Skip to main content

NAMM 2020: Gibson makes Custom Shop clone of Tony Iommi's "Monkey" 1964 SG Special

(Image credit: Gibson)

NAMM 2020: (opens in new tab) Those who take their Sabbath black just like their coffee will be tolling the bell of doom in celebration with the news that Gibson has launched an Artist Series replica of Tony Iommi's iconic 1964 SG Special.

Nicknamed "Monkey", and featuring a sticker depicting the eponymous primate just below the bridge, the Monkey SG Special is the Holy Grail of electric guitars (opens in new tab) in Black Sabbath history. Here the heavily modded doublecut has been recreated in forensic detail. 

Besides its mahogany body, mahogany set neck build, the Monkey features a pair of hand-made pickups, which were wound by an apprentice of the late pickup guru John Birch. It has been aged, has a zero fret as per Iommi's original, and also the same stop tailpiece bushings and routing holes where the original tune-matic bridge and tailpiece would have been removed. 

Speaking to Guitar World, Tony Iommi said the attention-to-detail was uncanny. 

“I was amazed when I saw it," said Iommi. "I went, ‘My god!’ It just shocked me. … This new model is exactly, exactly the same as the original, right down to every little mark and dent. It's just incredible.”

“Tony Iommi's iconic riffs, heavy tones and massively-influential albums created the blueprint for Heavy Metal and many other genres to follow,” said Cesar Gueikian, Gibson's chief merchant officer. “Having the opportunity to work with Tony to recreate his original 1964 SG is the ultimate honor for all of us at Gibson.”

The Gibson Custom Shop has created 50 of these guitars, with 25 right-handed and 25 left-handed like the original. Each comes signed and numbered by Tony Iommi, and inside the custom 1960s coffin case you'll find an exclusive replica of Iommi's silver cross necklace and leather touring guitar strap.

No price has been released just yet, but you might just have to sell your soul for rock 'n' roll to afford one.

See Gibson for more details.

And for more hot gear news, head on over to our NAMM 2020 hub.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.