Judas Priest Guitarist Glenn Tipton Signature Guitar

November 7, 2022
Signature Guitars
judas priest guitarist-Feature Image of the GT-600 signature guitar front and Back
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Judas Priest Guitarist Glenn Tipton Signature Guitar

ESP

Electric Sounds Products (ESP) guitar manufacturing company was started in 1975 by Hisatake Shibuya in Tokyo Japan,  providing custom replacement parts for guitars.

Like ESP’s main competitor in Japan, Ibanez, the company was known for initially making high-quality and customized replicas of famous American guitars.

First Introduction To the US Market

judas priest guitarist-Image of the ESP Company Logo

ESP Company Logo – Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

ESP guitar parts were first introduced in the US in 1983 for the local New York Scene between 1984-85 for such artists as…

  • Vinnie Vincent & Bruce Kulick (KISS)
  • Sid Mcginnis (Late Night with David Letterman session player) &
  • Ronnie Wood (The Rolling Stones)

During the same period, ESP was contracted out to make bodies and necks for Krammer and Schecter guitars, and Krammer still includes the neck construction and body bevels brought about by ESP.

ESP & George Lynch

In 1985 while on tour in Tokyo, Guitarist George Lynch visited an ESP Shop looking for replacement necks and later learned that they also built custom guitars.

Lynch and ESP joint ventured to release the first signature Kamikaze model.

(See Image) 

judas priest guitarist-Image of the ESP Kamikaze -1 Guitar by George Lynch

ESP Kamikaze-1 George Lynch Signature Model – Image courtesy of reverb.com

The company expanded its Signature Series division and its standard production line from this initial collaboration and discontinued its replacement parts division of the business, solely focusing on its guitar and bass line and the custom shop series models.

The Kamikaze I model features a…

  • Camouflage colour scheme-Black/tan/yellow/red
  • Ebony fretboard &
  • Maple body and neck

The only design upgrade was that the original did not have a recessed cavity for the tremolo system, but it is recessed on the ESP signature Series.

Leaving New York

In 1993 ESP moved its headquarters to Los Angeles, and in 1995 the company started the LTS Series, created to produce ESP’s High-quality products at a more affordable price, later followed by the introduction of the Korean and Indonesian-made LTD Lines.

ESP Made In Japan

In 1995 the company stopped selling most of its Japanese-made flagship guitars in the US due to the high prices involved in supply chain.

Resuming the exporting of the standard Japanese-made lines to the states again in the early 2000s because of the popularity among the era’s Heavy Metal and Hard Rock players supply and demand.

ESP is now based in Tokyo and Los Angeles and manufactures electric Guitars and Basses under several brand names, including…

  • ESP Standard & Custom shop
  • LTD Guitars and Basses &
  • Navigator

File Suits From Gibson

With the main US instrument manufacturer Gibson Guitars, realizing that ESP, like Ibanez, was taking a market share, the US company filed suits preventing sales of the American design copy models, forcing the Japanese guitar company to redesign its lines to be less similar to the Americans.

Fastest Growing Companies

Struggling to compete with Jackson throughout the 90s-2000s, In 2002, ESP was ranked among the music industry’s faster-growing companies, primarily due to the Fender buyout of Jackson, many switching to ESP, igniting a feud between players.

ESP/Jackson Camps

Jackson’s players pointed out that ESP became known for copying popular instruments, and ESP Players cited that Fender’s buyout diluted the once-metal image of Jacksons’ brand.

From this feud, ESP has crowned the new king.

In 2005 ESP celebrated its 30th Anniversary, and in 2006 the company showcased 22 of its newest signature series and standard models at the Winter NAMM 2006.

Among the signature artist showcasing their newest ESP models and signing autographs were

  • Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)
  • George Lynch (Dokken)

Brand Champions

The Brand Champions for this company are many, including…

Glenn Tipton

judas priest guitarist-Image of the Artist Playing onstage

Glenn Tipton Playing Live at the Judas Priest Retribution 2005 Tour- Author Zach Petersen – Image courtesy of Wikimedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Glenn Raymond Tipton is an English guitarist and composer best known for his work as one-half of the lead work for the heavy metal band Judas Priest.

Early years

Glenn was exposed to music by his older brother, a guitar player in a local band and was taught to play piano by his mother, eventually picking up his first guitar at 19.

Guitar Influences

Other early influences that left an impression on the Artist were Peter Green, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher and Jimi Hendrix…

Tipton Speaking on Hendrix

“I still can’t believe where Hendrix came from. OK, Seattle, maybe, but he just suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere, this black guy playing guitar in a way no one had imagined it could be played. He was more than a genius in my eyes, someone very, very special.”

Early Guitars

Tipton started on a Rickenbacker until he could afford a Fender Stratocaster, which would be his main instrument and later a Gibson SG.

After joining Judas Priest in 1974, the Artist quickly added guitar parts and keyboards on the early albums, becoming one of the band’s principal songwriters and one of the genre’s most influential metal guitarists of his time.

Solo Project

Forming a solo project in the mid-’90s, Tipton would release his first album Baptism of Fire in 1997 and Edge of the World in 2006.

judas priest guitarist-Feature Image of the Artist first solo album

To Get A Copy Of Baptism Of Fire, Tap On Image-Courtesy of Amazon

Playing Style

Along with his fellow band member guitarist K.K. Downing. Tipton is best known for his unique guitar playing technique and complex classically influenced solos; in contrast to Downing, Tipton’s solos tend to be more melodic with a legato blues rock sound.

For recording, Tipton’s solos would be improvised but then reproduced live note for note.

Constantly Improving Guitar Techniques

Although Tipton’s solos have maintained a consistent style for most of his career showcasing accuracy, speed and precision, he has continuously developed as a guitarist and incorporated new techniques into his playing over the years, using…

  • Harmonic minor, Aeolian Mode and Pentatonic scales
  • Alternate & Arpeggio Sweep-picking
  • Legato picking, Tapping /Hammer-ons and pull-offs 
  • Pinch harmonics and his trademark 2-string bend and Tremolo /Whammy dive bombs.

Judas Priest

Headbanger

With the trademark Judas Priest Style of Metal that was marked with heavy and fast riffs and driving rhythms, along with a band image of leather and studs, the term Headbanger was created.

Staying True To Themselves

In over 18 studio Albums, even though the band always tries to stay current with their gear, sound and playing, they have never deviated from their heavy style of music.

This tried and true formula went on to sell over 50 million copies and amass a net worth of 100 million dollars.

Illness & Uncertainty With Judas Priest

Diagnosed during the Redeemer of Souls Tour (October 1, 2014 – December 17, 2015,) Tipton was diagnosed with onset Parkinson’s disease.

The disease prevented Tipton from playing at the level he was accustomed to performing at.

He kept it to himself,  and despite his determination to fight the disease, he continued to record and tour until February 12, 2018, still appearing onstage periodically, health permitting.

It caused heartbreak for the band and fans worldwide and overwhelming support from both.

The Glenn Tipton Parkinsons Foundation

Judas Priest would go on to start a foundation in the bandmate’s honour to raise funds in hopes of supporting research and getting closer to finding a cure that the Artist called a “pretty cruel disease.”

Soundtrack Music

Tipton would like to focus his energy on creating music for the film industry because he is a big fan of soundtrack music and follows the works of composers like Hans Zimmer.

“One day, when I’m good enough to, I wouldn’t even call it a film score, but I’d like that opportunity to make music for film. It would be really exciting for me to do.” 

Glenn Tipton

The Guitar

The legendary Judas Priest guitarist has worked with ESP to design a signature-based instrument on the ESP Viper Shape models.

This LTD GT-600 features a Mahogany body and 3-piece Maple neck, his signature EMG pickups, Set-Thru neck construction, Ebony fingerboard, 24 extra-jumbo frets, a Kahler Hybrid Tremolo and more.

(Read on)

judas priest guitarist-Image of the Signature Guitar Full on body

The Signature LTD GT-600 w/ 3 piece Maple Neck and Signature EMG Pickups and Kahler Hybrid Bridge-Image courtesy of equipboard.com

Technical Specs

Body

  • Body MaterialMahogany
  • Body ShapeDouble Cutaway
  • FinishGloss Black

Neck

  • Neck Material3Pc Maple
  • Fingerboard Material – Macassar Ebony
  • Fingerboard Radius350mm/24/78″
  • Scale24.75″
  • Frets24 Xtra Jumbo
  • Neck ProfileThin U shape
  • Nut Width42mm/1.65″
  • Nut TypeLocking
  • Neck ConstructionSet-Through

Set-Through Neck Construction

Made from one continuous piece of wood and seen on high-end instruments, you have no separation in the junction between the neck and the body, allowing smooth and fast access to the highest frets.

(See Image)

judas priest guitarist-Image of the Back of the guitars neck through construction

The GT-600 with Set-Thru Neck Construction-Image Courtesy of long-mcquade.com 

Designed with no separation connection between the body and the neck, this process maximizes sustain, resonance, and tonal quality.

Pros

  • Look and Feel Slick and Clean
  • Maximum Tonal Resonance and Sustain
  • It easily plays in the higher fret registers

Cons

  • If the neck gets damaged, it is impossible to replace, so you need to purchase an entirely new instrument.
  • It is the most expensive of the 3 types of neck construction and takes significant experience and skill to manufacture.
  • Unlike the bolt-on, you cannot mix and match fretboards.

PowerStation

Two Active Signature “Vengence” EMG Pickups power this impressive instrument for more output and gain than passive pickups; They provide definition, clarity and high gain.

  • Neck PickupSignature Vengence w/red covers
  • Bridge PickupSignature Vengence w/red covers
judas priest guitarist-Feature Image of the GT-600 Hardware, controls and PowerStation

Image of the GT-600 w/Signature EMG Pickups, Chrome mirror pickguard and Kahler/Hybrid Bridge-Image courtesy of long-mcquade.com 

Hardware & Controls

  • TunersLTS Locking
  • Strap AttachmentsStandard
  • Hardware colourChrome w/mirror pickguard to match the rest of its chrome hardware.
  • Controls3-way toggle switch and Master volume
judas priest guitarist-Image of the controls on the guitar

One Master Volume & 3-way Switch – Image courtesy of long-mcquade.com

  • Bridge – A Kahler/Hybrid

Neck and Headstock Binding

The GT has binding on the neck and headstock to match the colour scheme of the guitar.

(See image)

judas priest guitarist-Feature Image of the guitars headstock and binding

The GT-600 w/Neck and Headstock Binding in Red-Image courtesy of espguitars.com

The ESP GT 600 Signature Guitar

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Mahogany Body
  • 3-piece Maple Neck w/Ebony Fingerboard
  • Signature Set Of Vengence EMG Pickups
  • Set-Thru Neck Construction
  • Kahler Hybrid Tremolo
  • Chrome w/Mirror Pickguard
  • Binding On The Neck & Headstock
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Distinctive
judas priest guitarist-Feature Image of the Signature pickups by the artist

EMG GTV Glenn Tipton Vengeance Guitar Pickups Set in Red – To Get Yours Tap The Image – Courtesy Of Amazon

Final Thoughts

With this genre of music and the Judas Priest music catalogue, you will either be a fan or not.

Tipton’s works with Downing were always solid; even after 3 decades of his role in Judas Priest, I felt they were always committed to staying on top of their techniques and staying fresh, despite the structure of their music not having much variance.

Should You Add This To Your Collection?

This guitar will do what it was designed to do: play Metal and do it with style.

It is versatile enough for other music genres but is still a distinctive-looking signature instrument.

I am a big fan of the EMG Pickups, U-shaped Neck Profile, and Set-Thru Neck Construction, all of which make it easier for you to play at your best.

judas priest guitarist-Feature Image of the Artist playing his GT-600 live for CTA Image

Want To See More On Glenn Tipton-Tap On The Image Above

Did You Like This Article?

Check out my review of the Marty Friedman Signature MF-1

Also…

I would like to hear your comments in the section below, and if you would like me to review a favourite guitar, give me a request.

As always, stay the course and keep playing.

Feature Front Image of GT-600 courtesy of long-mcquade.com
Feature Back Image of GT-600 courtesy of long-mcquade.com
Image of Artist courtesy of Wikimedia Author – Fernando Catalina Landa- and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Image of Artist in CTA courtesy of Amazon.com

Gstringuitars.com website logo

Judas Priest Guitarist Glenn Tipton Signature ESP LTD GT-600

$1699.00
8.1

Mahogany Body

8.0/10

3-piece Maple Neck w/Ebony Fingerboard

8.0/10

Signature Set Of EMG Pickups

8.5/10

Set-Thru Neck Construction

8.5/10

Kahler Hybrid Tremolo

7.5/10

Pros

  • 3-piece Maple Neck w/Ebony Fingerboard
  • Set-Thru Neck Construction
  • Chrome w/Mirror Pickguard
  • Signature Set Of EMG Pickups
  • Kahler Hybrid Tremolo

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Distinctive
https://gstringuitars.com/

Starting A Journey At 7 Years Of Age, The Love For The Guitar Only Became Stronger Going Into My Teens. This Leading To An Exciting Time Of Teaching, Performing, And Recording. Join Me Now As We Can Bring The Love Of This Instrument To Other Musicians Globally.

    Comments
    • What a great overview and discussion of this guitar! I guess Judas Priest is now considered classic rock. I have always been a fan of classic rock with the distinctive guitar solos throughout. Guns ‘n Roses, Aerosmith, and the more hard rock qualities of Judas Priest. I’ve always been interested in learning the guitar and there’s never a bad time to pick one up!

      Brendon November 12, 2022 11:36 am Reply
      • Hello Brendon 

        Thank you for the visit and the feedback on our new post; I am glad you found the article valuable, and you are correct. There is never a wrong time to learn this fantastic instrument.

        admin November 12, 2022 11:36 am Reply
    • Great article!! I grew up listening to Guns ‘n’ Roses, had an atempt to learn to play a clasic guitar which me and my sister bought with the money from our allowance but unfortunately my parents didn’ t afford paying our lessons! Still I find amazing the sound of a guitar and I believe classic rock will never die!  I’d be curious to know about Slash’s guitar though, he’s a great guitarist too.

      Thank you for your effort of writting this awesome story!

      Lucy November 17, 2022 1:46 pm Reply
      • Hello Lucy 

        Thank you for visiting the site and leaving your feedback and comments.

        It is nice to see that you found value in the information.

        And you are right classic rock will never get erased from music history; too much talent!

        Feel free to read about the Firebird signature guitar from Slash, a rare bird.

        Will look forward to seeing you again on the site.

        Dino

        admin November 17, 2022 6:22 pm Reply

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