The Unstoppable Force of Angus Young: A Biography, Guitars, and Equipment Journey
Angus Young, the legendary guitarist and co-founder of the iconic Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has been a driving force in the world of rock music for over four decades. His powerful riffs, unmatched stage presence, and distinctive playing style have left an indelible mark on the hearts of millions of fans worldwide. In this blog post, we will delve into the life of Angus Young, his notable guitars, and the equipment that has shaped his unforgettable sound.
Early Life and the Birth of AC/DC
Born on March 31, 1955, in Glasgow, Scotland, Angus McKinnon Young was the youngest of eight siblings in a family deeply rooted in music. His family moved to Sydney, Australia, in 1963. Growing up, Angus was inspired by his brother Malcolm, who played guitar in various local bands.
In 1973, Angus and Malcolm co-founded AC/DC, with the band’s name inspired by their sister Margaret, who saw the abbreviation on a sewing machine. Angus, just 18 years old at the time, quickly became known for his schoolboy uniform stage outfit and high-energy performances.
Angus Young’s Guitars
- Gibson SG
Angus Young’s most iconic guitar is undoubtedly the Gibson SG. Since the early days of AC/DC, Angus has been inseparable from the SG, which has become synonymous with his sound and style. He first picked up a Gibson SG in 1970, and it has remained his primary guitar ever since.
Over the years, Angus has used several different SG models, including the ’68 Standard, the ’69 Custom, and the early ’70s SGs. In 2000, Gibson released the Angus Young Signature SG, which features a mahogany body, a slim taper neck, and custom-wound humbucker pickups designed to replicate Angus’s distinct tone.
- Jaydee SG
In the early ’80s, Angus started using a custom-built SG by British luthier John Diggins, known as the Jaydee SG. The Jaydee SG featured a more extended upper horn, a lightning bolt inlay on the fretboard, and custom-wound pickups. Angus used the Jaydee SG extensively in the ’80s and early ’90s.
- Fender Telecaster
While the Gibson SG has been Angus’s primary guitar throughout his career, he has occasionally been seen with a Fender Telecaster. Angus used a Telecaster during the recording sessions for the albums “Ballbreaker” (1995) and “Stiff Upper Lip” (2000).
Angus Young has consistently relied on Marshall amplifiers to create his signature sound. Over the years, he has used various Marshall models, including the 1959 Super Lead Plexi, JTM45, and JCM800. In the early days of AC/DC, Angus would use a combination of four Marshall stacks on stage, each consisting of a 100-watt Super Lead head and two 4×12 cabinets.
Angus Young’s guitar tone has always been about simplicity and raw power. He is known for using very few effects, primarily relying on his guitar and amplifier for his tone. However, he has been known to use a Schaffer-Vega Diversity System (SVDS), a wireless system with a built-in compressor and clean boost. The SVDS subtly shapes Angus’s tone by adding slight compression and sustain.
- Strings and Picks
Angus Young uses Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings (.009-.042) and has been known to use Fender Extra Heavy celluloid picks.
Angus Young’s remarkable career has made him one of the most influential guitarists in rock history. His relentless energy, raw talent, and signature sound have inspired countless musicians and fans alike. By staying true to his roots and maintaining a minimalist approach to his guitar and equipment choices, Angus Young has created a distinctive style that has stood the test of time.
From his Gibson SGs to his Marshall amplifiers, Angus Young’s gear has played a vital role in crafting the unmistakable AC/DC sound. As a testament to his impact on the music world, Angus Young was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 along with the other members of AC/DC.
The story of Angus Young serves as a reminder that passion, dedication, and a unique approach to one’s craft can create a lasting legacy. As AC/DC continues to rock stages worldwide, Angus Young’s influence will undoubtedly be felt by generations of guitarists to come.