Gibson Custom Tony Iommi 1964
Birmingham, 1968, an evil was rising and a monster was born. Destroying everything in its path and setting in motion a whole new world of down tuned riffs and doom laden chugging, the world would never be the same again.
That monster was Black Sabbath, pioneers of heavy metal music and one of the most influential bands of all time. Helmed by the incredible Tony Iommi, Sabbath spawned a whole movement of metal artists, you can trace everything back to those early days of Paranoid, Masters of Reality and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
For almost 50 years Iommi was the heart and soul of Black Sabbath, his dark, minor key riffing, high gain distorted tone and use of alternate tunings put him at the very forefront of guitar. Over his long career, Iommi has been a loyal player of the Gibson SG, and now for 2020, Gibson have announced a Limited Edition Custom Artist Series run of the iconic 1964 “Monkey” SG that graced many of the early Sabbath records.
Nicknamed “Monkey”, and featuring the famous primate sticker just below the bridge, this guitar is the Holy Grail of Black Sabbath guitars. Heavily modded, reverse engineered and painstakingly replicated, this is the blue print to Iommi’s tone.
Featuring the traditional Mahogany body and set neck, the “Monkey” rocks a polyurethane coated fingerboard, it’s slick and speedy and was lacquered as such to help Iommi’s wax coated fingertip prosthetics glide over the surface. The ageing is super authentic and details right down to the tailpiece bushings, routing holes and zero fret have been flawlessly and genuinely recreated.
The real highlight though comes in the form of the phenomenal hand wound pickups. Tony famously worked closely with British Luthier John Birch, it was John who recovered the Gibson P-90 at the bridge and installed one of his own “Superflex” pickups in the neck. These pickups have been meticulously hand crafted by an apprentice of the late John Birch and are as close to the real deal as you can get, and they nail that Iommi sound.