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Malcolm Young Using a Gibson in the Studio? It Happened on this AC/DC Song

Malcolm Young performs onstage with AC/DC at the Roseland Ballroom
(Image credit: George De Sota/Redferns)

Few guitarist/electric guitar duos are more legendary than AC/DC's Malcolm Young and his trusty 1963 Gretsch Jet Firebird.

With two holes in its body – one in the center, a result of the installation and subsequent removal of a humbucker between the Firebird’s two Gretsch FilterTron pickups, and one below the neck, from the removal of the guitar's original neck pickup – the rough 'n' ready, single-pickup axe was emblematic of Young's tough, no-frills approach to rhythm guitar.

It's almost impossible to imagine the late AC/DC rhythm maestro recording without the guitar affectionally known as "the Beast," but exceptions to the rule – somewhat to Young's chagrin in this particular case – did occur in the AC/DC discography.

When asked by Guitar World in a recently-resurfaced 2003 interview if he exclusively used the Beast in AC/DC's recordings, Young had this to say:

"Yes. I think the only time I didn’t was when we recorded 'High Voltage.' My guitar had been broken, and we had to get the song down that night, so I just grabbed whatever was lying around the studio. I believe it was a Gibson L-5. 

"To this day," he added. "I still hear that track and go, 'Ugh.' [laughs] But other than that it’s the Gretsch on everything."

Of course, Malcolm's brother Angus is just as synonymous with his guitar of choice, a cherry-red Gibson SG.

When asked in the same Guitar World interview if he had ever used anything else on an AC/DC recording, Angus said, "Actually, come to think of it there is one track – 'Live Wire' – that I did with another guitar because I had broken mine as well. I did an overdub with a Les Paul, I think."

Angus Young playing a Les Paul on record, you ask? Not so fast. 

"Once my SG was fixed," Young clarified, "I just went out and recut it!"