I had a chance to have Tony Iommi, grand wizard of the horned Gibson, sign my battered SG last year, but I passed. I didn’t want to blow a chance to uncover the secrets of the universe by turning into an autograph hound during an interview. But I kind of regretted it. So when I was told that Heaven & Hell, the Dio-era line-up of Black Sabbath, were coming to my Sirius show after their triumphant Radio City gig, I started hunting for a pen. Tony, Geezer, Dio, and Vinny Appice came up for a long talk session, and afterwards I plopped the SG on Uncle Tony’s lap. He gave it a good once-over, looked really serious when he asked, “What about this crack in the neck?” Ha! Iommi humor! Honestly, if there is a crack, it’s sealed with sweat and finger goo. I told him I hoped his signature would hold this banged-up thing with dented frets, rusting hardware, and countless divots together for a couple more years. “You ought to see mine!” he laughed. Now I’m in the market for a clear pick guard to protect and show off the blessing of the master of all metal riffs.
The interview turned out great, by the way. The meat of it will air starting Tuesday, April 10, at 9p Eastern on Hard Attack.
I was thankfully at RCMH for that gig, what a night…
Anyway, listen – You certainly don’t need to post this, but screw the clear pickplate, that might actually ruin the autograph (moisture can get trapped under it)… Here’s what you do to preserve the autograph (I’ve done this with my own Ibanez Iceman signed by the Misfits): First things first, remove the strings and pickups. If you want to do it half-assed, you can just do the autograph part, but I’d suggest doing the whole body like this… As gently as you can, CLEAN the axe body (front and back) with a moist (not wet) cloth to get the grungy stuff off – All the sweat, tape and sticker adhesive, etc… Around the autograph, do it with a Q-tip so you don’t smudge it. Then get an extremely fine steel wool (you can’t buy this stuff at a usual store, go to a woodworker and ask to buy a bit off him) and gently go over the whole body, except the autograph. As fine as that stuff feels, it WILL take the autograph off, so be careful. The reason why you’re doing this is to roughen up the surface so your laquer has something to hold onto. If it’s done correctly, you’ll barely tell that it’s been gone over at all, it’ll just look a tiny bit more matte than before. Then get an extra-light laquer SPRAY (from the same guy you got the ultra-fine steel wool from) and make a gentle pass over the autograph. It’ll take more than one pass to do it sufficiently. DO NOT try to spread it. Let it alone to dry, and for insurance, let it dry for a few DAYS. After a few days have passed, that thing should be preserved forever under a coat of laquer that will resist water, sweat, even light pick strikes.
Good luck! I’ll send you pix of my Iceman sometime.