Angus Young

click to enlarge Gibson SG Standard

click to enlarge

Gibson Les Paul Reissue SG

Humbucker pickup

Grover machine head       Kluson machine head

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SG with lightning bolt inlay

Super Slinky strings Ernie Ball

Marshall JTM452

Inside Marshall JTM452

KT66 tube

1959 SLP Super Lead



Angus McKinnon Young was born on March 31, 1955 in Glasgow, Scotland.
His birth is often incorrectly listed as 1959.
The reason is that the record company (EPIC) intentionally did this to the image of "student" make this plausible. In the seventies made Angus AC/DC fame by this act to perform in school uniform.

Angus comes from a musical family and was the youngest of the family.
Besides Angus father William Young and mother Margaret (her maiden name was also Young) have four more children.
Alexander (28-12-1946), George 'Redburn' (06-11-1947), Malcolm (06-01-1953) and sister Margaret.
In 1963 the family immigrated to Australia.

To playing a guitar he learned from brother Malcolm, and proved quickly to a talented guitarist. With some school friends he made early seventies part of local bands as 'Kentuckee' and 'Tantrum'.

AC/DC (the name was coined by their sister) was compiled in 1973 by Malcolm Young in Sydney. He formed the band with some friends, Dave Evans (vocals), Rob Bailey (bass) and Peter Clack (drums). Angus was also present at the first rehearsals and Malcolm asked them if he wanted to play a solo part. Everyone in the band agreed that Angus would be a great addition for the band.
Local the band had immediately success and soon followed their first album recording,
'Can I Sit Next To You'. This single was produced by their older brother George. George had been part of 'The Easy Beats' wich be in the sixties he reaped much success.

AC/DC Malcom Young, Phill Rudd, Bon Scott, Cliff Williams and Angus Young

On February 19, 1980 Bon Scott dies by alcohol poisoning. A hefty blow to the band. A successor for Bon was found in the person of Brian Johnson, whose hoarse rough voice of Bon nice approached. Brian Johnson sang before in the Scottish glam rock band Geordie, who in 1973 had a hit with "All because of you."

Brian Johnson

The school uniform is become the trademark of Angus (AC/DC) but that time Angus other gimmicks also. Thus, he already performed in a gorilla costume and Superman costume.

After the band had moved from Sydney to Melbourne several line-up changes followed. The band now excist beside Angus and Malcolm by, bassist Mark Evans (who in 1977 was replaced by Cliff Williams), drummer Phil Rudd and lead singer Bon Scott. Scott worked as a roady driver for the band and had already played drums in several other bands. Bon Scott is almost ten years older than the other boys but his charisma and raw vocals fit perfectly with the band. The recognizable sound of AC/DC was born.

Angus likes to play on the Gibson SG Standard cherry red, built between 1963 to 1970. These SG Standard were provided with an Gibson Tremolo System. Angus uses the tremolo system is extremely rare because the guitar constantly annoyed, so he disassemble this system in general.
The favorite guitar of Angus is the standard SG 1968. This SG standard was produced from 1967 to 1970 in the USA and are increasingly rare, partly because Angus buys almost every SG he can find. Meanwhile he has about 60 to 80 guitars of this model bought.

Another SG model which he also plays is a black SG Custom with chrome elements and white body.
Unlike the regular SG's these SG Custom has a neck with very flat frets so he can be played faster.

Angus has adjusted the guitar by his own taste to get off the middle element, the brass caps to replace by chrome and disassemble the tremolo system to put on a fixed comb. The elements are, as with all SG models Humbuckers. These are in contrast to single-coil pickups two against each other placed single-coils which will influence each other. This creates a warmer bass and a smoother sound at the low tones.

A another advantage of the humbucker with regard to single-coil: Because the two coils work in contra fase, rumble (arise for example if you rise too dense at the transformer of an amplifier) that cancels each other. The metal guard also ensures that interference signals are shielded from the outside.

Until the eighties Angus played on both models both live in the studio.
Sometimes he also played a Gibson SG 1961, in contrast to the models from 1963-1973, they had a different tremolo system.

In the '80s and '90s he plays on SG models wich very similar to the Gibson Les Paul '61 Reissue SG. Two earlyer '61 SG's without tremolo were repainted especially for him, one in red and one black. To do the guitars less rapidly get out of tune them now provide with Grover machine heads instead of the old Gibson Kluson machine heads.

A remarkable SG is the one with a lightning bolt inlay on the fretboard.
A Gibson SG from 1971 was brought to the English guitar builder John Diggins for maintenance. John replaced all parts of the guitar except the headstock with Gibson logo and serial number.
Characteristic of this guitar is the fretboard with lightning bolt inlay, an idea by John.

Angus owns also some old Les Paul and Firebirds. In his 'storage' he has approx 100 different guitars, most SG's but also other Gibsons that he collected over the years. Some acoustic guitars, Gibson 335, Firebirds, Les Pauls, Epiphones and a few Fender Telecasters.

The strings with which he stretches his guitars are from 'Ernie Ball - Super Slinky, 0.09" to 0,042" and he use a extra heavy plectrum of 'Fender'.

Angus don't use effect equipment.
Angus swear by tube amps and used mostly the late sixties Marshall tube amp. These are very old models and to original is still very difficult to find. These old amplifiers have been built with wire connections and not with circuit boards such as the later models and have as a result, another sound. Also by their age they sound different.

The Marshall amplifiers were designed to produce a reasonable volume, but Angus she turn the volume fully open! Because the amplifiers have no master volume control, they go so great 'burst'.
Angus uses the 50-Watt (JTM 45) amplifier the increased version, the rare '67er 100-Watt (100 JTM) with KT66 tubes.

Besides, he uses the 1959 SLP 100 Watt Super Lead amp and its 50-watt version thereof, depending on the room acoustics. But his preference is for the 50-watt JTM 45 models. The tubes he used for the SLP amplifiers areGroove EL-34 for the amp, and EC-383 as preamp tubes.

The boxes have been Marshall 4x12" with straight soundboard, equipped with Celestion Vintage 30" 70-Watt speakers. These provide a very stable bass with many mid tone.

For a regular concert there are only for Angus eight to ten 1959 SLP amplifiers on stage, which probably only five are actually used.

The amplifiers of Angus are set as follows:
Volume: 7-8
Treble: 5-6
Middle: 3-4
Bass: 4.5
Presence: 8

Angus Young has been married since 1980 with Ellen van Lochem, a Dutch girl and former girlfriend of Bennie Jolink, member of the Dutch rockband 'Normaal'.

Ellen van Lochem
Ellen van Lochem

He met her in July 1979, when AC/DC gave a concert for a Dutch radiostation where also act Normaal. Angus has been stay in the Netherlands and now lives in Aalten, a little village in the eastern Netherlands.

Ellen and Angus
Ellen and Angus  anno 2007

It is known that Angus is avoid the media nowadays as much as possible, and alternately dwells in Sydney and Aalten. Angus is what concerns the mentality of people in Aalten a comparison with Australia. "The people are very social, and whether you're butcher, farmer or rock guitarist, for them here they are all the same. Something that I like recognizable and appreciate.", says Angus.

In Aalten he spend a lot of time in his recording studio at home, where he also worked for new material for AC/DC.
In October 2008, the last album (the 18th studio album) by AC/DC released with the title, "Black Ice".

In September 2012, a live album released of their concert in the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2009. A legendary concert in a sold out stadium for over 200.000 exuberant fans.

The last album of AC/DC?
'Rock or Bust "is the title of the new studio album from AC/DC and will released on December 2, 2014.
The album was recorded in the spring of 2014 in Vancouver, at the Warehouse Studio. On 'Rock or Bust "will be 11 new tracks to find and is produced by Brendan O'Brien and Mike Fraser.