ROCK LEGENDS II - TONY IOMMI
referred to as "the Godfather of Heavy Metal", Tony Iommi (b. 1948 in
Birmingham, England) is the man responsible for the dark bone crushing riffs
that are the backbone to the music of Black Sabbath. His music has inspired
other music genres including speed metal, death metal and even
grunge. His first band in the early '60s was
called The Rockin' Chevrolets. By 1968 he formed a band called Mythology, which
later became Polka Tulk, which became Earth, then finally became Black Sabbath
Lyle: On Tony's last day of work at a sheet
metal factory before he was to start recording the first Black Sabbath album he
had an accident, which severed his two middle fingers of his fretting hand. He
was very discouraged with his musical future until one day his former boss had
Tony listen to a Django Reinhardt album. He was blown away when he was told that
Django was playing with only two fingers. He soon was inspired and made his own
finger prosthetics that fit over his severed fingertips so he could play guitar
again. Then history begins for this living legend.
Lyle: Tony's diverse musical influences
include Joe Pass, Alvin Lee, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Muddy Waters, B.B.
King and or course Django. Tony plays a Gibson SG through Laney
amps loud. Suggested listening, any of the early Black Sabbath recordings.
Lyle: First, let's learn the rhythm
riff in the first part of the lesson
In this riff you should notice the use of both power chords and single note
rhythm riff 1
Lyle: Here's a jam track for this rhythm
Sound Clip 1
You're in the key of F#m for rhythm riff 1. As you play along to the jam track, see
if you can blend in exactly to my guitar part, creating an
overdub. Tony did this many times on the Sabbath
studio recordings. He would record the rhythm guitar part
twice to get a fatter tone. That's what I did for the lesson sample.
All the rhythm guitars were recorded
twice. I also recorded the lead twice, playing
the exact same lead against myself. It creates a big
Lyle: Next is rhythm riff 2. It shifts up a
whole step (2 frets) to G#.
In this riff you'll notice it's a different groove than the first rhythm
riff. Tony wrote in a very progressive style.
He didn't follow the "rules" of song
writing. He would change keys, tempos, and
rhythms unlike the pop tunes of the day.
Lyle: Here's a jam track for rhythm riff
Looping Sound Clip 2
Scott: I was
wondering how you get that tone? I have a pod and was wondering if you know the
settings for it?
I don't use a POD, I use a Rocktron Voodu Valve. Try setting it for a Marshall
high gain tone with little or no
Thanks, I'll try that.
Lyle: I double tracked the rhythms creating
the slight effect you might be hearing.
Scott: What kind of guitar are you playing it
Lyle: Brian Moore
i9.5 guitar. The lesson sample at the top of the
lesson is a fairly high quality mp3. You can hear my tone best in that sample.
Lyle: Here's a jam track that has both rhythm
grooves in it so you can play both parts you just
Sound Clip 3
In the jam tracks I left in one guitar track so when you play along it sounds
like two guitars.
Lyle: Next I'd like to show you a short solo
in the style of Mr. Iommi. When he plays lead guitar, he mostly
uses the minor pentatonic scale, sometimes the natural minor
too. The solo you're going to learn now is in
the key of G# minor, just like the rhythm riff 2. Here's the pattern you'll need to learn
for the solo riffs:
The highlighted notes are the roots
(G#). Here's a typical Iommi riff using that
solo - riff 1
Remember when you're playing these solo riffs to the jam track, you play them
during rhythm riff 2.
Lyle: The next solo riff is a continuation of
the first riff:
solo - riff
Solo riffs 1 and 2 are mostly made right from the minor pentatonic pattern I
gave you earlier. The riff is grouped into 3 note
phrases. Here's the next riff:
Lyle: It's just the same riff for both bars.
solo - riff 3
Still using only the notes from the minor pentatonic scale.
Scott: Is the second bend on the 6th fret a
Lyle: Scott, bend it up and release it
Scott: Thanks :-)
welcome, you should see it happen in the video clip for that
Lyle: Here's the final riff of the
solo - riff 4
This riff has elements of both the natural minor scale and the minor blues
scale. The 3rd fret of the 3rd string is a note from the natural minor scale.
The 5th fret of the 5th string is a note from the minor blues
Here's a video of the whole solo, all 4 riffs played back to
with Ozzy singing I like. Black Sabbath is still one of my favorite
Lyle: If you would like to learn some of your
favorite Black Sabbath songs, contact me and we'll set up some private lessons.
Email: Lyle@theguitar.net for more info. Thanks -