Few People Realize That Heavy Metal Was Born Out Of An Industrial Accident
Jul 23, 2015
Founding guitarist Tony Iommi worked in a factory in Birmingham as a teenager, and lost the tips of his middle and ring fingers on his fretting hand in an industrial accident. After hearing a record of blues guitarist Django Reinhardt - who played with only two fingers, having lost use of the other two in a fire - Iommi was inspired to pick up his guitar again. Due to his injury, however, playing was painful which is why he tuned the strings down to relieve some of that tension (it also makes it much easier to bend notes). Additionally, along with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, Iommi was one of the first people to experiment with distorting the guitar's signal to get that signature crunch that rock would never have been the same without.
For fans of heavy metal, Black Sabbath is perhaps one of the most important and influential bands of all time. The band pioneered the dark heavy tones that metal has come to be synonymous with and they were some of the first musicians to experiment with tuning their instruments down several semitones below standard tuning. These days, it's hard to think that the low sound is there for any other reason than to cultivate the vibe of angst and aggression in the music but the real reason that Black Sabbath tuned their guitars down may surprise you.