During a recent interview with ‘Guitarist Magazine,’ legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi talked about his iconic 1965 red Gibson SG Special, as known as the Monkey guitar, and explained why he decided to retire.
This special guitar became Tony’s main instrument after failed his white Fender Stratocaster when he recorded their 1970 self-titled debut album, ‘Wicked World.’
Tony Iommi donated his guitar to the Hard Rock Cafe to be exhibited at the Times Square in New York. In addition, Gibson is only working on a very limited series of 50 Gibson ‘Monkey’ SG Special Limited Edition guitars.
Iommi stated that he retired this special guitar after using on the first four or five albums because he was worried about taking in his career.
Here’s what he stated:
“All the first four or five albums, yeah, it was used on – and bits on the others after that. Eventually, I retired it, because I was worried about taking it on the road.
It used to always travel with me in the room and I would never lose sight of it; I wouldn’t leave it on its own, you know, in case somebody nicked it. [Chuckles] Because that was, for me, I couldn’t just pick up another guitar – it had to be right.
So it was really precious for me and I was really worried about it. If I left it in a room and if somebody took it, that’s it, I’m finished, you know? No gigs. Because I didn’t have a backup of it.”
“I was always very careful with it and on a flight, I’d always have it with me, never certainly in the hold, which is another thing, later on, you couldn’t take it on the plane and stuff like that.
So eventually, I retired it. And I felt sad about it stuck in a case, really, at home. And that’s where the Hard Rock [Cafe] came in – it’d be better to have it, if people could see it in a showcase, than me having it tucked away with another load of guitars in a box, you know?”
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