COOL GUITAR ALERT! – Tony Iommi’s “Monkey” SG
This guitar is quite possibly the single most important piece of music history in the Hard Rock collection.
It’s Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath’s 1965 Gibson SG Special – commonly known as the “Monkey” guitar.
Heavily customized by British guitar builder John Birch, this instrument forged the template of heavy metal. Tony started using it during the recording of Sabbath’s self-titled debut album in 1969. He started the sessions with his white Stratocaster, but one of its pickups failed in the studio, so Tony switched to the SG and the rest is history.
The first five Black Sabbath albums – all universally acknowledged as genre-defining classics – were recorded with this guitar. “Paranoid”, “War Pigs”, “Iron Man”, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, “Symptom of the Universe” – this guitar did it all. Heavy metal was invented on this humble guitar. Kneel before its power.
Here’s Tony putting the Monkey SG to good use in 1970. This is so early, he hadn’t even added the famous monkey sticker yet.