Tony Iommi on What Makes a Great Guitarist

The legendary Black Sabbath axeman reveals what he looks for in a great guitarist.
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Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi is celebrated as the godfather of heavy metal guitar. But where some guitarists built their legacy on speed and blazing technique, Iommi is noted for his memorable melodic riffing and distinctively heavy tone.

So what does he think makes for a great guitarist? That’s the question posed by Guitar Star, the talent competition that searches the U.K. and Ireland for an extraordinary guitar player. The show is on Sky Arts, a group of arts-oriented channels covering a range of subjects and genres.

“I like somebody that plays from the soul,” Iommi says. “So I look for that, really, as opposed to somebody learning every single note and getting everything perfect. Which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I prefer that, coming from the blues side, and something coming from inside.”