Angus Young’s FIRST Gibson SG

Update as of 30th of Sept. 2010

Our own headwhop26 (thank you!), has informed me that there is a brief “article” summarizing some characteristics of Angus and Malcolm’s main guitars.

I would say it confirms what we at had dared to imagine (and uncover) but still something is not convincing. I will get back to it later.

The article is by Bonfire (Bill), a famous AC/DC fan, cover hero and now webmaster at (and also a member here at!):

Here it is to you:

Angus and Malcolm Young: The Guitars

Angus and Malcolm Young have always typically stuck with the same guitars since the beginnings of AC/DC. Let’s take a look at their instruments and a little bit about their history and specifications.

Malcolm normally plays his 1963 Gretsch Jet Firebird, which was originally given to him by Harry Vanda of the Easybeats (and also AC/DC producer). Malcolm has since played this guitar on all of AC/DC’s studio recordings (except for the first “High Voltage” album), and has done numerous modifications to the guitar since he first inherited it, including stripping the paint to its natural finish, removing the neck pickup, and middle pickup (the middle which was added to the guitar in the mid 1970’s) and changing the bridge a few times, finally back to its original burns vibrato bridge. Malcolm has also played live with a Gretsch White Falcon on the “Back In Black” tour in 1980, and other Gretsch Jet models throughout various tours, though generally only if his main guitar was in service for some reason. Malcolm plays with heavy gauge (.012) strings which include a wound G string.

Angus has always preferred the Gibson SG as his choice of guitar, which first appealed to him due to their light weight and playability, his very first SG was likely a 1970 or 71 model. Angus uses a variety of SG’s (including SG Custom and SG Standard models), some of his favorites include an early 1968 stock SG which has had the fret inlays modified to the lightning bolt slashes, and a selection of early (1961) to late 1960’s SG’s (as well as the Les Paul SG’s as they were known back then, though Angus has said that he prefers the later model 60’s SG’s as they are lighter weight and have thinner necks than the Les Paul models, particularly the 1968 SG’s are Angus’ favorite). There are some other newer SG’s which are specially made reissue 68’s with the added lightning inlays and a large variety of other Gibson SG’s in Angus’ entourage when on tour. Angus tends to use .009 gauge strings on his set up. Both Angus and Malcolm use heavy gauge guitar plectrums.

Angus and Malcolm Young: The Guitars (on

Original SD’s article now follows.

Angus Young’s FIRST Gibson SG was NOT a 1968 Gibson SG!

There, I said it.

Now proof of that.
But before, a little introduction.

If you have paid some attention at Gibson’s recent years claims on that – Angus’ first SG (or most preferred) being a 1968 SG – they built on that creating a number of AY Signatures.

I love those guitars and owned the first AY Signature (then sold, since it was a copy of some of my vintage SGs) and then I am a super happy owner of the limited 50 played by him (for 3 seconds each).
This is not the point.
The point on my behalf is just to keep on gathering and distributing correct information on the subject (why? Because I am one of the most passionate AC/DC fans out there, that’s why).

So, the information I am willing to give (with proof, hopefully) is that at least Angus’ first SG was not at all a 1968.
It was a late 1970 or 1971 Gibson SG standard.

Does this matter this much? No. Not “that” much.
It’s just an additional piece of information for the gearheads like me.

So let’s put a few images on the table to begin with:

A very young Angus with his first SG:


What you see up there is unmistakably an (at least) very late ’69 or 1970/’71.

– Guitar color is walnut (brownish) as opposed to dark cherry. Walnut was in fact introduced in those very late years and was not available yet in 1968.
– the guitar cutaways are unmistakably shallow carved, a feature only introduced in those late years (as opposed to the 1968 carving that was deeper). To better see this, please take a look at the two comparative images right below here:



Top: a 1970 SG standard (walnut, shallow cutaway carving)
Bottom: a 1969 SG standard (dark cherry, deeper cutaway carving) NOTE for the reader (as of 9th of August 2010: this was NOT a 1968, but a 1969. Cutaway carvings are still more pronounced than 1970s SG Standards but less pronounced than 1967/1968 SGs)

If this was not proof enough, please take a look at this SG featured on this video (Let There Be Rock):


On this one you can clearly see another element that was introduced ONLY at the very end of 1969: a volute.
Visible in the picture, what appears also to be the infamous “MADE IN USA” stamp that was introduced further on, late 1970.

Also, it might be of note that the guitar Gibson has built the second signature on, has shallow carvings, too, leading me to believe what we are seeing might be really Angus’ first SG, that has undergone a number of transformations:


And finally, an article I had dug out where Angus clearly states the year of his first SG:


So there, now you have it too.

Discuss if you want.

All the best,



PS and Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT at all an attempt at flaming Gibson.
I love Gibson and their guitars. This is ONLY my personal interest in finding the exact gear used and possibly, replicate it.
So please DO NOT carry on a anti Gibson flame here. Thank you