For our Def Leppard style guitar lesson Tech Session track I’ve looked at the 80’s rock guitar riffs and chord progressions typical of the 'Hysteria' period and the magical guitar playing style of Phil Collen and Steve Clark. I’ve used such top Def Leppard songs as “Run Riot”, “Animal”, “Gods of War” and “Love Bites” as my source of inspiration.
Introduce our track with an eighth note chord arpeggio figure that outlines the accompanying chords. This figure is based in an idea heard in “Run Riot”, and makes use of a half time feel, which is a greet tool for adding impact and variation with the main verse groove. This section should be performed with distorted driven tone.
Include the first half of our verse, which is based around a progression in the style of “Animal”. This section uses a clean compressed tone, and includes chord based melodic figure performed against a 1st string drone.
Features a new riff for the second half of the verse, and illustrates an example of how Collen and Clark would use a complimentary riff to outline the chord progression as opposed to performing straight power chords. For this section you should switch to an overdriven tone.
Introduce our chorus progression, which includes a melodic chord sequence that outlines the accompanying chords of D5, A5 and E5 with two string partial chords. This really adds width and texture to the progression, and a contrast to the accompanying rhythm guitar part.
Include out middle section, and here I have used “Love Bites” for inspiration in both feel, groove and harmony. For this section you should use a clean, compressed tone with plenty of chorus and delay fore that classic 80’s ballad feel. The progression includes the chords of Dm7, A majadd9, B7sus4, F#madd9 and G#m7, performed with sparse chord arpeggios.
See us switch to a distorted tone for a riff inspired by “Gods of War”. This riff makes use of a chord arpeggio figure that outlines the accented power chords of C#5, A5, B5 and E5. This figure attempts to show Steve Clarks unique angular riff composition and is a great example of the duos guitar orchestration.
Kick off our solo, and we are back to our verse progression. This section kicks off with a Phil Collen inspired melodic figure that makes great use of chord tones for a strong harmonic connection, as well as a pinched harmonic whammy bar dive.
Includes a Steve Clark descending pedal tone figure, similar to a lick heard in “Armageddon It” which pedals off of the open 1st string. This figure concludes with some melodic double stops.
Conclude our solo with some Phil Collen pyrotechnics, and feature a fast sixteenth note triplet scalar picking line based around the A major scale using a three note per string figure. We conclude with a high register accented A5 chord.
Getting The Sound
When it comes to tone Phil Collen has had a long association with Jackson guitars, but primarily used a 1978 Fender Strat named “Felix” fitted with DiMarzio pickups for the majority of “Hysteria”, Steve Clark used a mixture of Fender and Gibson guitars, but was most famous for using a three pickup Les Paul fitted with Floyd. Both guitarists uses a wide variety of amps including Marshall and Randall, although much of 'Hysteria' was recorded with the Rockman and a Gallien-Kruger for feedback. For this session I used my custom built Mahogany body Music Man Axis Super Sport fitted with a DiMarzio Satch Track in the bridge and Injector single coil pickups in the middle and neck position. All the guitar tones were courtesy of the Line 6 Helix Native Plugin.