What is Angus Young’s number one Gibson SG?

You’d be hard pressed to find a more guitarist-and-guitar perfect pairing than Angus Young and a Gibson SG. 

The AC/DC man has played one on basically every record and at every live show since the band’s 1975 debut, and the electric guitar model was even encased in bronze right alongside him on the cover of their 2000 effort, Stiff Upper Lip.

But of all the SGs in the world, which one is Angus’ favorite?

"It's a vintage one," he told host Dean Delray in a virtual recent sitdown on the Let There Be Talk podcast, where he appeared remotely with AC/DC singer Brian Johnson. "The one that I've always had and been on nearly…well, every album I've ever done is a guitar that now, because it's been on so many AC/DC songs, I just save it for the studio. And I keep it away.

“Over the years when I used it live it got so many bumps and cracks and I got to the point where I don't want it damaged any more. I want to make sure to preserve it so it's there for when I'm doing studio stuff."

He continued, "When I've got that guitar, it's so reliable, you know? I just have to plug it in. I can get all my guitars and line them up, and I can go through them all and go in and everyone'll go, 'Yeah, that's a great sound, that's a good sound. But that one, that's the one.' It's just got its own thing to it."

The guitar that Angus is referring to is likely his SG that at some point was customized with lightning bolt inlays. As Angus previously told Guitar World, he believes this model to be “a '69 or '70.” 

Although, he continued, “I had someone else tell me it might even be a '71 or '72. So I don't really know for sure."

Whatever year it is, you can hear this magical SG on AC/DC's forthcoming Power Up, which is available to preorder now.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.