Gibson – acoustic

  • 1997 SJ-200 custom

Les Paul – electric

  • 70s Vintage custom ebony
  • 59s custom shop reissue (with Gibson Tony Iommi pickups)
  • 56 goldtop with PAF humbuckers
  • 70s vintage standard tobacco burst


  • Acoustic Matrix pickup and Blender systems 
  • Soldano Amplification 
  • Baker Guitars
  • Jackson Soloist
  • B.C. RichST
  • 27-fret, high-end Rand Havener
  • custom Dallasarea luthier Buddy Blaze (the “Shredder”) – later produced by Kramer under the “Nightswan” name

When he first started playing, Campbell employed a Les Paul with Di Marzio pickups. This guitar was also used on Holy Diver, as can be seen in the booklet pictures. At this point, the "superstrat" fashion was taking place and consequently Campbell switched to a Jackson Soloist. Around the same time, he can be seen in an instructional video playing a blue B.C. Rich ST, which was first produced around 1986 or 1987.

When he joined Whitesnake, Vivian picked up a pink, red and yellow Rand, a 27-fret, high-end guitar handmade by Rand Havener, a former B.C. Rich employee whom he had met through a common friend. This guitar featured innovative sculpted wings, almost no neck heel due to a very accurate neck-through construction, a pointy, very droopy headstock, Pau Ferro (Bolivian rosewood) fretboard, custom inlays, a Floyd Rose bridge and two Tom Anderson custom pickups. This very instrument can be seen in the "Still Of The Night" video. Another Rand, yet with different colors, was used for the "Is This Love" music video. During the same period (1987-1988), Vivian had Dallasarea luthier Buddy Blaze make him a custom guitar. This instrument, named the "Shredder", had a Strat shaped, mahogany body with polka dot graphic, a 24 fret neck with "ping pong" inlays (going from top to bottom up to the 12th fret and vice versa up to the 24th fret)on the ebony fretboard, a reverse pointy headstock and two Seymour Duncan humbucker pickups, a Full Shred in the bridge position and a JB in the middle position. The bridge was a Floyd Rose. A deal was then set up between Buddy Blaze and Kramer Guitars and the Shredder went into production under the "Nightswan" name. Vivian signed with Kramer as an endorser and there are a few ads of him with this guitar. He played the original Shredder through Whitesnake's 1987-1988 world tour.

After he left Whitesnake, Campbell switched back to Les Pauls and currently plays Gibson guitars.

On the "SLANG"- and "EUPHORIA"-tours, Vivian has been using Gibson guitars only; always a Les Paul when playing electric songs, and various Gibsons when playing acoustic tunes. Most used Les Pauls are a 70s Vintage custom ebony, a 59s custom shop reissue (with Gibson Tony Iommi pickups), a 56 goldtop with PAF humbuckers and a 70s vintage standard tobacco burst. Viv's current favorite for acoustics is a 1997 SJ-200 custom. One of the latest additions to his guitar arsenal is a blue Gibson Les Paul Standard Sparkle

At home, Vivian uses a little 2/12 Marshall cab, which also came into play on the blues record, with a Marshall 900 head. As for guitars, he has a really nice '66 Telecaster at home. But for the most part, Vivian’s a solid body, fixed bridge Gibson guy and likes chunky necks.

One of his most used guitars at home is the 50s reissue with the P-90s. But Vivian also has quite a few Gibsons plus a '62 Stratocaster. It's his only actual Fender Strat and has been modified a lot.

Vivian has never been a guitar collector, though, he just has instruments that he’s going to play.

On stage Vivian has been getting more into playing the Les Pauls with the thicker neck, but he really only has one of those with humbuckers on it. It's a '59 Custom Shop reissue. During the “Rock Of Ages 2005” tour, that guitar was played more than any other guitar.

The amp Vivian has been using with Leppard for the last ten/twelve years or so is a JMP Marshall head rack mount that's midi switchable, which is handy for program changes. In his A rig Vivian has got the Marshall 9200s. In the B rig it's an identical set up with the JMPs, the only difference being Mesa Boogie Power Amps, which tend to be a little crispier, a little bit more rock.

When it comes to the rack stuff, it's a little bit different on the outboard stuff. In the A rig Vivian is using TC Electronic 2290 stereo delays, an old Yamaha D1500 mono delay unit, Rocktron chorusing, Dunlop Wah-wah pedals, and basically that's it, as far as the signal processing goes. The crunch and crank come from the JMP.

For the blues album, Vivian used a lot of hollow body guitars. The guitar which was used more than any other on the blues record was the Yamaha AES1500. It has DiMarzio pickups and it sounds so good. On a couple of songs a Gibson L5 Custom was used as well as a Gibson dot neck 335 with the chunky neck. The '56 reissue Les Paul with the P-90s and a Les Paul Classic, which is basically a goldtop with humbuckers, also got their time to shine. As for the set up, Vivian used his Marshall 900 with the little 2/12 Marshall cab, and a Fender Deluxe Reverb on a couple of tunes, also a Rivera Quiana 1/12 combo on at least one. But the setup used more than anything else was a Matchless Clubman 35 head through a Vox AC30 cab. No rack effects or anything.

Viv also uses 

- Acoustic Matrix pickup and Blender systems
- Soldano Amplification
- Baker Guitars

Vivian Campbell Interview - by Brian D. Holland
Savage Attitude

0 fans said sumthin':

About this blog

All information published within this blog has been sourced via the World Wide Web. This blog is non-profit and purely for entertainment purposes
Get subscribers

  © Blogger templates Shiny by 2008

Back to TOP