source.