Angus Young’s 1960s Gibson SG Standard (Black Ice, Rock or Bust)

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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 instruments.


This SG is finished in black, which was most likely a re-finish. Fill Olivieri over at SoloDallas also suspects that this is a mid-60s model with removed Vibrola tremolo, which also has a somewhat wider neck than the early 60s model.

Angus’ guitar tech Trace Foster pretty much confirmed this in the 2016 Rig Rundown interview with Premier Guitar. According to him, the guitar is a 1967 model, with custom-wound Seymour Duncan pickups (7.7 – 7.8 kOhm resistance), both waxed, and all new Gibson electronics. [Rig Rundown – AC/DC’s Angus Young & Stevie Young]

However, as pointed out by Brian in the comments, based on the location of the crown inlay on the headstock, this is likely an earlier model. On models made after late 1966, the crown was moved down, so Angus’ guitar had to have been a 1966 or 1965 model, though it is possible that this change happened in early 1967 (sources vary on the exact year). It’s also possible that some necks were left over from 1966 and were assembled on the guitars made in 1967.

New (post 1967) compared to old (1966 and earlier). Subtle, yet very important difference.

Aside from this, one thing worth pointing out is that the guitar had a pretty beat-up headstock, which means that it was likely played and used before (according to Trace Foster, Angus has had it since 1977). The headstock also styles a blank truss rod cover, and what look to be original Kluson tuners with plastic buttons. This is also the main visual difference separating this guitar from the one he used in the 90s.

The second visual difference between the two guitars is that the newer SG had the original vintage 1960s Gibson “Witch Hat” knobs, compared to regular Top Hat knobs on the older.

Embed from Getty Images

Rock or Bust World Tour

This same guitar was played by Angus during most of the Rock or Bust tour in 2015/16. […]

The SG, as seen during the Rock or Bust music video.


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9 months ago

Based up the location of the Gibson headstock “crown” this black guitar MUST be a 1965 or earlier.. NOT 1967.. sometime late in 1966 Gibson moved the crown from sitting on top of the A and B tuners to sitting BELOW it .. if this were a 1967, the crown would sit below the middle set of tuners.. this is clearly a 1965 in my opinion.. based upon the nut width as well.. 1 5/8 perhaps and NOT 1 9/16th as would be the case in 1967.

9 months ago

Gibson serial numbers from this era are notoriously difficult to decipher.. the best was to observe original pots of course for getting the year approximate..(may not be any left on this road worn example). Unless the headstock laminate was replaced in the style of a mid sixties SG .. this guitar is a 1965 in my opinion based upon the crown position and nut width from the pictures.. is definitely not the narrow nut (1 9/16) as those are obvious from pictures.

3 months ago
Reply to  Brian

1967 SGs have batwing pickguard.Little guard is of SGs 1961/1966

5 months ago

Impossible to be a ’66. The nut width changed in ’65.

3 months ago

This is most likely the same guitar as the Razor’s Edge one. The tuners are modern Kluson style with the larger screw-in bushings that fit Grover size mounting holes. So he could very easily have just changed the tuners and TRC over the years. Much more likely than having two different refinished or custom ordered black ’65 SGs that he seems to really love and use heavily. And yeah, Trace has no clue what he’s talking about, it cannot possibly be a ’67 or even ’66 because only the VERY early ’66 models still had the small pickguard, and then still had a different heel shape.