Angus is one of those guitar players who stick to one guitar pretty much for the entirety of their careers. In Young’s case, his guitar choice is the Gibson SG, which he used basically from the start. His first guitar was a 1970 or 1971 Gibson SG Standard finished in walnut and featuring a Lyre Maestro tremolo bridge. He used this guitar in the first few albums exclusively, and on the rest mostly just in the studio.
As soon as Angus’ first SG began seeing less stage light, more and more different SGs started to be introduced into his setup. In the earlier years, there was a modified 1970s Gibson SG Custom, most famously used at Hammersmith Odeon concert in 1979. In 1981, Angus also used a custom made SG manufactured by Jaydee, with custom-designed pickups and lightning bolt inlays.
For the rest of the 80s and 90s, and in the more recent years, Angus continued to use various Gibson SG models. Some of them were early 60s models, some were those from the 70s with larger pickguards, and some were from Angus’ own signature line produced by Gibson.
As far as the amps, Angus is best known for using Marshall Model 1959 Super Leads, although occasionally he used different Marshall models, as well as those from other brands. Most notably, both him and Malcolm used Wizard amps from around the mid to late 90s.
Angus Young Equipment Guide
Please note that this is just a quick basic guide for beginners. In reality, a lot of factors go into replicating someone’s sound, and it’s usually nearly impossible to achieve. To see the equipment that Angus actually used himself, and all that went into it, refer to the chronological list below.
Go for the SG
When it comes to guitars, buying something that will make you sound and feel like Angus is really a no brainer. You simply go out and buy an SG.
The best thing would, of course, be to buy one from Young’s Signature line. These guitars can, unfortunately, be somewhat pricey, as they are no longer being produced, and the people who own them are reluctant to sell them.
The second best option would be to go for basically any Gibson made SG – preferably, something like a 1961 SG Reissue. The third or budget option would be to buy an Epiphone G-400. This guitar will cost you only a few hundred dollars and for that price, it will more than good enough.
If you’re a beginner, get yourself anything with a decent sounding overdrive channel. A good budget option would be something like the Orange Crush 35RT, which is a pretty straightforward amp with only the reverb built-in as far as the effects.
The more expensive option would be to buy a tube amp. Based on price and features, it would be smart to buy something like a Marshall DSL40. This is a sort of an entry-level tube amp, with a Celestion speaker, and a decent 40W of power. It’s of course not a vintage Marshall Plexi, but it will do the job just fine.
Strings and Picks
If you wanna use what Angus uses, get yourself a set of Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings. These are basically your standard light set, starting from .009 on the high E string.
As far as picks, go for something heavy. Angus probably used more than just a few models throughout his career, but most recently, he was seen using Fender Extra Heavy picks.
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Chronological list of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by Angus Young
1970/71 Gibson SG Standard
This was Angus’ first SG. He bought it when he was around 16 years old – circa 1971, from a music shop just down the road from the family home in Sydney. He used this guitar exclusively for the first few years – up until around 1978. Early Tours This guitar was used extensively during […]
1970s Gibson SG Standard (Factory Second)
In 1978, Angus purchased a few Gibson SGs at one of the music stores on 48th Street in New York. One that stood out was an early 1970s SG Standard, marked as a factory second. I remember when I first went to America I bought some on that street in New York [48th Street]. There used […]
1970s Gibson SG Custom
Angus played this Gibson SG during the Highway to Hell tour circa 1979, and occasionally in 1980/81. Most likely, the guitar was one of the few that he acquired upon visiting the US in 1978. I remember when I first went to America I bought some on that street in New York [48th Street]. There […]
1960s Gibson SG Standard
This is one of the three guitars that Angus started using after he retired his original 1970s Gibson SG Standard, circa 1978. It was also the first ever early 60s SG Standard that he ever used. Embed from Getty Images Prior to this guitar, he mostly preferred early 1970s models with tremolo pieces and large […]
1970 Gibson SG Custom (walnut refinished to black)
This guitar was first used by Angus sometime during 1980 Back in Black tour. According to his current guitar tech, Trace Foster, originally, the SG was finished in walnut color, featured three pickups, and styled a tremolo piece. [Rig Rundown – AC/DC’s Angus Young & Stevie Young] Sometime between 1980 and 2016, the guitar completely […]
1981 Jaydee Custom SG
This guitar was built around 1981 by UK guitar luthier John Diggins, and it was presented to Angus just prior to the Monsters of Rock concert in Donington that same year. According to Diggins, Angus liked the guitar and used it for the entirety of the Donington Part (1981) concert. Photos and videos from that […]
Gibson SG Standard (Zebra and Jaydee pickups)
Angus was seen using this guitar on occasions, seems from around 1983 to 1985. As noted on the page about Angus’ 1970s Gibson SG Standard, it is possible that this is that same guitar, just modified. However, it’s probably best to keep the guitars separated for now, since that is after all just a theory. […]
Gibson SG Standard (lightning bolt inlays, walnut)
Angus was seen using this guitar extensively during the 1985/86 tours – based on the photos available. Embed from Getty Images Modified by John Diggins / Jaydee This guitar, according to John Diggins, was modified by him at some point in the early 80s. Most notably, John replaced the whole neck and inlayed the fretboard […]
1960s Gibson SG Standard (black, Donington)
This guitar was Angus’ main during the Razors Edge (1990) and Ballbreaker (1995) tours, at least based on the frequency of use. Most notably, Angus used it on August 17, 1991, for the Live at Donington aka Monsters of Rock gig, and on July 10, 1996, during No Bull. Although it is not known for […]
Gibson SG Junior
Angus was seen playing this guitar during the Howard Stern interview recorded in 1997. The guitar seems to be just a stock Gibson SG Junior with a single P90 pickup in the bridge position. Based on the fact that this seems to be the only time that Angus ever used it, it could mean that […]
1960s Gibson SG Standard (Black Ice, Rock or Bust)
This guitar was seen occasionally during the Stiff Upper Lip live tour (2000), and more often during the Black Ice (2008-10) and Rock or Bust (2016) tours. It looks suspiciously similar to the Gibson SG that Angus used during the 90s, but for the sake of better organization, these will be treated as two separate […]
Marshall Model 1959 Super Lead
This is the amp that Angus used in the early days of the band. Likely, the amp was used to record the first two or three albums. Embed from Getty Images As of more recent years, according to the Premier Guitar Rig Rundown interview with Young’s guitar tech, he’s still using these amps as his […]
Marshall Lead Model 1987 (50W)
According to Malcolm Young, Angus used this amp on Back in Black album, although mainly just for solos. In addition to the Super Leads, I think Angus went to a smaller 50-watt Marshall for his solos. Just for some extra warmth. I was still using my Marshall bass head, and I believe Cliff had a […]
These amps were used by both Angus and Malcolm Young starting from around the mid to late 90s. The amps were made by Rick St. Pierre, who at the time was AC/DC’s amp tech, and who seems to have left the position around 2015. At that same time, Angus seemed to have switched back to […]
Schaffer-Vega Diversity System
The only “effect” that Young has ever implemented into his signal chain was the Schaffer-Vega Diversity System – a wireless unit that he would begin using in 1977 live and in the studio. The unit is, however, not just a simple wireless receiver. The SVDS is unique in a way that it has a volume […]
Dean Markley Guitar Strings
Around early 1980s, there was an ad published by Dean Markley that had AC/DC on the cover – clearly indicating that the band was using their strings at the time. Unfortunately, there appears to be zero information on which exact strings Angus used. If we’re to guess, based on his current preferences, they were likely […]
Ernie Ball Super Slinky Strings
According to the 2016 Rig Rundown feature done by Premier Guitar magazine, in the more recent years, Angus has been using Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings. [Rig Rundown – AC/DC’s Angus Young & Stevie Young] At this point it is unknown how far back into the past he’s been using these. Ernie Ball Super Slinky […]
Fender Extra Heavy Guitar Picks
According to the 2016 Rig Rundown feature done by Premier Guitar magazine, Angus uses Fender Extra Heavy picks. [Rig Rundown – AC/DC’s Angus Young & Stevie Young] It is important to note that these are older models with the Fender stamp burned in (the logo is indented), as opposed to it being printed on. Apparently, […]