Gibson Tony Iommi Signature Pickups

Price Paid: 
Came with guitar
Condition: 
New
Humbucker/Single Coil/Stacked Single: 
Humbucker
Passive/Active/Not sure: 
Passive
AlNico/Ceramic/Not sure: 
Not sure
Output: 
High
Instrument Installed in: 
Gibson Custom Shop Tony Iommi SG
Sound Quality: 
5 (excellent)
Reliability: 

No problems. They're also very quiet.

Customer Support: 

n/a

Summary: 

The Tony Iommi Signature pup is an AlNiCo II/Ceramic hybrid that uses the AlNiCo II for tonal voicing and the Ceramic for power. These are high output (double potted with hot wax and epoxy) pickups that, when loaded into an SG, really nail the Iommi sound. I've personally found them great for everything from Iommi style metal through AC/DC style rock, and Leslie West/Mountain rhythm tones if you roll the tone knob back or use the neck pup.

For a hot pup designed for metal, the Iommis can handle styles other than metal better than something like an EMG.  They retain great clarity and articulation when running flat out, but when you roll off the volume with a tapered pot, they clean up beautifully. This is undoubtedly due to Iommi's involvement in the design so that it would meet his tonal needs.

Check out the clip on the Iommi Alchemy page to hear them clean and dirty in the same guitar I'm using.  I've had the pups for several years now, and while the rhythm tones are immense, with loads of crunch and balls (Sabbath, AC/DC, Mountain), the lead tone (like Tony's) can be very bright and piercing (compared to a stock SG) with light strings (9s), especially through Marshalls, which are inherently bright. I assume this is the pups rather than the guitar, as slab-bodied mahogany Gibsons aren't usually overly bright. Heavier strings will take some of the edge off this brightness. I wonder how these pups would sound in a Les Paul, but with a maple cap, it might be too much.  For me, I love the rhythm sound of these pups, and record with them, but I don't want that bright lead tone all of the time. I prefer something a bit browner and thicker. The thing to understand is that the Iommi pickups, while excellent, produce what I feel is a specialized tone, rather than an all-around tone.  YMMV.  Of course, if you're in a Sabbath tribute band, these are the perfect pickups. Drop them in any SG and you've got the Tony sound. 

Overall Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)