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Review: Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Tony Iommi Signature SG Custom

Review: Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Tony Iommi Signature SG Custom

GOLD AWARD

Although most guitarists favor a variety of models, certain players will always be inextricably linked with particular guitars.

For example, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton are permanently associated with the Stratocaster, and Jimmy Page and Slash just a few of the dozens of guitarists who are perpetually tied to the Les Paul.

SG players are a much more rare breed, and of that rather exclusive group the player most closely with the SG would undoubtedly be Tony Iommi (with Angus Young coming in a close second).

Epiphone previously offered the Tony Iommi G-400 model more than a decade ago, but their new Limited Edition Tony Iommi Signature SG Custom is a much more deluxe offering that’s certain to please SG and Black Sabbath purists alike.

FEATURES

The Epiphone Tony Iommi Signature SG Custom offers and ideal balance between classic SG appeal and modern, customized upgrades. The contoured double-cutaway mahogany body, mahogany neck with a fast, slim profile, three-layer black/white/black “single wing” pickguard, and “pineapple” (or crown) headstock inlay all evoke the original SG.

However, upgrades and modern features abound, including the ebony fretboard with 24 low-profile medium-jumbo frets and pearloid cross-shaped inlays, a smooth-transition neck heel that gives the deep set neck the feel of a neck-through-body design, a recessed output jack, black graphite nut, and a pair of Gibson USA Tony Iommi Signature humbucking pickups with alnico II and ceramic magnets.       

The nickel-plated hardware perfectly complements the jet black glossy finish and ebony fretboard. Hardware includes a LockTone Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece, die-cast 14:1 tuners with metal tulip-shaped buttons, and flat, completely enclosed pickup covers.

PERFORMANCE

Considerable attention to detail is evident in this guitar’s construction, and that translates to smooth, comfortable playability. The frets are polished to a mirror-like shine, which allows the fretting fingers to glide along all 24 frets with ease. The deep-set neck pocket provides the most solid and sturdy feeling neck I’ve ever experienced in an SG-shaped guitar. The slim, flat neck profile makes the fretboard feel wider than it actually is, and I noticed that I was fretting chords more cleanly than usual.     

But what really sealed the deal for me is the fierce tone of the Iommi Signature humbuckers. The midrange delivers an aggressive snarl, and the bass is round and full. When playing power chords, the attack is fast and precise—exactly what you need for playing “Symptom of the Universe” or “Paranoid.”

CHEAT SHEET

List price: $1,332; $1,415 (left-handed)
Manufacturer: Epiphone, epiphone.com

• The 24-fret neck is deep-set into the body via a smooth-transition heel that provides superior stability and seamless playability.

• The Gibson USA Tony Iommi Signature humbucking pickups feature alnico II and ceramic magnets to provide an ideal balance of output and full-range definition.

BOTTOM LINE

Whether you’re a fan of Tony Iommi or the classic SG solidbody design, the Epiphone Tony Iommi Signature SG Custom offers the ultimate playing experience.

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