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Angus Young — Rocking the World on a Gibson SG

Daniel Eriksson
|
04.16.2014
AC/DC

With six models of the Gibson SG in our 2014 product line, there’s certainly something there for everyone. From the stylings of the 2014 Derek Trucks Gibson SG to the bare-bones Gibson SGJ, there’s a guitar for every budget. Aside from Trucks, who is one of the biggest modern-day proponents of the SG, if there is one person responsible for putting an SG in many aspiring guitarists hands it’s AC/DC’s Angus Young. For over forty years he has shown the world that all you really need is an SG, and a Marshall amp - Angus has never been one to hide behind effect pedals. Here we’ve collected some quotes from Angus where he talks about his beloved Gibson SG, as well as some anecdotes on the beginnings of his legendary band.

Angus Young told Guitar World why it is that he chose an SG over a Les Paul, which is favored by so many guitarists:

“I tried a Les Paul when I was a lot younger. I tried the Les Paul and because of the weight of the thing it nearly dislocated my hip. I've always found with SG's that if you are a short guy — about five foot two [laughs] — you can get your hands around them.”

Angus bought his first Gibson SG in Sydney back in 1970. In an interview with The New Zealand Herald, he spoke a bit about what it was that initially made him go for that particular model:

“Me and the SG go way back. I think it was the little horns, you know, the little devil horns. I've still got it and that's still my favorite guitar of them all.”

In his first interview with Guitar World in 1984, Angus shared some more anecdotes about his first SG:

“When I was about 14 was when I really started playing it seriously. I got an amplifier for about sixty bucks that used to distort all the time. It was a Phi-Sonic. After that I got out and got a Gibson SG that I played until it got wood rot because so much sweat and water got into it. The whole neck warped. I bought it second-hand, it was about a ’67. It had a real thin neck, really slim, like a Custom neck. It was dark brown. After about a year, you lose about half the power in the pickups so you either get them re-wired or put new ones in. Just ordinary Gibsons.”

Young also talked a bit about an old 1962 SG, or Les Paul as they were known back then, that he used to own:

“Yeah, I had a really old one I bought, a 1962. But it had a very fat neck; it was good to play but it felt heavier than all the other ones. That’s why I stopped using it. And when you’re running around a lot, it weighs you down.”

Angus Young continues to be the inspiration for many guitarists around the world. In 2001 he told Rolling Stone about what artists influence him:

“I plug into a lot of old rock & roll. Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis – I love all that stuff. In fact, if I get a chance and I'm on my way to a gig, I'll put one of their tapes on, because they're good vibe-meters and I still get off on them.”

In his “Let There Be Rock” column for Guitar World Angus showed his humble side when talking about his brother Malcolm, and his importance to the AC/DC sound:

“Malcolm's really underrated. He makes the band sound so full, and I couldn't ask for a better rhythm player. Sometimes I look at Malcolm while he's playing, and I'm completely awestruck by the sheer power of it. He's doing something much more unique than what I do-with that raw, natural sound of his. People like Malcolm, Steve Cropper, Chuck Berry and Keith Richards-they're all doing something better than the rest of us. I can't deny that Eric Clapton's and Eddie Van Halen's lead stuff has influenced a stack of people, but for me it's the rhythm thing that's way more impressive and important to a band.”

Angus told Undercover.fm how he came to join AC/DC one week after his brother Malcolm formed the band:

“Malcolm was putting together a band. He found a condemned building in Newtown and said he could get it for a couple of bucks. He was just auditioning guys and telling people to come down and try-out. A week later he said to me, why don’t you bring your guitar down and try out. I thought great, anything but a day job. “

In that same interview Young also told the story behind the famous school boy uniform:

“That came from my sister. She used to always say ‘Angus would be running home and grabbing his guitar and he had his school suit and he was out the door’ or I’d be locked in my room banging away on the guitar. My sister always remembered me in a school uniform when I had my guitar. She said ‘why don’t you keep the uniform on’. It will give people something to look at.”

Finally, here’s what Angus had to say about the importance late AC/DC singer Bon Scott played in the history of the band, during an interview with MOJO:

“I don't think there would have been an AC/DC if it hadn't been for Bon. You might have got me and Malcolm doing something, but it wouldn't have been what it was. Bon molded the character and flavor of AC/DC.”

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