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  1. #1

    Question Tony Iommi's Tone: Why is it Difficult to Duplicate the SOUND of Tony Iommi?

    Ive heard a lot of guitar players play Sabbath songs, but NEVER do they sound like Iommi. What do you think the reasons for this are?
    Last edited by IommiGeezWallofSound; 04-25-2012 at 05:12 PM.

  2. #2
    devstorm's Avatar
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    Id say its due in a large part to Tony's false fingertips and the aspects Tony has had to utilize on his guitar (String gauge etc.) to compensate for that. But aside from that he's a true original. Players like Rhoads, Blackmore, Michael Shenker, Van Halen, Vai, Vaughan, and Iommi inspire, but are impossible to copy 100%. They play with nuance and most importantly they play with tons of feel. Its easy to copy notes & play them in the same order as their heroes, but not easy to copy or emulate actual feel.
    Last edited by devstorm; 04-25-2012 at 04:44 PM.

  3. #3

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    Ive found that having detuned guitar normally helps approach his sound. Playing songs like Symptom of the Universe downtuned makes the song sound a lot more realistic.

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    Ochlocracy's Avatar
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    It's a combination of equipment (SG with P90s > Treble booster > Vintage Laney amps), his Technique (Massive chord vibrato and trills) and his prosthetic fingertips as far as I know.
    Well I donít want no preacher telling me about the god in the sky
    No I donít want no one to tell me where Iím gonna go when I die
    I wanna live my life, I donít want people telling me what to do
    I just believe in myself, ícause no one else is true

  5. #5
    Wicked Cricket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ochlocracy View Post
    It's a combination of equipment (SG with P90s > Treble booster > Vintage Laney amps), his Technique (Massive chord vibrato and trills) and his prosthetic fingertips as far as I know.
    Yes, the key to his sound is as you so elequently stated, "his massive chord vibrato", Dio was quoted as saying it was the best in business, I;m sure many fans and musicians alike, agree. I don't know of any one guitarist band that can even come close to that sound... and of course his base player ain't too shappy either. We don't usually think of bands like Sabbath, mainly those that came out of the gun slinger days of the late 60's and early 70's in England, as being a power trio, but in fact, in terms of instrumentation, that's exactly what they are ... a power trio.

  6. #6

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    Interesting. To me, his playing is an anomaly. Ive watched him carefully, and can attribute most of his sound to vibrato. Its how he decides to introduce the sound, or sustain it. As far as his prosthetics, isn't it the fret that stops the vibrating string thus his tips play a lesser role in the resonance? Putting soloing aside, the song "I" live is unbelievable in its fullness. Its one of the better songs that explain what Im alluding to and produces a sound that even Vai would have a hard time duplicating. Its not the case whereby less or silence is more, in the case of Iommi its Virbrato. He has mastered his craft. I often want to choke hearing people play Sabbath songs, that just dont get what Im saying. Its seems as if his sound antics, have been overlooked by post Van Halen/Rhoads guitar players. I am not keen on the hardware he uses, but his tone is just unbelievable.
    Last edited by IommiGeezWallofSound; 04-27-2012 at 07:00 PM.

  7. #7

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    Gary Jennings from Cathedral comes pretty close to Iommiīs sound. I have big problems differentiating between the parts Iommi and Jennings play on "Utopian Blaster".
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fMbgedL8GQ

  8. #8
    Monster Boy's Avatar
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    It's obvious. Iommi is a God among men. If you do not have that godly essence you're screwed.

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    Billy Underdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Boy View Post
    If you do not have that godly essence you're screwed.
    I guess i'm alright then...
    WILL BILL?

  10. #10

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    Big fan of Iommi's tone. I think there are a few components that are part of his early sound:

    - thin strings
    - single coils (P90)
    - treblebooster (full range)
    - volume (specifically power amp distortion)

    The 'non-gear' factors have less to do with his fingertips, and a lot more with his personality (if you allow me : a bit stand offish, dominant, menacing but also playful.
    Let's not forget that his sound is also result of playing with those specific band members.... he never really sounded the same with others. Here are some of my clips.

    Last edited by sterling#sound; 04-29-2012 at 01:47 PM.

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    Ochlocracy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked Cricket View Post
    Yes, the key to his sound is as you so elequently stated...
    Not sure if insult or complement...
    Well I donít want no preacher telling me about the god in the sky
    No I donít want no one to tell me where Iím gonna go when I die
    I wanna live my life, I donít want people telling me what to do
    I just believe in myself, ícause no one else is true

  14. #14

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    here's a couple of youtube videos showing Iommi and his endless vibrato. each note has its own haunting qualities. It the SOUND.


    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BohveBasJ1w


    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dXmqHDDmWVE
    I use to put my Led Zeppelin milk bottle in my Black Sabbath lunch box, and off to preschool I went.

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