Angus Young Talks About His First SG and His Favorite Song to Play Live

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PHOTO: Kevin Winter | Getty Images

Today is the birthday of AC/DC’s Angus Young, who turns 61.

In the 43 years that he’s been in the group, the guitarist has been associated almost exclusively with the Gibson SG model or some variation on it, such as the Jaydee SG. Young has used the model to bash his way through the group’s long list of hit records and songs, including “Back in Black,” “Highway to Hell” and “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

In this excerpt from the May 2015 issue of Guitar Player magazine, Angus answered a few questions about his SGs and which of AC/DC’s songs are his favorite to perform live.

What is your oldest surviving AC/DC Gibson SG?
It’s the one I’ve always played, before the band even started. It was the first brand-name guitar I had gotten for myself, as well. Before that, it was hand-me-downs—a beat-up acoustic, and a Hofner Clubman from Malcolm [his brother], who gave it to me after another one of our brothers gave it to him. I don’t know the SG’s year. Some people have said 1969, and some people have said it’s from the 1970s.

Does what [producer] Mutt Lange did on Highway to Hell and Back in Black continue to influence what you do in the studio?
There���s always a bit of that. I remember Mal saying to me that Mutt was really great about spreading out the vocals across the stereo field on choruses. He said, “It was a clever thing.” And we still try to do that today.

After all these years, do you still have any favorite songs to perform live?

One of my favorite tracks to play is “Back in Black,” because it’s a cool riff and people get it immediately. You hear one or two notes and, boom, you know it’s “Back in Black.” That’s probably the song Brian [Johnson] hates the most, though, because he has to hit his high notes.