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Here we go dudes, The almighty Black Sabbath. Lead guitarist Tony Iommi, hell if you don't know that you should just close the page now because you are not worthy. Hah, all kidding aside though, This is my lesson towards this mans style. Through much research into Tony's style I have gathered a lot of information in my head, and seeing a request on here i thought this would be a good place for it.
One of the biggest keys to the Black Sabbath sound is in the set-up of your gear. You want a hot rodded guitar sound as they used to call it, Personally I'm cheap as hell and play out of a small bass guitar combo amp. with a digitech fx processor, wah pedal, and a lot of tweaking. However, Tony uses Laney's. It's a British amplifier company, and it's not that widely used, but they have killer sound. Tony has used every amp though in search of his sound, Orange, Marshall, Fender, Hiwatt. But Laney is his thing.
If you want more info on his exact Equipment specs go here:
Alright well this is the E Harmonic Minor Scale in the 5th and 12 positions where most of the Black Sabbath riffs came from in the early days. Tony's sound is unique because of his use of lighter guitar strings [.009] and lower tunings [2 and 1/2 steps down to C#]. I left this in standard tuning but none the less you can get the idea here.
He also uses the Blues scale most often in his solos with improvisation in the 12th to 15th frets
1.) Familiarize yourself with this scale
And make sure you know all the notes on the E string up to around 15
Because now we can turn these into power chords by adding the note above
2.) Now to get the tone
Alright take your EQ on your amp and experiment with it a little. Depending on what era of Iommi you wish to archive, and what kind of equipment you're working with you will have to do different things to archive his style. Using a basic guitar amp you want a warm crunch type sound for his earlier stuff. this can be done by cranking the bass and treble all the way up and turning off the middle and then tossing a fuzz box or something close to that over it. This will give you a more retro tone. I don't know what kind of equipment you use, so this part is best left up to your experimentation. To get a generic close sound using a basic amp I would say Boosting the treble and the Mids a little would help, and then either cranking or turning off the bass will complete the sound. Put the pickup selector to the bridge for most of the heavy stuff, but on the earlier albums he does use his neck pickup for certain parts. When Iommi solo's live he often puts on his Wah pedal for a lot of things, and this also gives in a treble boost, so you will want to compensate with your treble and pull it back to around 7 if you're worried about feedback. Iommi faced this challenge earlier in his career until he had custom pickups made that are fixed with a type of epoxy wax resin inside the pickup to cancel out all feedback at higher volumes. The other issue with getting this tone is volume. You need to crank and beat up your amp a little to get that gain required to have such an Iommi type sound.
You can also just go buy the Laneys and Signature SG's and have his exact sound :P
Alright so to avoid Copyright stuff with the website i'm going to link tabs here for you to practice and check out. I'll take specific licks and go over them a little with you. These Tabs are not mine.
Tab: Paranoid Tab
For the intro of Paranoid here these hammer-ons between the 12 and 14 on the A string are critical to the sound. That's what catch your attention from the very start
Palm Muting here is essential to the rhythem part of paranoid which keeps the song moving
I'm not sure of the 12's there on the higher strings, but Iommi uses that chord often to end a phrase.
Alright pulling out all the stops here is the Paranoid Solo, i think it sounds best with a wah pedal over it but Iommi uses a fuzzbox and the neck pickup to achive that dirty bassy sound on the album so keep that in mind here. I never learn iommi's solo the whole way because i know i can't replecate his style perfectly, so i add in a little of my own. This is the original location of this tab: Paranoid Solo Tab
Alright, this is it for this lesson. Request different songs or ask some more specific questions and I'll be happy to help.
Black Sabbathby DarkRiff
Can anyone do a Black Sabbath Lesson?
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