Tony Iommi is a living legend, and one of the few musicians who has ever been called the father of a major genre of music. Tony, of course, is the father of heavy metal music. Tony is a person who is completely dedicated to his art.
He famously lost the tips of two of his fingers on a job he had had before becoming the legendary father of heavy metal guitar. The finger tips were from fingers on his right hand. Tony is left handed, and so, well, surely you can see how this would be a major obstacle towards the playing of a guitar?
Tony kept on trucking. One can be sure that after his injury he'd became discouraged. Probably, he thought it was all over for a while, but his career as a guitarist was only beginning. He's still playing today, and often. You can't even have Black Sabbath without Tony Iommi, he's the one person who has always been in the band. The band otherwise would not, and could not exist. He's also had a solo career.
Rolling Stone magazine isn't a reliable source for much. What can't be disputed about them is they are a longstanding publication with a wide and large set of readers. Well, they do polls to rank musicians, and Tony has been ranked by their readers as the 25th greatest guitarist of all time.
Iommi is very British, but his family moved to Birmingham, England from Italy. He's maybe more of a godfather than a father of a major genre of music. Tony is an extremely nice guy for a legend, but to continue with the gangster theme, he'd once been known as 'Scarface' for another injury he'd had earlier on in life.
Ozzy Osbourne has always got more attention than Tony, or the other fine musicians who have been a part of Black Sabbath. Ozzy was the front man, the vocalist, and everyone knows what a wild man he once was. It's the stuff of legends, the excess, the drugs and the drinks, the wild wild parties.
Well, their relationships have certainly proved to be fruitful. I don't know what my life would be like without the music of Black Sabbath. I can only imagine more depression for me, were I to not have had, and still have, access to the wonderful music. Their music is often dark, but the subjects need to be addressed, and put to song. The invisible hand of the music marketplace satisfied that need, with Black Sabbath.
Some say Bill Warde, the primary writer of the lyrics led the band. He often provided amazing bass guitar lines which would kick off the songs, but it is Iommi, with his particular style of guitar playing, which seems to have made the most deep impression on the minds of the masses. Iommi, along with another famous Brit guitarist, Jimmy Page, are perhaps the two most prominent of what we call 'riff lords.'
Guitar World magazine, because of its readership, and dedicated subject matter, ranks Iommi as the 7th greatest rock guitarist of all time. These magazine opinion poll rankings serve to show impact upon the consumer public. I'll tell you about impact, there would have never been a famous Ozzy Osbourne without Tony, and probably there would not have been a Metallica, a Megadeth, and many many more big money, hugely influential artists.
The music has always been dark. It is a very black sabbath, after all. Social and political unrest, drug abuse and madness, and pessimism in general, along with the notion one should still never say die, these are the themes of Black Sabbath.
Because of the injuries to Tony's fingerboard hand, he slacked the strings down in pitch from standard tuning. It wasn't something he did to create a different sound from others, it was something he did to compensate for an injury. It is important one know slacking the tuning isn't the slightest bit necessary for to play on the Epiphone Tony Iommi SG guitar.
As should be well known to anyone reading an article such as this one, the standard Gibson scale length of a solid body electric guitar such as the SG, its shorter than what Fender guitars use. The scale length of the guitar effects not just the tonality a guitar will provide, but also how tight the strings will be in standard tuning. So, slacking the stings of a Fender guitar in the manner Tony uses on a Gibson, still leaves you with greater string tension than were one to be using a Gibson rather than Fender. Such details can be important, and they certainly were to Tony Iommi.
The first Gibson SG Tony had did not have the sorts of features we now have with either Gibson or Epiphone Iommi Signature series guitars. Tony commissioned a fellow Englishman named John Diggins to build his first SG style guitar with a twenty four fret neck, and cross fingerboard positioning marker inlays. He liked the guitar so much he had two more built for him. Tony has several Gibson SG guitars as well. At some point in time Tony got with the craftsmen at Gibson in order to produce a Tony Iommi Gibson humbucking pickup.
When you are a guy like me, you are in dozens of Facebook groups about guitars, guitar playing, guitar music, and all manner of assorted guitar gear. Guitar players are often total gear heads, and by that I mean they think and talk constantly about their equipment, the specifications, and how wonderful it all is. Guitarists romanticize their equipment the way a young man will do an object of sexual desire.
The Tony Iommi Limited Edition Signature SG, by Epiphone is an expensive Epiphone guitar. Epiphone makes a lot of inexpensive guitars, but this is one of the more expensive ones. There are Gibson SG models which you can buy which cost less than does this guitar. The thing is an expensive Epiphone is often thought to be a better guitar than the less expensive Gibson models. This is a contentious subject, but I'm pretty qualified to talk about it.
I wrote another article about the 10 best Gibson SG guitars for under a thousand dollars. The Epiphone Iommi has very similar specifications to many of those ten. Gibson seems to be moving towards a two octave neck for their SG guitars. Where Gibson leads, Epiphone can be counted on to follow. They have the same ownership, of course. Now, for some people those two extra frets are meaningful, for other persons they simply aren't. Which sort of player you are depends on you, your style, and on your hands and fingers. There is more here to be loved than two extra frets.
The Epiphone Tony Iommi Limited Edition Signature Series SG guitar features custom Gibson pickups. When you buy an expensive Epiphone you often do get Gibson pickups. In this case we're talking about Tony Iommi's own design.
Tony Iommi is a left handed guy, but in the case of this guitar, the model is available in both left hand and right hand versions. Back to that two octave fingerboard - that fingerboard is ebony instead of rosewood. Ebony is absolutely a more expensive material, and those cross inlays are not cheap either. Takes a lot of labor and expensive material to inlay those into ebony. Myself, I can feel and, call me crazy if you like, feel the difference between an ebony board and a rosewood one. I'll pick ebony over rosewood every single time.
These guitars are also all going to be ebony black in color. They sell for seven hundred and ninety nine dollars new. I just hope they keep making these guitars, and I'd like it quite a lot were Tony to live many more fine music making years.