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Glenn Raymond Tipton (born 25 October 1947 in Blackheath, West Midlandsmarker, UKmarker) is one of the guitarists (and occasional keyboard player) for the British heavy metal band Judas Priest. Prior to joining Judas Priest, he was in The Flying Hat Band.

In 1997 Tipton released his first solo album Baptizm of Fire, featuring a host of well-known musicians including John Entwistle, Billy Sheehan, Cozy Powell, Robert Trujillo and Don Airey, among others.

Playing style and technique

Although Tipton did not pick up the guitar until he was 21, he was taught by his mother how to play the piano at a young age. (Tipton's piano playing features prominently on the classic Priest album Sad Wings of Destiny, especially on "Epitaph", a song that features no guitar).

Tipton is known for his complex, sometimes classically influenced solos and his double lead guitar trades with fellow Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing. His solos have remained of this style for most of his career, but he has incorporated various techniques into his playing over the years. As opposed to Downing, his solos tend to incorporate a more melodic, legato sound, making use of techniques like sweep-picking, classical scales, and arpeggios, and often focus on both accuracy and aggression. However, like Downing, his playing sometimes focuses more on speed than precision, and has been known to occasionally use pinch harmonics and dive bombs in his solos, which Downing frequently does as well. In 1978, Tipton began to incorporate tapping into his playing, which Downing promptly began to use as well. In 1990, both guitarists started to use the complex technique of sweep-picking, which can be notably heard on the title track of their 1990 album Painkiller. Both have continuously used these techniques ever since.



Tipton has used numerous guitars over the years. These include a 60s Fender Stratocaster up until about '78. During '78-'79 he used a black Gibson Les Paul Custom and he started using a modified CBS-era Fender Stratocaster with Dimarzio Super-Distortion (humbucking) pickups. For the Screaming for Vengeance tour he added a chrome pickguard. For this tour he also played a Gibson SG, which, apparently, he spray-painted black himself. The SG also had a chrome pickguard and stock PAF humbuckers. Around '84 he switched to a Hamer Phantom GT model which was fitted with one EMG humbucker, a Kahler tremolo and one volume pot. A signature model of this was developed and sold to public from '84-'86. Tipton still uses this guitar model.


Tipton has almost exclusively used Marshall Amps. Tipton used Regular Vintage 50 and 100 Watt Marshall heads without a master volume until 1982, when the JCM 800 head was developed. The JCM 800 was used by Tipton and fellow Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing for many years. Currently, Tipton uses a large rack unit which includes several different preamps and two Marshall 9100 poweramps.

In 2008, Tipton appears to have switched to ENGL amps, he describes the ampline as “Engl is the first ampline that I have ever used that not only has balls, but attitude, right out of the box”. Tipton currently plays through the ENGL Midi Tube Preamp E 580 and the ENGL Tube Poweramp E 850/50.


Late 70s and 80s: 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.

Today he only has a modified Crybaby 535Q Wah, Digitech Tone Driver, DigiTech Main Squeeze and a Yamaha midi board controlling other effects and sounds in the rack unit.

Recognition and Honors

  • He was ranked #19 on rock magazine Hit Parader's list of 100 greatest metal guitarists.
  • Sun Kil Moon released a song titled "Glenn Tipton" on their album Ghosts of the Great Highway.
  • In the popular video game Guitar Hero II, a playable character called Izzy Sparks, wears clothes very similar to the ones Glenn Tipton used under the Screaming for Vengeance tour 1983.
  • He was ranked #27 on Gigwise's Top 50 Guitarists... Ever.



Judas Priest

See the Judas Priest discography for the complete list of Judas Priest albums, as Tipton played lead guitar for all Priest's album releases.


External links

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