Personal Life, Equipment, Influence & Style

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Posted on Fri, 07/10/2015 - 2:14pm
by Ron Wallace

Member since: Sat, 01/24/2015

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Young prefers to keep his life private. He and his wife Ellen live in Kangaroo Point in the Sutherland Shire, in Sydney, and also owns a home in Aalten, Netherlands, where his wife is from. Although a heavy smoker, Young is teetotal.

On 24 August 2006, Young received Kerrang! magazine's Legend Award from the editor, Paul Brannigan. Brannigan called AC/DC "one of the most important and influential rock bands in history".

On 16 May 2012, Young was named Best Australian Guitarist of All Time by a poll conducted by Australian Guitar Magazine.

Young and his brother Malcolm are huge supporters of the Scottish football team Rangers F.C..



Angus Young has used Gibson SG's in various forms (his original, and the basis for his current signature model, was a 1970 SG Standard) throughout his career. He also used a modified version of the SG called the Jaydee SG, which was made custom for Angus by Jaydee guitars. The Jaydee SG featured signature lightning bolt inlays on the fretboard. Gibson made a custom SG for Angus with lightning bolt inlays to replace the Jaydee SG. Young's 1970 SG has T Top pick-ups. Another 1964 SG that he used on the recording of Ballbreaker, has patent # pick-ups. All of these are vintage-output Alnico II or V pick-ups with matched coils typically reading 7.5k ohm. All of his pick-ups "are the original ones that came on the guitar(s)." He uses Ernie Ball Super Slinky guitar strings (.009-.042).

Angus Young SG

Angus Young and Gibson Guitar Corporation have collaborated to make the Angus Young SG. It features a pick-up designed by Young himself (the Angus Young Signature Humbucker) in the bridge position, and a '57 Classic Humbucker in the neck. The neck has "lightning bolt" inlays.


Young mainly uses Marshall 1959 100 watt Super Lead Plexi heads and model 1960 AX and BX 4x12 cabinets with Celestion G12-65 speakers. Later amplifiers included Marshall JMP 2203 and most recently, Wizard Amplifiers. Early wireless systems, the Schaffer Vega Diversity System, gave Young extra boost and compression.


The only "effect" that Young has ever implemented into his signal was the Schaffer-Vega Diversity System, a wireless unit that he would begin using in 1977. Not only was it used as the intended wireless unit, but it was also used as a compressor and a booster in his signal to "fatten up" his tone. Ever since adding it to his rig, it was used on several albums in the studio for chosen rhythm guitar tracks and all lead guitar tracks. It is still used in his live rig to this day.


Young has stated that he first began playing guitar when, "I was little, teeny. I would sort of dabble around five or six years old. That's when I started hearing Little Richard."

Young's energetic guitar style has been an influence on many young rock n roll guitarists. When Canadian band Anvil were asked what it was like to tour with AC/DC, they mentioned that Angus Young has a big heart and should bring AC/DC to Calgary.

In an interview with The Guitar Show, Angus noted his influences to include his brother Malcolm Young, Chuck Berry, Freddie King, and Muddy Waters, while playing licks relating to Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and The Kinks "You Really Got Me". Young has indicated that he was also influenced by Keith Richards, as well as Chuck Berry's performing style, including his banter with audiences and duck walk. When the band would cover Chuck Berry songs in their early years, audiences would recognise the song, while noting their renditions were very different to the source material.


Young's playing style is influenced by straight blues playing in both the minor and major pentatonic twelve bar blues-type progressions. In AC/DC's earlier recordings, power chords can be heard in songs such as "T.N.T." and "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)". He also utilises touches of Scottish folk in his playing, and pull-off arpeggios (pull-offs, played one-handed) are a popular trick, appearing in songs such as "Who Made Who", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Sin City", "Let There Be Rock" (live). In 1976, the band recorded an instrumental arrangement of the Scottish traditional song "Loch Lomond", retitled "Fling Thing", which has appeared in their stage act over the years. The title refers to the Highland Fling. Young occasionally provides backing vocals along with Malcolm on songs such as "T.N.T." and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap".

A common criticism of AC/DC is that their songs are excessively simple and formulaic. In reply, Young stated in an interview with the Atlanta Gazette in 1979:

It's just rock and roll. A lot of times we get criticised for it. A lot of music papers come out with: 'When are they going to stop playing these three chords?' If you believe you shouldn't play just three chords it's pretty silly on their part. To us, the simpler a song is, the better, 'cause it's more in line with what the person on the street is.

Stage Antics

Young is famous for his wild onstage antics: intense jumps and running back and forth across the crowd. Once Young would clamber onto Bon Scott's or Brian Johnson's shoulders during concerts and they would make their way through the audience with smoke streaming from a satchel on his own back, while he played an extended improvised guitar solo, usually during the song "Rocker" with Scott or during "Let There Be Rock" with Johnson. He frequently does Chuck Berry's duck walk, as well as a kind of spasm, during which he throws himself to the ground, kicking, shaking, and spinning in circles, while playing the guitar. He first feigned a spasm to avoid embarrassment when he tripped over a lead at a gig. According to AC/DC video director David Mallet, although Angus performs many of his trademark feats sometimes from a series of platforms, risers, and ramps, he suffers from acute acrophobia. This was discovered when Mallet chose to have Angus lowered from a second story balcony onto a stage floor by wires for the video for 'Who Made Who'.​