K.K. Downing:
Stats K.K.'s Name
Sex Symbol Homes Gear

Guest Appearances


Glenn Tipton:
Stats Home And Family Early Bands
Gear Guest Appearances


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Meet the "twins"


     "Glenn Tipton's highly structured, classically flavored playing and K.K. Downing's aggressive style compliment, contrast  and compete with each other."
- Bryan Reesman, METALOGY liner note, 2004

     "I don't think of Van Halen as being heavy metal. When I think of heavy metal, I think of Judas Priest..."
- Eddie Van Halen

     "I'm very proud of the fact that we carved our own niche in metal and rock history, and people have been inspired by us".
- Glenn Tipton, Guitar One, November 2003

     "Glenn and I are both very much of the same temperament. We've always been aware that, 'If you try and overtake me or try and overstep the mark a little bit, I'm gonna come down on you.' And that's the way it's always been with us."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984

     "You are often faced with situations where both of you might want to take a lead break and both of us have had to make concessions. It can lead to arguments if you let it.
     "It's difficult because we've obviously got far more to say in us than we can actually put on an album. One of our strongest points has always been the two styles of lead. We never deviated much from our records in concert, not because we didn't
want to, but we know - especially if there's very characteristic lead elements - that's what the kids want to hear. They don't want to see you self-indulgently jamming away. We might enjoy that more, but the kids wouldn't. They want to hear what's on the record."
- Glenn Tipton, Kerrang!, July 15-28, 1982

     "How much we drew from each other, I don't really know, but we put something together that we thought was a pretty good blend. Glenn was predominantly more blues-oriented, where I was sort of progressive and a bit wild."
- K.K. Downing, Revolver, September 2003

     "I think were fortunate that the guitar solos just blend together in a way that enhances the character of Priest. Its nothing we really have to work at, its just one of those freak things. His style and my style just work well together in the band. That being said, Ian has his own style and Scott has been with us for twelve years as well. We are fortunate that we have that character inherent in a band. Its something you should really cherish. Fortunately, all of it just makes up the Judas Priest sound, and weve never tried to stray from it because we realize the value of it. Its great."
- Glenn Tipton, KNAC.com, September 10, 2002

     "I believe that even when we're soloing, it has always been done within the context of the song. It was never designed to be a personal showcase. With Priest, the song always comes first."
- Glenn Tipton, Hit Parader, February/March 2004

     "I love what they both do. I'm not attached to one more than the other. It puts me in a nice position as a writer, from a lyrical melody point-of-view. It allows me to open up a lot more, rather than just working along side one specific style of guitar playing."
- Rob Halford, HEAVY DUTY, 1984

     "Both Glenn and K.K. are still hungry guitar players who challenge one another in a good way. Its tombstone, gunslinger shit, like a shoot-out at the JP corral!"
- Roy Z.,
Ferrante's Power Equipment, May 12, 2005


     "I'll never forget where I came from and what I might be doing if it wasn't for rock 'n' roll. I count my lucky stars every night. If you
forget where you've come from, you can never really appreciate where you're going."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984

  • Born Kenneth Downing on October 27, 1951 in West Bromwich, England.

  • Co-founded Judas Priest in 1970.

  • Early influences: Jimi Hendrix,

  • K.K. had the hardest upbringing of the band members. A high school dropout at 15, living in a working-class Midlands family did not offer much hope for the future. Then he was kicked out of the house once music became his only ambition. Even after multi-platinum success, his parents still do not approve of K.K.'s career choice and it is rumored he hasn't spoken to his them since:

     "I didn't 'always want to be' much of anything at all! School didn't interest me, sports didn't interest me - not even music, until I was well into my teens... We were poor. My dad, Kenneth Sr., was a laborer. He had to support my mum, Margaret, my sisters Margaret and Linda, me and my brother Adrian... My parents never thought I'd amount to anything; kicked me out when I was 16. I used to lock myself in my room and play music."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984

     "I suppose music was my drug in a way. I went through everything any young junkie goes through: getting kicked out of the house, not wanting to work, not having any money."
- K.K. Downing, BANG YOUR HEAD, 2002

     "I have no plans to retire at the moment, though my mum's still saying, 'Come on, son, settle down and get a proper job.' But we've still got some metal in us. Until the furnace runs down, we'll keep going."
- K.K. Downing,
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 29, 2002

As for what the "K.K." stands for:

For a while, the second "K" in Downing's name was thought to stand for "Kevin", when K.K. made a joke about it during a radio interview:

     "The second K stands for Kevin. Kenneth Kevin, or 'Killer'... Anything you want me to be, girls!"
- K.K. Downing,
Finger's Metal Shop, May 29, 1993

     "K.K.'s name is KENNETH DOWNING - he does not have a middle name - the 'K.K.' is purely his stage name!!...The comment about Kenneth Kevin was a joke."
- Jayne Andrews, Management Co-ordinator for Judas Priest, May 19, 2003

     "Kenneth Downing Jr. is my real name. A girl in Denmark couldn't pronounce it and called me 'K.K.'. It stuck."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984

     "I talked to Al Atkins today, and he confirmed that K.K. is his name on stage - he has no other name [such as Kenneth Keith] - it's just Kenneth Downing".
- Michael Liljhammer,
Webmaster, Official Al Atkins website, Email, May 20, 2003

K.K. is known as the "sex symbol" of the group:

     "I never thought about it - but it doesn't bother me... The girls always seemed to like the guys who played in bands. I've never been able to figure out why that is, but I've given up trying. I've totally succumbed to the notion that men who play guitars are totally irresistible to the most beautiful women in the world. It seemed irrelevant how well you played; as long as you could get a gig and stand on stage, the girls would just be drawn to you like a magnet... I'm turned on by women's lips - there's something about them... [but I'm turned off by] chain smokers."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984


K.K. owns a home in Spain:

     "I've been living in Spain since about 1985. Since 1990 I've been living mostly in the UK, but I do spend some time down there and it's real nice. Our manager had a house in Spain and he suggested we come out to Spain to write some songs, so me, Rob and Glenn rented a house on the beach down there. This was when we were putting together material for the Turbo album. We were renting a place and it was extortionate, and we really had fun there, so I ended up getting a place there. At the height, it's a big resort with a lot of tourists so you have all these girls coming over from Scandinavia. It's nice!"
- K.K. Downing, Hard Radio Shockwaves, 2002

But his main abode is a 2million ($3.64 million) country estate called Astbury Hall in Shropshire, England, located in the Midlands near Bridgnorth...

     "I live on the road really. I have a house close to Birmingham, but I'm never there. It's pretty empty. I'm usually away about eight
months of the year, touring - then, we go into the studio."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984

K.K.'s estate home made headlines in England's STAR tabloid in 2003 when a former girlfriend who had been looking after the mansion while K.K. was away on the DEMOLITION world tour tried to sue for a share of the estate.

According to statements 35 year-old Sarah Lissimore made to the Birmingham County Court in February of 2003, Sarah met K.K. in 1993, shortly after he had shocked his previous girlfriend named Julie, by telling her he wanted to wear a
wedding dress:

     "Ken told me he and Julie had stopped talking after he told her he would like to try a bride's dress on. He said they were in a restaurant together and she went dead silent."
- Sarah Lissimore in Birmingham County Court, The Sun, February 8, 2003

Sarah Lissimore

After K.K. and Sarah met, Sarah quit a promising career in pharmacy to live with him at his Astbury Hall estate. Sarah also says that during their time together she put up with years of abuse. When the affair ended, she demanded a cash settlement - but K.K. only offered her a tank of gas for her car:

     "I went to my solicitor because of the abuse I suffered year after year after year. He told me I could leave and he would give me a tank of petrol and that was it. I was shocked."
- Sarah Lissimore in Birmingham County Court, The Sun, February 8, 2003

Sarah mde a claim for around 200,000 ($364,000) compensation because she says she ran the estate while K.K. was away on tour with Judas Priest, and that she is entitled to part of his fortune for investing "time and skill" in Astbury instead of her own career - and now she's broke. She also claims that K.K. had bought her an engagement ring from Argos and asked her to wear it on her wedding finger. But K.K. insists the ring is not an engagement band - he never intended to marry Lissimore, nor share his estate with her:

     "She knew before she came to Astbury that I did not want to be married.
     "Everything I do and every penny I have goes towards the estate - it is my passion, my pension and my life. The idea that I would share Astbury is in my mind insulting. It is mine."
- K.K. Downing in Birmingham County Court, The Sun, February 8, 2003

     "Well, to be honest, I've got a development going on. I've constructed a golf-course facility and a leisure facility, just something outside the music I have an interest in doing, really. And it's a beautiful estate that I have. I've got a kind of an interest. I like to see things manicured, everything neat and tidy, and maybe I can create something else for people to enjoy other than records.
     "The golf course is all part and parcel of the property, because it's a large house, and obviously I don't have a family - a direct family, wife and children. So basically I thought, well I've got something here that I'd like people to enjoy, you know? Have a nice bar and swimming pools and stuff like that. I suppose eventually I'll move to somewhere else on the estate, but yes, I'd like to see myself become quite successful at doing that hopefully. It's always been kind of like a project, you know, rather than me doing some stupid solo album or something, you know what I mean? I've just concentrated on Judas Priest, which has been my life, so it's basically been a bit of a side-project, something I've been able to do.
     "It does, really, slow the world down, you know? It's a beautiful estate. It's just over 300 acres, in a ring fence. There are beautiful water features and valleys and stuff like that. It's just something for me to be able to develop slowly in the years and years to come, maybe when I hang up the axe...just enjoy that, you know? I actually started out life in hotel and catering, so I'm quite at home in that situation. I've also got a studio there and I'm making lots of noise, so maybe that will keep people away, who knows?"
- K.K. Downing, BW&BK, October 2004

Astbury Hall, K.K. Downing's estate

On April 4, 2003, a Birmingham County Court judge dismissed Sarah's claim and also ordered her to pay up to 100,000 ($182,000) in legal costs.

A year late, on May 19, 2004, Sarah was declared bankrupt at a Shrewsbury County Court hearing. The amount of the debt has not been disclosed; Miss Lissimore's creditors are now being dealt with by the Official Receivers House in Pepper Street, Chester.

"Don't mess with me and my home!"

K.K.'S First Guitar:

     "Nothing really interested me in school, including music. I didn't know what I wanted to do, and then suddenly I started listening to John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Cream, and this thing started to happen - the hair started to grow. It happened almost over night: I bought a couple of records and I was that affected. I needed to play something... I got my first guitar at 16... We didn't have money for lessons, so I got a chord book, plus Jimi Hendrix and Cream LPs, and knocked around with some friends until we pretty much taught ourselves."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984

     "Actually, my first guitar looks exactly the same as the one Eddie Van Halen plays now - guts hanging out. I put it together myself. The body was shaped like a Watkins Rapier, which was a cheap guitar. It should have had three pickups, but it had all the guts hanging out and just one pickup on it."
- K.K. Downing, Guitar Player Magazine, July 1983

'70s - '80s Gear:

  • 1964 Gibson Flying V Limited Edition with Gibson PAF pickups
     "Michael Schenker went to buy this guitar for himself the day after I had bought it from a little shop in Birmingham."
- K.K. Downing, Guitar Player Magazine, July 1983
  • 1970 Gibson Flying V with Maestro vibrato bar
  • 2 Fender Stratocasters (a white 1969 with left-handed neck and a sunburst 1970-71)
  • Pete Cornish custom pedalboard with a Cry Baby wah-wah, Roland Space Echo RE201, MXR Phase 100, MXR distortion unit, Pete Cornish fuzz box, +10 db gain boost and overdrive unit, line boosters between each effect to preserve the signal from input to output, and a RangeMaster-based custom treble boost connected to the bass channel of Marshall 50 and 100 watt heads with no master volumes
  • Rat distortion pedal
  • Boss Turbo pedal
  • Schaffer-Vega and Nady wireless systems

Late '80s - '90s Gear:

  • Custom Hamer Vector, Vector KK and KK Mini V guitars (retired for recording use only)
  • Seymour Duncan and EMG pickups
  • Kahler 2300 C tremolos

    Thanks to Steve Matthes, Barry Duncan and to the Hamer Fan Club for helping with the following details of K.K.'s Hamer guitars:

    Hamer introduced its Vector line in 1982. These were full-size V-shaped guitars, similar to a '58 Flying V with dual DiMarzio humbucker pickups and usually a fixed bridge or a Floyd Rose tremolo. But in 1984, a custom variation called the Vector KK was produced for Downing and used on the DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH tour. This model had 22-frets (24.75 inch scale), a rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, and a Kahler flat-mount 2300 C locking tremolo. It was produced in a limited run from 1984 to 1985. While the consumer version had a single Hamer Slammer pickup, K.K.'s personal instruments had a few modifications, including higher-grade Duncan and EMG pickups and "KK Downing" in large letters on the headstock followed with "By Hamer" in smaller letters underneath where the Hamer logo usually resided. And while Downing usually played a standard red finish model, he also played one that had a custom natural flame top finish.

    For the TURBO/Fuel For Life tour in 1986, Hamer introduced a new non-production model called the KK "Mini V", which was essentially a shortened version of the Hamer Scepter V (originally made for Robbin Crosby of Ratt and known as the "Wedge V"). K.K. had a plain white guitar with a rosewood fingerboard and boomerang inlays and a plain red guitar with block inlays, but soon he added metal studs to the body bevels of the red guitar to compliment his stage outfits. He again used these red studded Mini Vs for the 1990/91 PAINKILLER/Operation Rock 'N' Roll tour and introduced a blue version with studs and dot fretboard inlays on the 1998 JUGULATOR tour. He has recently retired these Mini Vs for safe keeping and now only uses them for recording. K.K. says he is very proud of these custom instruments and has fond memories of the legendary recordings he has captured with them.

     "We have the Vector and the Vector KK model. K.K. tends to play both. The Vector has one Duncan humbucker in the bridge position, and it's specially wound to give him the midrangey tone he likes. Aside from that, he doesn't require a lot of modifications."
- Joel Dantzig (Hamer Guitars technical director), Guitar World, September 2004

     "I've been playing this red studded one since the TURBO era...It sounds good, that's why I've kept it on board for so long. I guess I'll be putting this baby to bed because I've become a bit attached to it and things can go missing and things can get broke on the road, and stolen - all sorts of weird things. So sometimes when you get a little bit attached to something, you just don't want to lose it."
- K.K. Downing,
Judas Priest website video feature, 2001

     "I don't take my old ones on the road. I wouldn't want anything to happen to them."
- K.K. Downing, Guitar World, September 2004

  • Marshall stacks
  • Cry Baby wah

Current Gear:

While waiting for his new ESP custom V to be made, ESP sent him a custom K.K. model (well, the Kerry King K.K. anyway...), which has been used on the early parts of the DEMOLITION world tour.

  • ESP Custom V guitar and a Kerry King model
     "I've had an ESP specially built and I've got the Cry Baby wah-wah too."
- Glenn Tipton, Total Guitar, 1998
  • ESP acoustic/electric guitar
  • Custom Hamer '64 Flying V replica with Floyd Rose tremolo
  • Custom DEMOLITION V with "Priest Cross" headstock, EMG pickups and Kahler tremolo
     "I got a new V model. It's a Hamer and it's beautiful. It's a replica of a '64 Flying V."
- K.K. Downing, Guitar World, September 2004
  • Washburn acoustic/electric guitar
  • Kahler Pro tremolos
  • Rocktron Piranha tube preamp
  • Marshall 9100 power amp
  • Marshall vintage 4x12 cabinets
  • MESA/Boogie Dual Rectifier head
  • Rocktron Replifex
  • Rocktron Power Station
  • Rocktron Midi Mate foot controller
  • Furman power conditioner
  • Dunlop Cry Baby 535 wah
  • DigiTech Whammy pedal
  • DigiTech X-series Tone Driver

Cry Baby wah, DigiTech Whammy Pedal, Rocktron Midi Mate controller

  • GHS custom extra-light gauge strings: .007, .009, .012, .018, .028, and .036
  • Small light-gauge pick

     "There arent any secrets about our equipment - it isnt spectacular at all. For ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION, I used Marshall stacks form the '70s and just played. I usually played my good old Gibson Flying V. I was surprised how good the instruments and amps sounded, when they are recorded with the technology of today. The stuff is just great. Of course, we used our Hamer and ESP guitars as well.
     "Ive got a few DigiTech pedals. I really like the Tone Driver from the X-series, which I use as a booster. And were using Whammy pedals for a long time now.
     "We use different equipment on stage. It is important to have a back up, if something breaks down. We use amps from the 9100 series as well as Marshall speakers and theres a Rocktron Piranha preamp that is programmable which is very practical. Every song has its own settings which I can control with a Rocktron Midi Mate floorboard. And theres an effect tool in my rack, too: the Rocktron Repliflex. On stage I mainly use ESP guitars, the Flying V with the vibrato. Its too risky to use a precious old guitar."
- K.K. Downing, Guitar magazine, 2005

K.K. DOWNING's Guest Appearances:

VIolent Storm (2005)

As K.K. looks to the future, he sees a career in music, especially Judas Priest music, as still being the closest thing to his heart:

     "Judas Priest is the ideal act for me to be a part of, to write for and play with. If I did a solo album, it would probably sound exactly the same because that's what I want to do."
- K.K. Downing, Guitar Player, July 1983

     "I want to stay active in music - write, produce, maybe even manage someday."
- K.K. Downing, Rockline magazine, 1984


     "You go on stage, already full of tension, take your guitar and strike the first chord. Then there's a 'bang' and everything goes off within you, you merge with your guitar into a unit which interprets emotions."
- Glenn Tipton, Fachblatt Music Magazine, September 1976

Rare photos of Glenn with short hair...

  • Born Glenn Raymond Tipton on October 25, 1949 in Blackheath, England.

  • Joined Judas Priest in May 1974.

  • Early influences : Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Leslie West, Paul Kossoff, Peter Green and Rory Gallagher.
  • Glenn started his musical journey learning some piano (which later came into play on "Prelude" and "Epitaph" from the Sad Wings Of Destiny album), but quickly switched to the guitar as his instrument of choice:

     "My mother, who's an excellent pianist and used to be a professional teacher, got me started on the piano when I was about nine years old. Mind you, it was very short-lived and she stopped giving me lessons after a while because I didn't pay attention! I actually got interested in guitar when my brother Gary started playing and I found that I was able to pick it up quite quickly. I guess it helps if you've already got that basic knowledge in music."
- Glenn Tipton, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "I was a bit of a late bloomer, having started learning guitar and writing songs at the age of 20, but once I started, I was totally absorbed. I never put the guitar down in those days. I gave dedication a completely new meaning. I had the choice; I either worked in a factory for the rest of my life or I did something different, The advantages of doing something different were obvious. I went into it because I loved heavy metal and it was a great career move."
- Glenn Tipton, ChatShow, 1999

Glenn's older brother Gary not only helped Glenn take up the guitar, but he also served as Glenn's guitar tech on the PAINKILLER tour!


Glenn lives in the countryside of Romsley, Worcestershire, in the West Midlands near Birmingham, England and has a state-of-the-art recording studio built next to his home. He is married with a son and a daughter.

     "I live in England and in Spain. I'm building a house in Spain. I jump between the two. The tax situation does that to you. It used to be less of a problem, because we were out on the road somewhere anyway. Now we can play less, and to more people doing bigger venues in America, so that gives us more time, so I have to live in two places."
- Glenn Tipton, Atlantis Online, October 24, 1986

     "Ive lost this whole summer with my son and daughter. My daughter is 21 and my son is 16, but it would probably be the last summer I would have gone off with him and done something. Thats been the biggest sacrifice - just being away from home.
- Glenn Tipton, KNAC.com, September 10, 2002

This room has a "Hot Rockin'"  

Nothin' like working at home!

Glenn Tipton's Early Bands:

Shave And Dry (1970)
Glenn Tipton (gtr, key); Pete Hughes (voc); Barry Scrannage (drm); David Shelton (bss).

Merlin (1971-1972)
Glenn Tipton (gtr, key); Pete Hughes (voc); Trevor Foster (drm); Frank Walker (bss); Andy Wheeler (bss).

The Flying Hat Band (1972 - 1974)
Glenn Tipton (gtr, key); Pete Hughes (voc); Trevor Foster (drm); Frank Walker (bss); Andy Wheeler (bss).
Glenn Tipton (gtr); Peter Mars Cowling (bss); Steve Palmer (drm).

Four songs from the unreleased Flying Hat Band sessions were placed along with songs by Antrobus on a bootleg CD titled Buried Together in 1992. Two more very rare Flying Hat Band demos have also leaked into circulation among traders.


First Guitar:

     "I started out with a semi-acoustic Hofner, and then my first all-electric was a short-scale Rickenbacker. It didn't sound right, but it was a great guitar. Then I changed to a Stratocaster; that got stolen, so i got another one. Eventually I got some money back from the guitar that was stolen, which gave me a chance to buy another guitar. I thought, 'Well, the alternative is a Gibson,' so I bought an SG, and that's the sound I've adopted ever since. My first amplifier was an AC-30 Vox."
- Glenn Tipton, Guitar Player Magazine, July 1983

     "When I was in the Flying Hat Band before joining Priest my only guitar of the time was an SG and it was nicked after a gig in Newcastle. It was a point in my life where I seriously thought of packing it all in. I had no money to buy a new one and then I got offered [a '61 Fender Stratocaster] for thirty quid. A lot of early Priest songs where written and recorded on that. It's a beautiful guitar - completely original, it's still one of my favourites... Just look down through the years, Hendrix, Gallagher, they only had Strats, but each one sounded like its master - that's the beauty of that particular guitar."
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003

'70s - '80s Gear:

  • Customized Fender Stratocaster with DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups
  • 1961 Fender Stratocaster all-original, except sunburst finish was refinished in black
  • Gibson SG Standard innards with smaller SG Special neck, mirror pickguard, and stock PAF humbucker pickups
  • Gibson Les Paul with PAF humbucker pickups
  • Pete Cornish custom pedalboard with overdrive unit, flanger, MXR distortion unit, MXR Phase 100, MXR digital delay, MXR 12-band EQ, Maestro Echoplex, line boosters between each effect to preserve the signal from input to output, and a RangeMaster-based custom treble boost connected to the bass channel of Marshall 50 and 100 watt heads with no master volume
  • Roland Chorus pedal

Late '80s Gear:

  • Hamer Phantom guitars

    Thanks to Steve Matthes, Barry Duncan and to the Hamer Fan Club for helping with the following details of Glenn's Hamer guitars:

    For the American leg of the DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH World Tour, Hamer Guitars issued a limited run consumer version of Glenn's A6 (six in-line headstock) Phantom guitar called the Phantom GT. This guitar featured a contoured body with double offset cutaways and a pick guard. The neck had 22-frets (24.75 inch scale), a rosewood fingerboard, dot inlays and was made of mahogany (changed to maple in 1985). Other appointments were a Kahler flat-mount 2300 C locking tremolo and a single Hamer Slammer pickup. The Phantom GT had a limited production run from 1984 to 1986. Glenn's personal models feature Duncan or EMG pickups.


  • Hamer GT Custom

    For the TURBO/Fuel For Life tour in 1986, Hamer introduced a new non-production model called the GT Custom. Its black angular body loosely resembled a Gibson Explorer, causing it to be often mistakenly called a Scarab GT, though it is not a Scarab model at all. This guitar features a maple fretboard with black dot inlays, two Duncan and EMG humbucking pickups, a Kahler locking tremolo and a white stripe outlining the body shape.

     "The GT is my own design and it looks a bit strange, but there's always method in madness. For me anyway, this is a great thing, because onstage, I still play some stretch stuff, so I need to get the guitar at this angle and as you can see, it just fits nicely to me. So this was all tailor-made. It's got a very narrow neck which is how I like to play. But the beauty of this guitar is we can do anything onstage, you know, play with our teeth or jumping around, and then I can just find the right position to play. So it's got a certain nice line to it, but it's very functional and it also balances the guitar. If you ever tried to design guitars, they can look very good, but they can be top or bottom heavy, but with this guitar, it's really nicely balanced and it's always in a good position to play."
- Glenn Tipton, Judas Priest website video feature, 2001

     "For me, a guitar has to assist my role as a performer, and the Hamer GT does that."
- Glenn Tipton, Guitar World, September 2004

     "Glenn has traditionally favored Strat-shaped guitars, and the GT is sort of a combination of different models we've made for him in the past. It features a custom-wound Seymour Duncan humbucker, and we designed the double cutaways so that he has unobstructed access to every fret."
- Joel Dantzig (Hamer Guitars technical director), Guitar World, September 2004

  • Kahler 2300 C tremolos
  • An original cream colored Roland G-707 guitar synthesizer with Kahler Pro tremolo unit
  • Guild light gauge strings: .009, .009, .014, .022, .034, and .038
  • Small light-gauge pick
     "The synth guitar has got some fantastic sounds on it, but live it was a nightmare. It really was innovative at the time. We got criticized for it and then everybody started using them."
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003

Current Gear:

Greg "Weasel" Morgan has been Glenn's guitar tech since 1993, and Glenn's brother Gary was his guitar tech during the Painkiller tour.

  • Prototype J.D. (John Diggins) Glenn Tipton design
  • Fender Strat and Telecaster guitars
     "I seem to have acquired a lot of old vintage guitars recently, including an old Telecaster with an amazing tone."
- Glenn Tipton, Total Guitar, 1998

     "The Tele is a '69 or '70. I wanted one because I think if you play a chord on a Telecaster it has got a musical quality that few guitars have. I tried loads of models and this jumped out at me. I use it quite a lot in the studio for rhythm work."
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003

  • Gibson Les Paul, Explorer,  SG and semi-hollow 335 guitars
     "I've always had a Les Paul of one sort or another. I have a replica of a 1960 model made in '95. As you know, the Les Paul is a pretty unique sounding guitar, especially if you play the blues. A friend who worked at the Musical Exchanges in Birmingham brought a few over for me to try. This sounded far better than the old original ones, so I bought it. Just plug in and instantly you've got that famous Les Paul sound.
I've had a lot of SG's - usually I've sprayed them black. I started to use the mirror plate on the Strat. It's a nice visual effect to use on stage. Usually for picking out big breasted women in the audience. No, I'm only kidding, people will think that sexist. I use it for the effect it gives on the lights on stage... The '63 SG has the original ivory tuning pegs, fixed bridge, Gibson humbucker in the neck position, but with an EMG fitted on the bridge position. It's served its time live and has been retired but still frequently gets used for recording... I don't know what it is but I seem to have broken or lost a lot of SG's!"
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003
  • Hamer Phantom and GT Custom guitars
  • Black ESP Horizon electro-acoustic guitar used specifically for the live version of "Diamonds And Rust"
  • Alvarez and Taylor electro-acoustic guitars
  • Epiphone Riviera 12-string acoustic guitar
     "This is a wonderful guitar to play. Plug this in and it almost writes songs itself, it's so inspiring. 12-string guitars always have a place for me."
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003
  • Ibanez RG Series 7-string guitar
  • Graphite Fernandes Sustainer guitar
     "I really love this guitar, it's incredible. I haven't been working with Fernandes long when they gave me this. It's great as it uses a magnetic process which gives endless sustain - flick a switch and you get harmonic sustain. Soaked in echo it sounds wonderful."
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003
  • Translucent red Legend Electric guitar
     "I originally bought this guitar to make a lamp out of it for the studio... But, when I got back here and tried it I discovered it's got a very raw, un-refined sound, so it didn't become a lamp. I think that guitar alone proves my way of thinking - if a guitar has a place and a use then it appeals to me."
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003
  • Kahler Pro tremolos
     "I tend to catch the Floyd Rose's fine tuners when playing, so I've always preferred the Kahler."
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003

     "Glenn also uses Ernie Ball RPS-10's strings specially re-enforced for Kahler Trem systems."
- Greg "Weasel" Morgan, BallBuster, 2003

  • EMG-81 humbucker pickups
     "With EMGs, you're not worrying about picking up the local radio station mid way through a solo."
- Glenn Tipton, BallBuster, 2003

"All the EMG 81s on Glenn's guitars are wired with the batteries in series so they run the pickups at 18 volts. That makes them last longer and the pickups sound hotter with more edge and poke."
- Greg "Weasel" Morgan, BallBuster, 2003

  • Rocktron Piranha tube preamps
  • MESA/Boogie TriAxis tube preamp
  • Marshall EL34 50/50 power amp
  • Marshall 4x12 cabinets
  • Alexis compressor
  • MXR graphic EQ
  • Rocktron Intellifex and Pro-Gap multi-effects
  • Yamaha SPX90
  • Eventide H3000-E
  • Various TC Electronics effects
  • DigiTech Tone Driver overdrive pedal
  • Dunlop Cry Baby wah
  • Dunlop Uni-Vibe
  • DigiTech Multi Chorus
  • Crate amplifier stacks
  • Ernie Ball picks and RPS .010 gauge Slinkys
     "Legendary British metal guitarist Glenn Tipton has joined up with Ernie Ball strings and accessories... In addition to Ernie Ball medium nylon picks, Glenn uses the Ernie Ball RPS 10 gauge Slinkys on all his guitars. The reinforced wrapped ball end helps with his heavy tremolo use."
- Guitar Site, September 23, 2002


"I'm definitely not a collector of guitars..." Okay, Glenn...

ON/OFF switch, DigiTech Tone Driver, Crybaby wah-wah

DigiTech Multi Chorus


     "I seem to have acquired a lot of old vintage guitars recently, including an old Telecaster with an amazing tone."
- Glenn Tipton, Total Guitar, 2002

     "I'm definitely not a collector of guitars. Guitars for me are a tool - they do a job and that's it. Even though I have guitars I'm really fond of, they all have a function either in the studio or on the road. When I'm working here [in my home studio] I take a selection out that I think I'm going to use. Also when I refer to a guitar as valuable I mean valuable in a personal way.
- Glenn Tipton,
BallBuster, 2003


Thanks again to Steve Matthes and to the Hamer Fan Club for helping with the following details of Glenn's Hamer guitars:

Glenn had several Hamers made for him based off of the Hamer Phantom platform. In 1982, Hamer introduced the Phantom A5 with a humbucker and a single-coil pickup then updated it in 1984 with a six in-line headstock, and in 1986, added the A7 (with synthesizer controller). For the 1984 Defenders Of The Faith tour, Hamer released the Phantom GT which had a single Hamer Slammer humbucker pickup and single volume control, as well as a Kahler tremolo system. This, along with the Vector KK were introduced to the public in 1984 as part of the Defenders Of The Faith campaign and they remained in production through 1986. Here is a picture of the consumer-production model guitars, thanks to Priest fan Barry Duncan:

For the 1986 Turbo/Fuel For Life tour, Hamer designed a unique model exclusively for Glenn. It was a black angular guitar with a white stripe outlining the body that loosely resembled a Gibson Explorer (which has caused some to mistakenly call this the Scarab GT, though it is not a Scarab model at all). The Glenn Tipton Custom Hamer was also made in white with a black outline stripe and for 1990/91 Painkiller/Operation Rock N Roll tour, the white guitar's outline stripes were removed in favor of painting the bevels black to accent the body. This has been Glenn's main guitar of choice ever since.

This is the Hamer Scarab model. Many mistakenly call Glenn's custom a "Scarab GT".

Here is Glenn with his actual Hamer GT Custom.

Glenn Tipton's Guest Appearances:

Samantha Fox - Just One Night (1991) - "Spirit Of America"

Glenn Tipton and Samantha Fox in the studio 1991

     "...Glenn did put some guitar down on one track for Samantha Fox - he did it as a favor as he knew her when she was living in Spain and she was a bit of a heavy metal fan! He has done this sort of thing for various different bands he knows."
- Jayne Andrews,
Management Co-ordinator for Judas Priest, 2003

Interesting note: Stock, Aitken, Waterman produced Samantha Fox's Greatest Hits album in 1992 which included "Spirit Of America" - so once again, there is a slight SAW/Glenn Tipton/Judas Priest connection!

The Nixons - Foma (1995) - "Drink The Fear"

Ugly Kid Joe - Live June 30, 1998, Nottingham, England - "Grinder", "Rapid Fire", and "Green Manalishi"

     "I've even been playing out some. Recently I played with Ugly Kid Joe at a place called Nottingham here in England. The kids were chanting "Priest! Priest! Priest!" It was great."
- Glenn Tipton, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, 1996

Glenn and K.K. are also listed among the cast in the 1996 movie In A Metal Mood, a film about '50s pop icon-turned-Gospel-singer Pat Boone's dream of recording his own version of a heavy metal album. In the film, Pat falls asleep by the pool and dreams of rock stardom, but his dream quickly turns to nightmare as he descends into the dark world of heavy metal hell! Several big names in metal (such as Ozzy) make cameo appearances. Pat followed up the next year with his own Las Vegas lounge-act cover of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" on his album release In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy...

     Pats waaaay too deep in the closet. Come out, Pat! Oh, dear.
- Rob Halford, LA Weekly, August 2000

Steel & Leather Productions, U.S.A.