Angus Young’s Cabinets and Speakers

(please note: this post is a follow up on previous Marshall JMP 100).

Update as of Mon, Oct the 4th: our friend headwhop26 posted info from a reliable source stating the following:

The Youngs’ Marshall 4×12 cabinets have feature a range of Celestion speakers. Early on they were loaded with original G12M Greenbacks, or very often, the firmer, bolder, more efficient G12H-30s. Throughout the ’90s, the brother tended to use Celestions more contemporary Vintage 30 speaker, first in evidence on the 2000 album Stiff Upper Lip, although both have often returned to reissues of the G12H-30 and the Greenback in more recent years.

Update as of Sat Oct the 2nd: I have played more with the non slanted cabinet with the vintage 30s in, and – on closer listening and rather more in depth experimentation (volume at multiple levels, low and high pre-amp values, every possible turn of presence/bass/mid/treble) I have to say I am unimpressed (Back in Black wise!) with it.

So I switched to the slanted, 1969 (dated) Marshall 4×12 with original greenbacks in it, the difference blew me away.

What is particularly interesting is the roaring G chord, as played several times on that album by both brothers: you hear those angels coming down: completely different frequency response, touch, tone, everything.

Impressive bass/middle and treble response, in a completely different world in comparison with the vintage 30s.

I am tempted to say that these were the speakers used by Angus on most of the record, but I will wait on the other cabinet(s) loaded with G12H30 (30 watts instead of 25 watts, plus other differences that I am not yet aware of and couldn’t comment anyway).

I tried recording it with the poor microphone I had in the laboratory but the outcome was a disaster, therefore I will wait until I have a better microphone.

I feel refreshed, lighter. While playing I was in heaven. I played almost every one of my SGs and each one struck some interesting memories of the album and other albums as well. Im-press-ive is what I can say. I don’t think any description of the tone/sound would help us in any way, other than stating that I feel I am very, very close if not right there with what Angus must have sounded like in the studio room.

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This is a whole different matter, and it still “matters” a lot, to attain the proper “tone”.

Since I told you I am extremely serious at getting as close as possible to the right AC/DC tone of the mid to late ’70s, I am doing some research and some more shopping.

It’s one of those things that you are able to do when you’re a bit older, like I am now 😛 (if you consider that I had my first Marshall amp and my first real Gibson when I was 23 years old – circa 20 years ago… I couldn’t afford it previously).

Information on Angus’ speakers used in the mid to late ’70s (and why not, 1980!) is to say the least, scarce.

It says here that

As for amps, Young has been equally faithful to Marshall, but has run the gamut of this amp maker’s models through the course of his career, from the JTM45 with which a lot of his recorded work is associated, to JTM50s and JMP50s, to the multiple-stacks of big custom JMP100s that are often used live. And, to bring us back to the point I made at the start of this piece, he always sounds like Angus Young. On the enormous stages upon which the AC/DC live show takes place these days it’s usually impossible to see exactly which amp model he is using, but it’s encouraging to the rest of us to know how completely a player can make just about any rig their own. Angus has gigged and recorded mostly through Celestion speakers over the years, preferring G12H-30s for a time, and using Vintage 30s in more recent years, with a cab load of G12M Greenbacks thrown in now and then for good measure.

That “preferring G12H-30s for a time” rang a bell, in hope that it is referring to the older times (I believe this may be the case). As it’s the only type I don’t have right now – I have a non slanted 4×12 Marshall cabinet with Vintage 30s in (a reissue), but vintage 30s are 60 watts and were not available in 1980 (thanks SGace for this information). I also have a slanted Marshall 4×12 with original G12M Greenbacks (25 watts) from 1969 to try with this head (the 100 watt Marshall JMP Master Volume) but I wanted to try the whole palette of speakers, so I pulled the trigger on a 1973 non slanted 4×12 Marshall with G12H30 speakers (30 watts) inside:


1977cab2That “speakers matter” is fairly complicated, it’s well documented in general but extremely fragmented, so I understand I have to go by ear.

The objective is, to get the right amount of bass, mids and top end in the right balance, with the right amp and so on and forth.

From where I am now – Rome, Italy – there are very few opportunities to go to places and try stuff, it’s simply not happening here. So, I have to purchase equipment, then try, then decide.

Unfair, but I sense the reward – the personal satisfaction for this – may be really high, after all these years.

As usual, you have all been invaluable with pretty good information. Always feel free to add your own input.

Fil 😉