Angus and Malcolm Young: The Guitars | The Official AC/DC Site

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.