Longtime fans of AC/DC finally saw their dream come true when the Gibson Custom Shop announced the launch of the Angus Young SG Standard Cherry Red in 2009. For the first time, this beautiful limited edition (250 copies, including 50 Aged And Signed that now sell for crazy amounts) was the exact copy of the instruments played by the diminutive soloist from the biggest rock band of all time.
Based on a 1968 SG that can be spotted at many concerts and that Young has used on the band's greatest albums, Gibson has replicated the very thin neck of that legendary guitar and they have used Angus' specs to create the ultimate signature model.
This SG is not just a very rare copy of that very sought-after model, it is a unique piece since this is Artist Proof #1, ie the first guitar Angus played before agreeing to the project. There has been twelve Artist Proof in total, and this one is the first, the one that started it all. As such, it has been extensively played by the master. That guitar has been designed for Young, which explains the shockingly light weight, even for an SG. It feels like it has been hollowed out!
The pickups have been made especially for that guitar by Seymour Duncan on the basis of his Pearly Gates model. The tuners are Schaller, just like on the original guitar, and the fretboard is ebony for a better clarity. Angus' specs also include inactive tone knobs (he never uses them) and very progressive and reactive volume knobs (he uses them all the time). The look of that guitar is irresistible for the true fan and each detail makes for a truly unique and exciting model, from the dark Cherry finish to the bridge pickup contour (even if it is mounted on the pickguard), and of course the lightning inlays on the fretboard. The AC/DC crew is very protective of their instruments, and therefore this SG is a rare opportunity to experience a little bit of Angus' mojo.
Main guitar: Gibson SG 1968
Compulsory listening: The Jack
With the exception of the Rolling Stones, few great bands have had the longevity of AC/DC. Since 1973, the bad boys from Sydney have been playing the same binary, bluesy and energetic rock, like an over amplified version of John Lee Hooker. The band even made it through Bon Scott’s death, replacing their charismatic singer with Brian Johnson in 1980. Even Malcolm Young, founder and rhythm guitarist of the quintet, had to leave the band in 2014 for health reasons.
Throughout the band’s career, only one member has always been present: Angus Young, Malcolm’s brother, who was only seventeen when the band started out. In the meantime, the schoolboy has played the world’s biggest stage without ever betraying AC/DC: no solo album, no guest featuring for other artists. If you enjoy Angus’ playing, you can only hear it on the band’s twenty albums. Angus’ style is inseparable from the sound of AC/DC, and it perfectly blends together B.B. King’s blues bends, Chuck Berry’s double stops and Paul Kossoff’s vocal vibrato.
As every musician who has worked with him will testify, Angus has a strong, almost obsessional work ethic. He doesn’t party with his bandmates, only drinks tea and gets back to his hotel room as soon as he can to smoke cigarettes and practice. His choice of instrument also shows a very strong stubborn mind, since he has never played anything else than a SG. Ever since the band’s beginnings, the two-cutaway Gibson model has always been Angus’ weapon, under a few different forms: cherry red, black, with or without a vibrola, with or without lightning inlays. After half a century spent playing the same notes in the same band on the same guitars, Angus’ integrity remains unmatched.