AC/DC's Angus Young and the SG

(Gibson) There are few players OK, maybe only Tony Iommi who have done as much for the popularity of the Gibson SG as Angus Young. Sure, there have been other greats like Duane Allman, Gary Rossington and Robby Krieger who have taken the SG and made it their own, but if you show an SG to a non-guitarist, often their eyes will light up and they'll say, "Oh! The Angus guitar!" The sleek contours, devilish pointy horns and no-nonsense electronics make the SG the perfect guitar for Angus's blues-gilded rock and roll swagger.

Young adopted the SG early, preferring thin necks like on his original model (which was eventually retired from the road). "It had a really thin neck almost like a custom neck," Young told Guitar World in 1984. "I liked the SGs because they were light. I tried Fenders but they were too heavy and they just didn't have the balls. And I didn't want to put on them DiMarzios because then everyone sounds the same. It's like you're listening to the guy down the street. And I liked the hard sound of the Gibson."

Young replaced the pickups of this guitar with another set of Gibson humbuckers in 1971, and continued playing it until 1978, when it became too road-worn to go on. He replaced it with another SG, a Gibson second that had made its way to a pawnshop in New York, and with a similarly slim neck profile to his original axe.

The SG makes perfect sense, given Young's playing style. It's much lighter than a Les Paul, which suits his smaller frame; likewise the thinner neck enhances playability. The tone is more midrange-heavy than a maple-topped Les Paul, and the body bevelling makes it a particularly fun guitar to jump around with onstage. Also, the SG cooperates particularly well with overdriven tube amp power sections, whether cranking out chunky power chord riffs or kicking out screaming solos. more on this story

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