Tony Iommi

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Tony Iommi
Tony Iommi



Tony Iommi is an English guitarist best known for his work in the band Black Sabbath. He is regarded as one of the fathers of heavy metal, his famous riffs linger in the memories of legions of fans throughout the world, and as such stands in the 86th position of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list.


Early Days

Tony Iommi was born on February 19th in Birmingham, England. He started playing guitar as a teenager, going through several rock/blues bands before he decided to start his own band "Earth" along three guys he knew from school: bassist Terry "Geezer" Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer John Ozzy Osbourne.

One sad event was to take place early on Tony's life though, one that almost deprived the world from one of the best known guitarists: working in a metal factory, a machine sliced off the tips of his right hand, and being Tony left handed he thought he would never be able to play again. But he didn't quit, and started playing with some soft plastic tip extensions attached to the end of his fingers.

Black Sabbath

Tony's band Earth had to change their name due to an existing formation going under the same name, so they decided to call themselves "Black Sabbath" from then on, based on the american title of an Italian horror movie called “I Tre Volti Della Paura”.

Black Sabbath soon became famous with their dark lyrics, soothing guitar riffs & heavy sound, which was a major breakthrough in the early 70s. During this time they released emblematic albums such as "Black Sabbath" (1969), Paranoid and Master of Reality (1971), Vol. 4 (1972), and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973). "Paranoid," "Iron Man," "War Pigs," and "Children of the Grave" are just some of the amazing tracks they released during this period.

By the late 70s the band was exhausted from touring, and Ozzy left. The band found a new front man on Ronnie James Dio, with whom they released several albums which kept being commercially successful, touring all over Europe & Russia.

Tony Iommi's importance in the band was unquestioned. He was Sabbath's pillar stone, who kept the band alive until the late 90s, when Sabbath's original line-up joined back and went on several tours, such as "Reunion", which recruited legions of young new fans & earned them a Grammy Award as Best Metal Performance.

Solo career & more Sabbath

His first official solo album came in 2000, "Iommi", featuring different amazing singers such as Henry Rollins, Dave Grohl, Billy Corgan, Phil Anselmo and Ozzy Osbourne

In 2001 Iommi joined Ozzy touring along with the Ozzfest, earning a second Grammy.

The original Sabbath Line-up played together again in 2004 as part of 2004's USA Ozzfest, which went on until 2005 with a Black Sabbath Europe tour. Tony found the time to release a new solo album, "Fused", along with Glenn Hughes on vocals and Kenny Aronoff on drums.

Black Sabbath were made part of both the UK Music Hall of Fame (2005) & the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2006), while Tony kept working on radio series at the Planet Rock Station in the UK.

Latest contributions

In 2006 Tony recorded three tracks along Dio for the "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years", which led to a tour that took them across Canada, USA & Europe under the name "Heaven & Hell".

They started recording a new album as "Heaven & Hell" which saw the light in 2009: "The Devil You Know", just after they finished touring along Judas Priest, Mötorhead and Testament.


Tony Iommi is well known for using various models of Gibson SG, including Standard & Custom models, as well as Epiphone SG and Riviera 12 string guitars. The most important is probably his Gibson Tony Iommi Signature model, easily recognizable due to the cross shaped inlays, which you can see here:


He has also used Fender Stratocaster models sometimes.

As for amplification he uses Laney GH 100 TI with 4x12 Celestion G12H cabs, though he also likes Engl Powerball amps.
He uses a Tycobrahe Wah Pedal as effect.



Black Sabbath
Master of Reality
Black Sabbath, Vol. 4
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'n' Roll
Technical Ecstasy
Never Say Die!


Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell
Various Artists - Heavy Metal Soundtrack
Black Sabbath - Live At Last
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
Black Sabbath - Live Evil
Black Sabbath - Born Again
Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi - Seventh Star
Black Sabbath - The Eternal Idol
Black Sabbath - Headless Cross
Various Artists - Rock Aid Armenia


Guitar Speak II - Various Artists
Black Sabbath - TYR
Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer
Ozzy Osbourne - Live and Loud
Black Sabbath - Cross Purposes
Black Sabbath - Cross Purposes Live
Black Sabbath - Forbidden
Black Sabbath - The Sabbath Stones
Ozzy Osbourne - The Ozzman Cometh
Black Sabbath - Reunion
Wayne's World Soundtrack - Various Artists


Iommi - Iommi
Black Sabbath - Past Lives
Iommi with Glenn Hughes - The 1996 DEP Sessions
Black Sabbath - Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970–1978)
Iommi with Glenn Hughes - Fused
Black Sabbath - The Best of Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath - Greatest Hits 1970-1978
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath: The Dio Years
Black Sabbath - Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Heaven and Hell - Live from Radio City Music Hall
Heaven and Hell - The Devil You Know


Black Sabbath Live 1970 Paranoid

Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave

Black Sabbath - War Pigs (Live in Paris 1970)

Related GMC Lessons

In the Style of Black Sabbath by Marcus Siepen

Black Sabbath Style Lesson by Gabriel Leopardi

Originally by Fran