How to Sound Like Def Leppard: Amp Settings Guide

If you want to sound more like Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article I’ll take you through the process of setting up your amp to get as close as possible to Def Leppard’s tone.

Just looking for amp presets? Scroll down to find a list of example amp settings for some of Def Leppard’s most popular songs.

Quick Guide to Def Leppard Amp Settings

To sound like Def Leppard, start with the following amp settings:

  • Gain: 6-8
  • Bass: 3-5
  • Mids: 6-8
  • Treble: 5-7

Quick note: unless you have Def Leppard’s exact rig for a particular song, it’s almost impossible to get the tone exactly the same. The settings above should just be used to get you started, so make sure you follow through with this guide to get the best results with your amp and guitar.

The Basics

To appreciate and understand where Def Leppard’s tone comes from, we need to get to grips with the basic gain, EQ and effects controls first.


In the vast majority of songs, Def Leppard use quite a lot of gain. You’ve got two options here to get the right level of distortion:

  • Use the distorted/ overdrive channel on your amp and set the gain at 6-8
  • Use a distortion pedal through a clean amp

A lot of times it can actually be easier to use a pedal through a clean amp as it’ll give you more control over the tone and level of distortion without it getting muddy.

If you’re using just an amp then you’ll need your gain to be moderate-high for most songs to get plenty of saturation.

EQ/ Tone (Bass, Mids, Treble)

There are three settings to unpack here:

  • Bass: for most songs this doesn’t need to be that high so start with it on 4. If you need more depth and warm, turn it up a bit. Or you can even turn it down slightly if it sounds a bit too “boomy”.
  • Mids: this will need to be fairly high for most songs start with it on 7.
  • Treble: I’d recommend starting with this on 6. You need it high enough so that the tone isn’t mudd,y, but you don’t want it to be too harsh.

If your amp just has a single EQ control instead of separate bass, mids and treble controls then I’d start with this on around 6-7 so it favours the treble frequencies slightly. If it sounds muddy, turn it up, and if it sounds too bright and harsh, turn it down.

Some amps have additional controls so make sure you also check out the brand-specific amp controls guide which is relevant to you, to get the most from your rig:


Here’s a list of useful effects to sound more like Def Leppard.

  • Overdrive/ Boost: this is helpful to kick things up a notch for solos/ choruses.
  • Chorus: useful in many songs including “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
  • Reverb: important particularly for cleaner songs e.g. “Hysteria”
  • Delay: useful in songs such as “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
  • Compression: used in a lot of songs to add sustain and make the tone smoother

If you really want to improve your guitar playing then I recommend checking out Guitareo. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial here to get access to all the online lessons and start making real progress today

Amp Settings for Popular Def Leppard Songs

Now let’s take a look at some popular Def Leppard songs. These example settings are just here to get you started and will likely need some adjustments. Skip ahead to the next section for common issues and how to fix them.

Pour Some Sugar On Me Amp Settings

  • Gain: 8
  • Bass: 4
  • Mids: 8
  • Treble: 7

Hysteria Amp Settings

  • Gain: 3
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 7
  • Treble: 5

Photograph Amp Settings

  • Gain: 6
  • Bass: 3
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 8

Rock of Ages Amp Settings

  • Gain: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 7
  • Treble: 6

Love Bites Amp Settings

  • Gain: 7
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 8
  • Treble: 6

I’ve also made an article with example amp settings for over 40 popular guitar songs here to help you sound more like your favourite players.

Common Issues

It’s highly likely that the settings quoted above will need some tweaking to suit your rig, and that’s where this next section will help.

Here are some of the most common problems you may encounter and how to adjust your amp to fix them. Work your way down the list of fixes, making one adjustment at a time and listening for the difference it makes. Following this systematic approach rather than changing all the settings at once will allow you to fix the issue much faster.

Lack of Sustain

  • Increase the gain
  • Increase the bass
  • Increase the mids
  • Use a compressor pedal

Muddy Tone

  • Decrease the bass
  • Decrease the gain
  • Increase the treble

Check out my guide on how to fix a muddy amp for more causes and fixes.

Thin Tone (Lack of Punch)

  • Increase the mids
  • Increase the bass
  • Increase the gain

Too Much Feedback

  • Move the guitar and amp as far away from each other as possible
  • Position the amp in front of the guitar rather than behind it
  • Decrease the gain
  • Use a noise-gate pedal to reduce feedback

Frequently Asked Questions

What amps do Def Leppard use?

Phil Collen of Def Leppard typically uses a Randall amp and Vivian Campbell typically uses a Marshall.

What guitars do Def Leppard use?

Phil Collen of Def Leppard is best known for playing a signature Jackson electric guitar and a Fender Telecaster. Vivian Campbell uses a Randall amp and Vivian Campbell typically uses Gibson Les Paul.

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Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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