Be sure and check out the July 2005 issue of Guitar World Magazine! Eddie Gray reviews the Epiphone Tony Iommi Signature G-400 on page 164. Here's a sneak peek at the review.

NONE MORE BLACK

By Eddie Gray

It is appropriate that the SG electric guitar is closely associated with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi. What could be a more fitting guitar for the master of evil riffs than a guitar with devil's horns on its body?

Unfortunately, the price of Gibson's Tony Iommi Signature SG is so high, only those in league with the devil can afford it. (Must be those 11 sterling silver cross inlays that elevate the price to $5,905.) So Iommi turned to Epiphone, Gibson's budget-conscious little brother, with instructions to make a comparable SG that the average head-banger can afford. The result is a rock-solid player that doesn't scrimp on features or tone.

Features

To keep the G-400 affordable, Epiphone gave it a multiple-piece mahogany body and neck, plus a rosewood fingerboard instead of an ebony board, as featured on the Gibson version. However, no compromises were made when it came to the pickups: this axe is cocked and loaded with a brace of Iommi's smoldering signature high-output humbuckers, which exhibit stunning girth and clarity and the ability to clean up nicely when turned down, without going mushy or thin. The Grover machine heads are standard equipment, and they're stable as hell. Five mother-of-pearl cross inlays on the fretboard and black hardware enhance the guitar's visual appeal.

The G-400 is also well balanced. Thin-bodied SGs can often be neck heavy, but my review copy was perfect. The set neck is chunky, yet comfortable, and features 24 medium frets. The setup was nice, and the Iommi Signature was ready to rock right out of the box.

Performance

I tested the G-400 with Marshall and Krank amps, and it sounded great, thanks in no small part to its ass-kicking pickups. Tuning down to C# (of course), I abused the Iommi with shameless renditions of classic Sabbath riffs. Comparing the guitar's sustain and balls to Gibson SGs I've played, I concluded that the G-400's multipiece construction had minimal sonic impact. Self-appointed "experts" might argue this point, but I would bet they'd fail a double-blind test.

The Bottom Line

Epiphone's Tony Iommi  Signature G-400 has devilish good looks and great sound and playability, all at a price that won't send your bank account straight to hell. Best of all, it's Iommi approved.

PRO: The sound, looks, playability, pickups and price are right.

CON: None at this price.

 

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