February saw Black Sabbath bid a final farewell at Birmingham’s Genting Arena, marking their near 50-year reign as one of the world’s biggest and most successful heavy metal bands.
The god-like pioneers said their goodbyes with an emotional two-hour set of both well-known and rare material from their extensive back catalogue. Black Sabbath may be calling it quits, but their enduring legacy lives on, not least at BIMM, where we recently had the chance to unveil a piece of musical history.
We were incredibly lucky to get our hands on a very special limited edition replica of Tony Iommi’s original amp set-up, the magnificent Laney LA100BL, LA412 and TI-Boost treble booster pedal. We recently unveiled the amp at our BIMM Brighton college, along with a signed certificate of authenticity – both of which now sit pride of place in our music room.
We were truly honoured to be given the opportunity to purchase the fourth of a strictly limited run of 50 of these magnificent amps, of which only six were allocated to the UK. BIMM Brighton Facilities‘ Chris Turner explained:
“It’s an identical reproduction of the 1969 Laney LA100BL used by Tony Iommi throughout the 70’s and which gave Black Sabbath their unmistakable sound. Laney went back to the original plans and pored over what vintage amps they could get hold of; these amps were then hand built from the ground up using identical components and materials – no PCB’s here, all hand drilled turret boards with hand soldered components.”
Speaking about the significance of having such an iconic piece of musical equipment at BIMM, Chris joked that our students had almost been able to borrow the ‘crown jewels’:
“Laney wanted us to have one for our students and tutors to use rather than have it locked away in a private collection. They are the in the top echelon of British amp manufacturers and – let’s face it – British amps are the best in the world! It gives students the facility to experience a truly boutique vintage amp and the differences between them and modern amps in both function and sound. Also, it’s like being able to borrow the Crown Jewels for a bit.”
The breathtaking Black Country Customs LA100BL re-issue and LA412 & TI-BOOST pedal marks both Laney’s 50-year anniversary and Black Sabbath’s final tour – Tony Iommi had commissioned the amp to use on the extensive 81-date tour.
The arrival of Tony Iommi’s prized replica amp at BIMM is rather fitting, what with our brand new BIMM Birmingham campus set to open its doors in October. You’ll find more details about the college and future open days, here.
As any music fan will know, Birmingham is the undisputed birthplace of heavy metal, and we’re delighted to be a part of the city’s cultural makeup. We certainly intend to pay homage to the city’s rich musical heritage.
In the meantime, we plan to channel our inner Tony Iommi by cranking it up to 10 and mastering the riff from ‘Paranoid’. The amp will also be available to set up around BIMM at tutors’ request – we’re sure Chris and his team won’t be short of those.
Huge thanks to Laney, to say we are excited is a vast overstatement – we still can’t believe it ourselves!