Jaydee Custom S.G. (a.k.a. No. 1, The Old Boy)
This instrument was built in Birmingham, England by John Diggins, now Jaydee Custom Guitars. The exact date of its manufacture is not recorded (or remembered!), but will certainly be between 1975 and 1978. The guitar was first used for some overdubs on the ‘Heaven and Hell’ album. It was then used more and more frequently and soon took over from the black John Birch S.G. as the main instrument both on the road and in the studio.
It is instantly recognisable, with a vaguely maroon colouration and many patches of peeled paint exposing well-worn wood. The fretboard has 24 frets (plus a zero fret) and the trademark cross inlays. The pickups are of different types, the bridge is a Jaydee special and the neck is a John Birch style Magnum X in a John Birch casing, though made by John Diggins. The bridge is by Schaller and features fine tuners. The machine heads are Sperzels.
There is a pickup selector switch and five control knobs on the front of the instrument, though only three are wired in. All of Tony’s road guitars have the bridge pick up tone control disconnected. The fifth control was connected to a booster circuit, which has been removed. There is also an additional ¼” jack socket on the front of the guitar. This was originally a low impedance output for recording purposes, but has subsequently been disconnected.
The very ‘distressed’ look of the guitar is due to a couple of factors. It was built on John Diggins’s kitchen table and had to be finished very quickly. As a result, the coats of paint and finish did not have the time to cure properly. At a later date the guitar was left in a car in an extremely hot part of the world and a lot of the finish bubbled up, giving the guitar the look that has become familiar to all Sabbath guitar fans.
On tour, this is the main instrument for the ‘one step down’ D# tuning.