The SG owes everything to Angus Young. The genius AC/DC soloist has single-handedly turned Gibson's superb creation from a psychedelic curiosity into a reference coveted by the most demanding rock and blues players. Amazingly, Angus has spent more than forty years on stage without playing any other model, and he has stood by his double cutaway mistress, even during the eighties when the very idea of playing a Gibson made you terribly unfashionable.
Since then, History has sided with Angus, and Gibson has been thanking that faithfulness through several guitars bearing the Australian devil's signature. The first Angus Young SG came out in 2000 and it was inspired by the model Angus played in the early days of his band, complete with vibrola vibrato. The second model came out in 2009, and it is much closer to the guitars currently used by the guitar hero for the huge stadium tours with AC/DC. This second model came out in two versions: the regular USA version looks like a 61 reissue slightly altered, whereas the Custom Shop VOS has much more specific specs.
This model comes in a beautiful dark red finish that only exists on Angus' guitars. It thoroughly copies the SG Angus was holding for the Black Ice photoshoot, a 68 SG modded by British luthier Jaydee that was played for many concerts and recordings. The tuners have been swapped in favor of Schallers, the fretboard has been replaced by an ebony fretboard featuring lightning inlays, and the ring around the bridge pickup is the sign that many other modifications took place over time. All those details are featured on the 200 VOS that have been built, all the way to the witch hat knobs with non-functional tone knobs.
Two Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates are in charge of producing a typical vintage crunch. The tiny neck and extra light weight will be a true gift for smaller players, just like Angus who still runs about 12 kilometers every night on stage at nearly sixty years old, unencumbered by his SG.
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.