It is often the case that when something finally reaches it’s natural conclusion interest invariably begin to focus on how it all began in the first place.
This is certainly the case when you look at the career of the band Black Sabbath and in particular our involvement with Tony Iommi the guitarist.
With the beginning of “THE END” in sight, discussions of set list and associated considerations began to surface and it became clear that the set list would more than likely be written to include material from the whole of the bands considerable musical output.
With this in mind it was not long before we got a call from Mike Clements – Tony Iommi’s long time guitar tech asking if it would be possible for Tony to borrow a couple of amps from our historic collection to listen to.
It’s not often that you get the time to listen to “Old” amps in detail so the fact that we had to listen to the old SUPERGROUPS we had in out collection was a real pleasure.
There is not doubt that these amps have a sound unique to them – a subtle undertone to the note played. A sound which with hindsight was a very unique sound and something intrinsic to the sound of the early Sabbath recordings.
Tony immediately heard a sound he recognised from back in the early days and it was decided very quickly that he wanted to have this sound available to him for the early era material which was to be included in the set list.
So we set about scouring the relevant sources for original LA100BL’s for us to work with. We met some very dedicated and immensely interesting people along the way and managed to source a few examples of the SUPERGROUP LA100BLS we were after and began to put them through their paces.
It quickly became clear that whilst these amps sounded great they all showed signs of their age and previous owners! Would we trust them to survive a prolonged time on the road and remain 100% reliable – probably not.
So the only option available to us was to built Tony some new “OLD” LA100BL amps. No easy task.
The key ingredient to the sound of the old SUPERGROUPS was the original Partridge output transformer used. The original Partridge Transformer had long since ceased being produced so we had to come up with a solution. This meant a long period of design and testing on the production from the ground up of a new transformer capable of producing the unique tone of the originals.
Combine this with the meticulous attention to detail of using as close to the original materials as was physically possible and after 6 months of painstaking RnD and sonic testing we finally came up with a new “OLD” Laney SUPERGROUP LA100BL – an amp of totally stunning sound and beauty.
13 units were built in honour of the final Black Sabbath album.
6 of these 13 were loaded into Tony’s live rig to handle the older content of the set list whilst the new material is being played using Tony’s current TI100 live rig.
Everyone who hears Tony’s new “OLD” rig is totally blown away by the tone, there is something there that is tonally unique.
Make sure you get the chance to see Black Sabbath and listen to the man and the amplifier that put heavy metal on the global map.
As Tony says “It began with Laney – it ends with Laney”