Tony Iommi Tribute SG

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Russell Rubman, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. Russell Rubman

    Russell Rubman New Member

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    Hi all,

    First time poster here. Nice to meet you!

    I have played Gibsons for many years but lately I have been digging into the great Mr. Iommi's riffs and, so, have decided to get a tribute guitar together. Not necessarily the monkey variety but a nice black SG standard with steel cross inlays and a pair of killer pups like the John Birch ones.

    OK, that said, a custom shop Iommi tribute is crazy expensive and an Epiphone one is slummin' it a bit :-)

    I'd like some ideas from those of you in the know please. Should I build one and do all the mods myself over time, buy a Birch or Old Boy tribute model (maybe used?).

    Just looking to dig into tones from the early albums through Heaven and Hell and want a little flash for my journey!
     
  2. Kareem Badr

    Kareem Badr New Member

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    (I've been in a bit of an Iommi gear deep dive lately...)

    You probably know this, but the classic albums and Heaven & Hell era are pretty different sounds. The first couple albums were done with P-90 pickups, and then Iommi moved to the John Birch custom pickups.

    John Birch's website is pretty thin on details and info regarding the pickups, but the Magnum 4 and Hyperflux 5 set (I believe) are nicknamed the "Heaven & Hell" pickups, so that's going to get Iommi's post-70s sound.

    If you're looking for a little flash, and really focusing on replicating the Iommi 70s sound, a John Birch guitar with appropriate era pickups might be the way to go. I believe the JayDee Old Boy guitar was from the early 80s, and reflects the H&H sound. Honestly, I think it just comes down to personal taste. Pick the replica you like from JayDee or John Birch and outfit it with the John Birch pickups you prefer. That'll look and sound great and be much cheaper than the expensive custom shop Gibsons.

    A lot of Iommi's early sound came from the P-90s, the overdubs he did, and a treble booster. Of all the videos I've seen on YouTube, this one manages to nail his tone the closest, and describes the various layers that contribute to the tone.

     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  3. Jason

    Jason Active Member

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    Get a P90 SG special/Jr or Les Paul Special with a Sabra Cadabra pedal for the sound of the first 3 albums.

    I actually use the pedal with an 2013 SG standard 57's and all that as well as my P90 SG Jr. and it gets pretty damn close either way.
    Vol4 and beyond the sound changes? Treble booster got tossed pickups changed out?
    Cool pedal
     
  4. Russell Rubman

    Russell Rubman New Member

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    So I've thought it through and I think I am really after the Iommi sound but not as needy on the guitar-look part of the puzzle.
    I can buy a Gibson SG Special 60's Tribute with P90's for $1000 and call it a day - or up the ante for a '63 Custom Shop reissue for $2400. Either way I can get the John Birch pickups and replace the stock P90's to dial in that overwound sound.
    Is there really a big enough difference between the Custom shop offering and the SG Special to warrant the extra $1400?
    I am replacing the pickups either way but my main concern is with build quality. I have played a Les Paul but never an SG. I've heard all the stories about neck dive and balance, etc. - is the difference easy to notice right away?
     
  5. Wild Bill212

    Wild Bill212 Member

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    Getting Iommi's tone is an admirable goal ! If your aiming at mid-70's Tony you will need, along w/SG & Laney Amp, a Treble-Boost pedal and a place you can blast the amp in. IDK if the Dallas 'Range-Master' Treble-Boost that T.I. used is available any longer. The REVERB offerings are surely big $$$$$$ ! I find the Catlinbread 'Naga-Vyper' Treble Boost to be the one that has got me closest to T.I.'s tone. That along with the rest of the requirements.
     
  6. Russell Rubman

    Russell Rubman New Member

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    I have the Sabra Cadabra and it is pretty cool. Do you think that the Naga Viper would be an improvement because the Sabra Cadabra is really pretty much a treble booster on its own?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021

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