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Tony Iommi says why Black Sabbath never had a rhythm guitarist

Tony Iommi horns

Classic Rock

Tony Iommi says why Black Sabbath never had a rhythm guitarist

The riffmaster Tony Iommi was asked by Guitar World Magazine if he had ever considered hiring a rhythm guitarist for Black Sabbath.


Read what he said:

“I worked with a rhythm player in one of my early bands with Bill Ward. It sounded good, but I also felt it confused things.

“No guitarist plays the same way, and those differences can clash. When I worked with other guitarists in those days, I always felt certain things sounded odd or didn’t mesh, so I decided on keeping Sabbath a four-piece.

“Over the years, however, I’ve played with other players, and had great experiences. When I jam with Brian May, for example, it works. We’re on the same wavelength and we sort of understand and respect each other.”

Speaking of Brian May, Tony said that a collaboration with the guitarist is still possible:

tony iommi interview 2017

“We talked about it when he came over the house a couple months ago. I’d like to do only things that I really enjoy now, and that would be one of them.”

And about detuning his guitar, he said:

“That came a little later. The first two albums were played at standard pitch. I didn’t really start experimenting with detuning my guitar until the third album, [1971’s] ‘Master of Reality.’

Tony Iommi playing the end tour

“I think it made a huge difference and added a whole different dimension to Black Sabbath. It made my guitar sound bigger, which was always a motivation. I mean, not counting vocals, what did I really have to work with?

“We didn’t have keyboards or a rhythm guitar. It was just me, bass and drums. So, we were always working on making our sound larger than life and more powerful. Detuning was part of that, as was Geezer adding distortion or bending notes, which was rare for a bass guitarist in those days.”

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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