AC/DC’s Back in Black is without question one of the most iconic rock songs ever written. Angus Young’s bluesy pentatonic fireworks will stand forevermore as a high point in the history of guitar music, enshrined in history as one of the best.
But what if it was played by a different guitarist? Intrigued by the thought in his latest video, producer and YouTube guitar superstar Rick Beato sets to work finding out, writing his own solo for the track, and inviting Bon Jovi guitarist Phil X and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal to record their own.
“The concept for this is I’m really influenced by Angus’ playing, so I’m gonna attempt to do a thing that’s my solo with Angus’ influences in there,” Beato explains. “And then I’m gonna call Phil X and get [him] to do a solo, because Phil is an AC/DC expert, but I know he will put his own spin on it.”
After recording Malcolm Young’s rhythm part using a Gibson ‘65 SG electric guitar, Beato lays down an original solo over the top, with a helping of rapid-fire descending runs inspired by Angus.
“The thing about Angus, to me, is the development of his ideas. Every phrase has a logical conclusion and it leads into the next one,” Beato says regarding his process for writing an AC/DC-inspired solo. “Everything is always just developing ideas.”
Next up, Phil X – again, wielding a Gibson SG, because it’s Angus right? – offers up some fretboard pyro, once again based around the E minor pentatonic scale. He does, however, confess that his phrases don’t all have logical conclusions, as Beato set out to include in his solo.
“The original solo is so ingrained in your brain that you wanna stay away from it, but you wanna capture the emotion intended, which is what I always say about doing covers. I didn’t want people to be like, ‘That could be anybody.’”
And finally, Bumblefoot steps up to the plate, though his axe of choice couldn’t be further from an SG. No, for his solo, he uses his Vigier ‘DoubleBfoot’ fretted/fretless double-neck signature guitar, and takes a musical path that strays equally from the path, incorporating a selection of seamless slides and over-the-neck two-handed-tapping passes.
That's enough rambling on our part. Check out the trio's respective takes on Angus Young's classic Back in Black solo at the top. And the original is there, too, for reference.