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  • Writer's pictureBilly Jones

We are Steve Clark Fans

Before his untimely death in 1991, Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark was a bonafide guitar great.

Steve “Steamin’” Clark definitely makes the BJM Favorite Guitarists list and here are three reasons why:

1. The Riffmeister

Steve Clark was a prolific and artistic songwriter, credited with writing 90-95% of Def Leppard’s songs before he died. Classically trained on guitar, his riffs were based on inversions and triads instead of traditional standard power chords.

Def Leppard bandmate Phil Collen once complimented Steve’s playing by saying: "Most guitar players follow a pattern. Even with shredders like Yngwie and the like, there’s a pattern and a thread to their playing. But every now and then you get someone who just does things differently where they’ll bring a different kind of flavor to it. That was Steve."

He earned the nickname Riffmeister for his writing but also for his fluid playing style. He was always playing with a perfectly loose hand.

If you are getting ready to tackle some Steve Clark riffs, try out Billy's finger warm up exercises first:

2. Playing With Other Guitarists

Steve Clark was a master at playing with others. First with Pete Willis and then with Phil Collen, the chemistry between Clark and the other Def Leppard guitarists helped define the dual-guitar sound of the 80’s that have directly influenced today’s metal bands. Clark was a master at creating balance with other guitarists, layering multiple heavy guitar lines cleanly and cooperatively without competing.

Listen and watch in this old footage of Hello America:

3. Showmanship

Everyone agrees that Steve Clark took performing seriously. He once said “I consider it a gift every time I get up onstage and play. I think that’s when I’m at my happiest.”

That's obvious when you watch video clips of him performing. Check out this montage video. You'll immediately understand why his bandmates called him White Lightning.


If you are Def Leppard fan or you just generally appreciate 80's guitar legends like Steve Clark, you will be in good company here at BJM.

We specialize in group guitar classes that teach you how to play with others and prepare you to perform live. From beginners to more proficient guitarists who want to learn how to improvise and write riffs like Steve Clark, we've got a class for you!


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