Third Time's a Charm
Ever since first seeing the Def Leppard videos back
in the early 80's, I wanted a guitar with three pickups. After all,
three pickups was more than two, and that meant more noise! As I
progressed in my guitar playing from "air guitarist extraordinaire"
to a real musician making the neighbors wince whenever I opened my window
and played with my amp turned to 11, I realized three pickups had little
to do with the monstrous noise I was making. But that image of three
pickups, the lightening bolt shape merged with guitar and gloss black left
an impression on me.
For many years I would come back to wanting a
Destroyer (Ibanez Destroyer DT555 actually). I finally decided to
look for a real one about 5 years ago, a good 20 years after I first saw
it. I looked long and hard, and came across what appeared to be my
guitar: "Phil Collen of Def Leppard" as it was often
erroneously referred to. Well, turns out my real guitar had several
variations. I eventually found the "real" McCoy. I
bought it and it turned out to need a lot of work. By now, my guitar
building skills were pretty solid, so I figured I would take on the
challenge. I got the guitar after shelling out way more than I
should have, only to see it was scratched to hell and back and I think I
saw something that resembled matter that you would find in a hotel room if
you had a black light available. I needed a case if I was going to
do something with this monstrosity, and set out to find a case before I
started my work of tearing down the guitar and pouring my life's blood
Well what do you know? I found a guitar case
with a better condition guitar in it! I snatched it up, then sold my
glib monstrous Destroyer for almost double. Score! I kept the
newer, much prettier guitar for about a month before thinking to myself
that I was too old for it and should go back to my normal style
guitars. I sold it for a very pretty penny, and regretted it even
before I was paid.
I spent the better part of 3 years searching for my
baby. I saw a few of the guitar reach exorbitant prices. Screw
that, I bought low and sold high. Not this time. I failed
several times to convince myself to spend that kind of money on a
guitar. After three years, I finally did. This is my third
attempt at going back to my youth in some fashion, and I spent a great
deal of time rebuilding this guitar into the glory of my late night MTV
memories of days long gone.
Here is my story...
It Has Finished...
I will stay away from some of the more tedious crap
and say that I swapped out just about everything on this guitar to make it
a real work horse axe. While the stock Ibanez Destroyer DT555 was
nothing to sneeze at, I made significant modifications to suit my needs...
which was world domination, at least from my living room's perspective.
The true beauty of this guitar is the neck-through design, binding and
split pearl inlays. This was pretty much all that I kept in place.
I installed a Kahler 7200 tremolo and new locking
nut. The Ibanez trem was utter crap, and handled even worse than it
I had the guitar refretted with jumbo, stainless
steel frets. The previous frets were too flat to do much with, and I
really like the jumbos as on my Les Paul. The split pearl fret
markers were polished and look like new.
I took out the Ibanez V2 pickups and replaced them
with (3) DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100s. I was going to replace
the rest of the electronics, but decided to keep everything in tact since
the pots and switches all worked fine after a bit of cleaning. I
have new volume pots, pickup switch and jack all waiting patiently to be
used in the event of the vintage electronics going to pot. No pun
I have not been able to determine if the original
knobs were Sure Grip I or Sure Grip II, so I tried them both and went with
the Sure Grip I knobs.
The original Ibanez tuners were faded and very out
of whack. I may get them re-gold plated at some point, but for now I
replaced them with gold Gotoh style tuners.
I did some heavy duty cleaning of the fret board
after it was refretted, polished the body real perty, then played the hell
out of the guitar. By far, one of my best efforts to date in 20+
years of guitar building and restorations. Please shoot me if I try
to sell this guitar as I will surely regret it and only deserve to
die a slow death with Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages" playing in
the back ground...
Special thanks to my son for helping me along this
journey, especially with the Kahler install, and not tuning this specific
guitar to Drop B as he does with the other guitars around the house...