By leveraging its iconic past and leaning into an innovative future, Gibson has set the stage for the next era of sound for present and future generations. Gibson is proud to take the next step in the partnership with legendary guitarist of Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi and launch the Tony Iommi SG Special from Gibson USA, a new and exciting version of his beloved SG guitar which helped shape the start of Heavy Metal. The Gibson Tony Iommi SG Special is now available worldwide on www.Gibson.com.
Tony Iommi’s iconic riffs, heavy tones, and massively influential albums created the blueprint for heavy metal and many other genres to follow. After an early accident that almost ended his career as a guitarist, Tony persevered to become universally loved and revered. And while Tony’s innovative tuning and playing styles have always been a major part of his monstrous tones, his original, heavily–modified 1964 Gibson SG Special, nick-named “Monkey” was at the center of it all.
“Recently, I was invited to Nashville by Cesar and JC who I must tell you are so enthusiastic and passionate,” explains Tony Iommi. “I had the opportunity to go to the Gibson factories, meet the people that work there, and I saw how dedicated they all are to the craft. There’s no stopping Gibson, which is great for all of us guitar players and I am pleased to now be able to share this SG guitar with a wide audience.”
“Tony Iommi is the true definition of a musical pioneer and as the architect of the Heavy Metal movement, he deserves to be celebrated at every opportunity,” says Lee Bartram, EU Head of Marketing & Cultural Influence, Gibson Brands. “With this guitar, Gibson USA has created the ultimate tribute to an icon resulting in a very cool Gibson SG suitable for all genres of music.”
Now Gibson USA has created the Tony Iommi SG Special guitar based on the iconic original that launched countless heavy riffs. The Tony Iommi SG Special in Vintage Cherry is fully available in both left-handed and right-handed versions and features a mahogany body, bound mahogany neck with a rounded profile, Indian rosewood fretboard with 22 frets, a Graph Tech® nut, Grover® Rotomatic® tuners with contemporary style buttons, and chrome-covered P-90 pickups. A reproduction of Tony’s “Monkey” sticker is also included in the custom case.
About Tony Iommi:
Tony Iommi is synonymous with heavy rock, his innovative, de-tuned, dark riffs are considered to be the blueprint for hundreds of bands that followed. Born on February 19, 1948, in Birmingham, England, left-handed Tony picked up the guitar after being inspired by the likes of Hank Marvin & the Shadows as a teenager. Iommi’s musical career was nearly derailed prematurely as he suffered a horrible accident at a sheet metal factory, when a machine sliced off the tips of the fingers on his right hand. Figuring that his guitar playing days were behind him, a friend turned him onto guitarist Django Reinhardt (who lost use of two fingers in a gypsy caravan campfire accident), inspiring Tony to give the six-string another go, with soft plastic tips attached to the ends of his fingers. By 1967, he had played with several blues-based rock bands one of which evolved into Polka Tulk (later titled Earth and then Black Sabbath), with bassist Terry “Geezer” Butler, drummer Bill Ward , and singer John “Ozzy” Osbourne.
Black Sabbath created the blueprint for heavy metal with such incredibly influential, all-time classic releases as their 1970 self-titled debut and Paranoid , 71’s Master of Reality , 1972’s Vol. 4 , and 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath . These albums lifted Black Sabbath to one of the world’s top hard rock bands in the process. Iommi’s guitar playing propelled such metal standards as “Black Sabbath,” “N.I.B.,” “Paranoid,” “Iron Man,” “War Pigs,” “Into the Void,” and “Children of the Grave,” which boast some of the most recognizable guitar riffs in rock history .
Black Sabbath had multiple line-up changes following Osbourne’s departure in 1979, with Iommi being the band’s primary composer and the only constant member throughout its history. All while keeping Black Sabbath touring and releasing albums, Tony released the well-received solo albums Iommi and Fused and formed the successful band Heaven & Hell with bandmates with Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice. Heaven & Hell released The Devil You Know (2009) to rave reviews and world tours.
In 2011, Iommi published his autobiography titled Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath which went on to make the New York Times Bestseller list.
Black Sabbath’s final studio album and nineteenth overall, 13 (2013), featured all of the original members except Ward . Despite undergoing both chemo and radio therapy treatment for Follicular (non-Hodgkin) Lymphoma, Iommi remained his ever-determined self, and writing for the new Sabbath album continued at his home studio with Ozzy and Geezer in the UK for an extended period. Tony had recovered sufficiently to play a hometown gig in Birmingham , along with headline appearances at Download Festival and Lollapalooza , the mighty Sabbath were back! 13 became a staggering success and reached #1 in the U.S., amazingly the first Sabbath album to do so. It also got to the top in most countries around the world, in the U.K. setting a record for being a 40-year span between #1’s , the longest ever!
Black Sabbath has been ranked by MTV as the “Greatest Metal Band” of all time, and placed second in VH1 ‘s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” list. Rolling Stone magazine ranked them number 85 on their “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” while Iommi was ranked number 25 in Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” Black Sabbath have sold over 70 million records worldwide. Black Sabbath were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. They have also won three GRAMMY Awards, two for Best Metal Performance for “Iron Man” and “God is Dead?” Iommi also received a GRAMMY nomination this year for his work with Candlemass. During their “The End Of The End” farewell tour, the band played their final concert in their home city of Birmingham on February 4, 2017 and in 2019, the band was presented their third GRAMMY, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gibson, the leading iconic guitar brand, has shaped the sounds of generations of musicians and music lovers across genres for 127 years. Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Nashville, Gibson Brands has a legacy of world-class craftsmanship, legendary music partnerships, and progressive product evolution that is unrivaled among musical instrument companies. The Gibson Brands portfolio includes Gibson, the leading guitar brand, as well as many of the most beloved and recognizable music brands, including Epiphone, which has been on every stage since 1873, Kramer, the original MADE TO ROCK HARD guitar brand, MESA/Boogie, the home of tone, and KRK, behind great music for over 30 years. Gibson Brands is dedicated to quality, innovation, and sound excellence so that music lovers for generations to come will continue to experience music shaped by Gibson Brands. Learn more at Gibson.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Gibson TV, and Instagram.