Rabu, 04 Mei 2011

K. K. Downing

Kenneth "K. K." Downing, Jr. (born 27 October 1951 in Yew Tree Estate in West Bromwich, England) is a Grammy Award winning guitarist, songwriter and a founding member of the British heavy metal band Judas Priest. He received his stage name when a girl in Denmark could not pronounce his name and called him "K. K." instead.


Downing dropped out of school when he was fifteen, and was kicked out of his house when he was sixteen. He had little ambition at the time, until he picked up the guitar.

Playing style and technique

Influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Downing bought his first guitar at the age of sixteen. According to an interview by Guitar One magazine, Downing found little support from his parents for his career of choice. This did not change even after Judas Priest achieved worldwide commercial success and critical acclaim. Together with his schoolmate and fellow band founding member Ian Hill, Downing has been solely dedicated to the band for more than 35 years.

Downing has been noted for his aggressive, rock influenced guitar solos and dual leads with fellow Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton. 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 Tipton, his solos tend to incorporate a more raw, rough-edged sound, making use of techniques like pinch harmonics, dive bombs, and tremolo picking, and often focus on speed, technical accuracy and melody. In 1978, Tipton began to incorporate tapping into his playing, which Downing promptly began to use as well. By 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. Notable guitar solos are on such tracks as "Victim of Changes", the 2nd solo in "Beyond the Realms of Death", "Before The Dawn", "Sinner", "Don't Go", the 2nd solo in "Painkiller", and the live version of "Breaking The Law". Notable guitar duels are on such tracks as "Hellrider", "The Sentinel", "Ram It Down", "Metal Meltdown" and "Screaming For Vengeance".

In Judas Priest's early years, Downing made common use of the wah-wah pedal, but began to limit his use of it in the late '70s, and had abandoned use of it by the mid-'80s, save for during live performances of the songs that originally featured it. The only time since then that he has renewed use of it was in 1996, when vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens joined the band, and they began to experiment with their music more than before. One of these experimentations was the renewal of wah-wah in Downing's playing, which can be heard on their 1997 album Jugulator. This experimentation was taken further on their next album with Owens, 2001's Demolition, but was once more abandoned when the band's former vocalist, Rob Halford, returned to the band.

Downing owns a home in Spain, but his main abode is Astbury Hall in Shropshire, England. It is in a very secluded area so he can (as stated in a 2007 interview) "blast his Marshalls." Sarah Lissimore, his former girlfriend, mounted a legal challenge for half of Downing's Shropshire estate. This was based on his assertion, "I'd bet you'd love to be lady of this Manor, wouldn't you?". The High Court rejected the notion that this assertion could give rise to proprietary estoppel in favour of Lissimore.

Recognition and honors

Downing was ranked 23 on rock magazine Hit Parader's list of 100 greatest metal guitarists.


Downing has many guitars, among them:

•    1964 Gibson Flying V Limited Edition with Gibson PAF pickups (one out of 200)
•    1970 Gibson Flying V with Maestro vibrato bar (number 233 out of 500)
•    1969 Fender Stratocaster (White) with left-handed neck
•    1970-71 Fender Stratocaster (Sunburst)
•    Custom Hamer Vector, Vector KK and KK Mini V guitars
•    ESP Custom V guitar
•    Judas Priest Special V Handmade by Daniel R. Johnson (K. K.'s former touring guitar tech).
•    K. K.'s new KxK Custom Shop V K. K. Downing Model 2 guitar.
•    Ovation Acoustic

Amplifiers and effects

•    Digitech 1101 Preamp
•    Marshall 9100 Power Amplifier.
•    Marshall JMP-1 Preamp
•    Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
•    Rocktron Piranha Preamp
•    Marshall JMP Non master volume heads
•    [MXR] Distortion +

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