Here is a selected list of Tony’s equipment, with some pictures and a few words about each.
- Epiphone P94 Iommi model
- Epiphone Riviera 12 string
- Epiphone Tony Iommi G-400
- Fender Stratocasters
- Artist Model Gibson
- Black Gibson Custom Shop S.G.
- Black Gibson S.G. Standard
- Red Gibson Custom Shop S.G.
- Red Gibson SG (Monkey)
- The Story of the Gibson Tony Iommi Signature Pick-up by Mike Clement
- Jaydee Custom S.G. (a.k.a. No. 1, The Old Boy)
Gear Used on the 1996 DEP Sessions Album:
On the original 1996 sessions at the Cabin Studios in Coventry and Dep Studios in Birmingham, Tony used Gibson SG and Les Paul guitars, the Jaydee Custom SG, a Fender Telecaster in the ‘overstrung’ or ‘Nashville tuning’ mode, a Steinberger Transtrem guitar, a Gibson J50 acoustic and a Fender nylon strung classical guitar. Amplification was by Laney GH100TI amplifiers, a Laney VC30 amplifier, a Marshall 2554 amplifier and Laney speakers. Guitar effects were provided by a Peavey TubeFex unit. All guitar strings used were by La Bella.
Glenn used a Fender Jazz bass and a Warwick bass. The bass amp was a Laney BC 120.
The original 24 track 2” tapes were transferred to the digital ProTools format by Mike Exeter, who had engineered the DEP sessions. The 2004 drum sessions with Jim Copley were recorded at Tone Hall, Tony’s home studio. They were played on Yamaha drums and Zildjan cymbals. The studio gear used was ProTools LE on Digitech 002R, Mackie 32ch 8 bus desk, Mackie HUI control surface, Mackie HR824 & Yamaha NS10 monitor speakers. Computer power was by Apple Mac G4 dual processor tower and Powerbook and ibook laptop units. Signal processing was by Universal Audio 1176, DBX 160A, Klark Teknik 504 & 514, Midas XL42, Eventide HR3000DSE, Roland SDE 3000 &Yamaha SPX90.
Gear Used on the 2005 Fused Album:
The album was recorded at Monnow Valley studios, just outside Monmouth in South Wales. The studio features a very large live room and a separate control room housing the SSL mixing desk, the Pro Tools computer system and the sound processing gear.
The same guitar gear set-up was used throughout the recording phase of the project. Three 4 x 12” cabinets, two Laney and one old Marshall, were placed side by side in the live room, separated by large acoustic baffles. The Laney cabs were loaded with the old HH 41211 drivers (very similar to the Celestion G12 75) and the Marshall with Celestion Vintage 30s. Each cab was miked by one Shure SM 57. The amps were set up in the control room. There were five amp heads stacked up, two Laney GH 100 TIs, one Laney TT 100, one Paul Reed Smith modified Marshall JCM 800 and one vintage Vox AC30 head. Also in the control room was a small M C Electrics effects board with full bypass switch. The guitar effects used were; Boss Over Drive, MXR Phase 90, AnalogMan Chorus, DOD Octave divider, Tycobrahe Parapedal wah, Ibanez flanger, Boss delay, Jim Dunlop Rotovibe, Jim Dunlop Univibe.
The signal path was guitar into M C Electrics A/B switch (to allow routing to Korg rack tuner), into the bypass switch on the effects board, then into a Pete Cornish active splitter/ground-lift unit, then out to whichever combination of amps was being used and finally out to the cabinets via heavy gauge speaker cables.
The recording can be split into 3 main phases: tracking, solos and overdubs.
For tracking, most songs used the Laney TI100s and Marshall amp heads and a combination of Gibson Custom Shop Iommi model SGs and Les Pauls. Generally the SGs had lighter strings and the Les Pauls heavier. Different guitars were used as some songs were in D# and some down to C# with low strings sometimes going down to A#.
Most solos were played on the JayDee ‘Old Boy’ SG, though an Epiphone Iommi SG fitted with Gibson P94 pick-ups and a Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster were also used. These were played using the Laney TIs and the Marshall.
The overdubs used a selection of the amps depending on the sound required. Cleaner bits used mostly the Vox head though some used the clean channel of the Laney TT100. This is where most of the modulation type effect units were used. Guitars used here were mostly the Iommi Custom Shop SGs, the P94 loaded Epiphone Iommi SG, a Fender Telecaster, a Fernandes Sustainer and the Strat.
The acoustic parts were played on a Taylor 815L, a Gibson J 50 and an Epiphone PR 350CE.
Gear Used on 13 album:
(as written by Mike Exeter)
During the recording of 13 Tony used a combination of his new signature Laney TI100, an old Laney Klipp and a Laney Supergroup. The different amps were used to provide a left and right difference in the stereo mix.
Various treble boosters and straight gain boosters were used to drivethe input of the cleaner channels which smoothed out the sound to get to a more vintage sound. The TI100 was absolutely brilliant in it’s versatility to create the sounds we were looking for.
Shimmery clean parts either had a chorus or a Leslie rotary pedal to give width to them. They were recorded via a little single speaker combo at very low volume at Tony’s home studio. Some of the solos were done there too, again through the TI100. A standout moment was Age of Reason which was the original take with the guys at Rick’s studio and the solo is just what Tony played on the day. Tony just went for it and his face was a picture just “vibing it!!”
Most of the guitars used were custom built “New Boys” (replicas of Tony’s stalwart “Old Boy”) made by the original luthier John Diggings (Jaydee) along with a couple of his signature Gibson SG models. There were also some lovely Taylor acoustics which sound brilliant. The ever present Steinberger GM4T was used for clean parts – a very versatile guitar even though it looks a bit odd!!
Ultimately the sound created was down to how Tony played. His setup is incredibly simple and, like most great guitarists, it comes from his fingers.
Special thanks should go to Dave Hirons (TI100 designer), Mike Hill (Pedalboard Designer), Mike Clement (Long serving guitar technician) and Dave Barerra (USA based guitar technician). It takes a team to make a classic record like this!!!
Below is Mike Clement, doing what he normally does during a gig. Mike is the bloke who is charged with keeping all of this up and running, and in prime condition. If it wasn’t for Mike, Tony wouldn’t be able to play on stage.