Malcolm and Angus Young are the two guitarists for the Australian rock band AC/DC. Since the start of AC/DC in 1973, the guitar style of the Young brothers has heavily influenced rock & roll. Their band has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, and is currently in the process of working on a much-anticipated album. Through this article I’m hoping on providing useful info and licks from both Malcolm and Angus so that you can better understand the style of the Young brothers. This article is mainly aimed at beginning/intermediate level guitar players, although I hope that everybody will enjoy this.
Malcolm Young was born in 1953 and is the rhythm guitarist for AC/DC. He is also one of the founding members of the band. For the most part Malcolm is the most underrated member of the band, due in part to the fact that Angus takes the spotlight. Malcolm writes most of AC/DC’s guitar riffs, and has really helped define the “AC/DC sound.” He used a Gretsch Jet Firebird guitar for most of his career.
Angus Young is the lead guitarist for AC/DC and was born in 1955. He founded the band with Malcolm. His solo guitar ability is almost overshadowed by his wild stage antics and his school-boy uniform. Angus always plays Gibson SG’s both live and in the studio. Both Malcolm and Angus use Marshall Amplifiers.
Most people would agree that the most memorable part of an AC/DC song is the riff. In concert, both the Young brothers would usually play the same riff, although Malcolm sometimes played a modified version that included some bass notes.
This guitar was played and autographed by Angus Young of the Australian rock band AC/DC. Bursting on to the Sydney pub circuit in the mid 1970s, AC/DC went on to unparalleled international success as Australia’s most successful rock export. AC/DC was formed around the guitar-playing brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Their elder brother George, who in the 1960s was a member of Australia’s most popular group the Easybeats, guided the band in its rise to fame.
Like the Youngs, lead singer Bon Scott was a Scottish-born immigrant. His larrikin image, bad-boy charisma and raw vocal style were perfectly suited to the band’s hard-rocking sound. They developed a unique style of metallic hard rock built around bluesy power chords and sizzling solos from Angus Young. AC/DC performed with an aggressive, irreverent attitude and developed a repertoire of shocking stage antics. The band’s riotous image was emphasised in the coarse, juvenile and menacing humour of their lyrics, with which their largely male audience could identify.
AC/DC became one of the first Australian bands to successfully base themselves overseas. After establishing themselves in the UK, the USA was next. The ‘Let there be Rock’ album put AC/DC on both the US and English album charts. However it was the 1979 album ‘Highway to Hell’ which consolidated the band’s success in the United States.
Bon Scott personified the hard-drinking rocker until his death in 1980. Brian Johnson stepped in and the band released ‘Back in Black’, which sold twelve million copies. Since then the band has not changed its trademark sound or tried to broaden its musical directions. AC/DC’s tours continue to fill stadiums around the world.
The Gibson guitar company is one of the oldest guitar manufacturers in the world. The SG model was developed in the late 1950s as a standard solid body alternative to Gibson’s Les Paul and semi-acoustic instruments. Its classic design has not changed since then. The SG has been used by many rock guitarists including Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa and Jerry Garcia. It was a favourite with punk guitarists in the late 1970s.
In recent years items used or signed by rock stars have become highly collectable. Before donating it to the museum, Angus autographed this guitar in silver ink.
Rock god Angus Young of AC/DC has been chosen as the greatest guitar player in Australian music history by Australian Guitar magazine.
Though his schoolboy outfit may be getting some age on it, his licks seem as fresh as ever. According to the Daily Telegraph, the list features Tommy Emmanuel at No. 2, followed by Cold Chisel’s Ian Moss, The Living End’s Chris Cheney, and Rick Brewster from The Angels rounding out the Top 5. Angus’ brother and fellow AC/DC guitarist, Malcolm Young, finished just outside the Top 10.
While Angus’ place in rock history is firmly cemented, it may actually be a while before he gets to add to his legacy. Malcolm Young recently revealed that he felt that it might be “a year or two” before the band returns with a new record. Malcolm stated that he’s been jamming some song ideas, as have other members of the band, but the group is enjoying the long rest between albums.
Singer Brian Johnson also stated earlier this year that health issues were affecting one of his bandmates and that plans for a new record had briefly stalled as a result.