Gretsch honors Malcolm Young with all-new, limited-edition “Red Beast” Signature Jet

Back in June, Gretsch ushered in the summer by announcing two new signature guitars – one of which was created to honor AC/DC's late co-founder and rhythm electric guitar titan, Malcolm Young.

Now, that model – the pickup-packed, limited-edition “Red Beast” Signature Jet – has been officially launched.

Designed in consultation with Malcolm’s nephew Stevie Young, the latest Beast is an homage to the earliest iteration of the famed axe Young used during his early AC/DC performances and videos – including It’s a Long Way to the Top (opens in new tab) – before stripping it out and embarking on his mod journey.

The original Beast began life as a humble Firebird Red Jet, and was first bolstered with a middle humbucker retrofitted by Young. He would later go on to remove both the middle and the neck pickups, leaving just the bridge unit.

Further, the rhythm guitar icon also removed the original Firebird Red colorway, leaving the now-iconic natural finish of arguably his most famous instrument.

The all-new G6131G-MY-RB Beast is a limited-edition recreation of that early favorite of Young’s, before it was on the receiving end of the above functional tweaks.

As such, it features a chambered body – composed from mahogany with an arched laminated maple top – that flashes two two-inch cutaways, as well as a U-profile mahogany set-neck that is adorned with a 12”-radius ebony ‘board and 22 jumbo frets.

While we’re at this end of the axe, the neck also features aged pearloid neo-classic thumbnail inlays, a bone nut and aged white binding, and flashes an aged white-bound headstock that boasts Schaller die-cast tuning machines.

Other notable appointments include a harmonica-style Adjusto-Matic bridge with a pinned ebony base, which lines up alongside an original-accurate Gretsch ‘60s Jet Vibrato tailpiece.

As for those pickups, two TV Jones Ray Butts Ful-Fidelity pickups sandwich a TV Jones Starwood humbucker, with each answering to both unit-specific volume controls and a master volume parameter.

Joining the three G-Arrow knobs are a trio of toggle switches. The first is a classic pickup selector, while the other two serve as a tone switch and stand-by switch.

The Gretsch G6131G-MY-RB Malcolm Young Signature Jet is available now for $3,399.

Head over to Gretsch (opens in new tab) to find out more about the guitar.

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.