SG Wiki

This page contains information on popular artists who use an SG .

Angus Young[]

Angus volute

Photo Credit:

Arguably the most influential SG player is Angus Young of AC/DC, who was fittingly one of the first artists to have a signature model SG produced by Gibson, and long before that, was featured in advertisements for the SG-62 and '61 Reissue.

Angus 75

His first SG, and number one guitar throughout most of the Bon-era (before getting retired to studio use in 1978) was a late-1970 or 1971 Standard in Walnut. It is commonly mistaken for a '67/'68 model, as are many '69-'71 SGs. Angus himself has said in interviews that he does not know the actual model year, and while previously thinking it was a 1968, people have told him it may be a later model. One obvious sign of its vintage is the large volute, a feature only seen on late 1970 and 1971 models (because the volute did not grow to its full size until the end of 1970). Another is the Walnut finish, only offered from 1969-1971.

Angus 78

Naturally, this guitar was seriously damaged throughout its use from 1975-1978. You can see in the photo to the right, Angus had already removed the neck pickup cover by 1975. Also notice how shallow the beveling is.

By 1978, he'd removed the vibrola entirely and fitted what appears to be a Schaller 455 wraparound bridge and has duct tape holding the plug in. He also had a cavity cut out of the back to fit the receiver for a Schaffer-Vega wireless system. This affected his tone by adding a clean boost, compression and companding to the signal. He even used the system to record in the studio. But this would be the last year he'd use the guitar live. It was retired to studio use until the For Those About To Rock album at the latest. He said in later interviews that the neck was warped beyond repair from his sweat (and also that his pickups would need to be rewound/rebuilt frequently for the same reason) so it was then retired fully from all use. Fil Olivieri (Solodallas) has confirmed that Angus still has this guitar at his home in it's original state, though warped and unplayable.


Another notable SG he uses is one with lightning bolt inlays and a batwing pickguard. In the early 1980s, Angus' tech would bring his guitars to U.K. luthier John Diggins for any major work needed. Well, one time they brought him Angus' third or fourth SG (a 1970 Standard in Walnut, the one used in the Back in Black music videos), which was destroyed. According to Diggins, he started by replacing the neck but says he ended up rebuilding the whole thing, and the only original part left was the Gibson headstock overlay and logo. However, contrary to his recollection, the body does not appear to have been rebuilt; the body of this SG stands out due to the stripey nature of the wood grain, which enabled us to confirm that it's the Back in Black SG (and that the one he uses today is not a replica) by matching the woodgrain. The refinish was a little more reddish-brown than the original finish.The work on this guitar was completed in late 1982 and over 20 years later it became the basis for his Gibson Custom Shop signature SG. The first Gibson replica of this guitar dates back as far as 2002 or 2003. That was likely a one-off build for Angus as a backup, and it wasn't until 2007 when they started working on a production run. While the replicas use Seymour Duncan pickups, the original still has its stock T-Tops, although they've been rewound several times over the years. He does not appear to use the Custom Shop replicas live, although he owns some of them and took promotional photos with a replica in 2008. Angus sometimes refers to this guitar as his first SG in interviews, although it's not actually his first.

Black sg 91

Credit: Bob King, Getty Images

Another of his favorite SGs, seen often since the 1991 Razor's Edge tour, is a black SG with a small Angel Wing pickguard. This guitar was mis-identified by Angus' tech Trace Foster in a rig rundown video as being a 1967 model. It actually dates to 1963, as it originally had a Les Paul truss rod cover and the other features point to that year. It's possible it was custom ordered in Ebony with a stopbar tailpiece, but it was more likely refinished and converted to a stopbar at some point (Angus has several other early '60s SGs that were converted to stopbar tailpieces). The tuners have already been replaced with Grover Rotomatics when it first appears in 1991, and mid-2000 they are replaced with Kluson lookalikes (either produced by Schaller or Grover) with large screw-in bushings that fit the hole size left from the Rotomatics. Also in mid-2000, the truss rod cover was changed to a blank one. The pickups were replaced with custom-wound Seymour Duncans before the Black Ice tour, if not earlier. This has been Angus' most commonly used live guitar since at least 2000. Angus also has a nearly identical SG that is also likely a 1963 model, as the holes on the body indicate it originally had a sideways tremolo. The holes being exposed could point to the finish being factory original on that one. This one does not have a Les Paul truss rod cover (making it a later 1963 build). This backup one can be identified by its orginal Kluson tuners with small press-in bushings.

Rare sg 3

There is one SG Angus used heavily from 1981-1986 that is something of an enigma. At first glance, it appears to be an early '60s Standard fitted with a stopbar. But upon closer inspection, the details make it clear that it is not. Most critically, the Gibson logo is the squared style that first appeared in 1970. Also, the pickguard has a longer, more rounded point than any '60s angel wing ever did, and along with the truss rod cover, has a standard bevel angle. This more resembles the pickguards/TRCs used after 1972. Other little details are off, like the tenon cover shape and lack of tapered horns. But it also has noticeable differences from late '70s / early '80s SGs; a small heel, deep beveling, the neck set further out, trapezoid inlays, and obviously a different control layout from the 1980s SGs. The most likely theory is that Angus had Gibson make him a pseudo-reissue of a '64 Standard around 1980. This guitar would be a one-of-one and the first ever attempt at an SG reissue by Gibson, long predating the SG-62.

Tony Iommi[]

69 august

August 1969 (Credit: Ellen Poppinga, Getty Images)

There could be no more fitting torchbearer for the SG than the father of heavy metal, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.

Og monkey 3

Note unusually deep outer treble side bevel

Iommi started out playing a Stratocaster, with a right-handed SG Special that he string upside-down as his backup guitar. From there, the common story goes that after his Stratocaster's pickup failed on him during the recording of Black Sabbath's debut album, he grabbed the SG and recorded the rest of the album with it. Shortly after, he ran into a right-handed guitarist with a left-handed SG Special, so they traded guitars and he ended up with the 1964 or 1965 SG Special that would go on to be known as the "Monkey SG" because of the fiddler monkey sticker he added over the knobs. However, this timeline is contradicted by photographic evidence that he had the left-handed SG as early as August 1969, two months before the debut album was recorded. So while it may be true that the Stratocaster's pickup failed, he already had the left-handed SG by then and was already using it live.

This SG would be extensively modified by luthier John Birch. The first modifications were done shortly after he obtained the guitar, which included deeper beveling (which would have required a complete refinish) and a new tenon cover and redesigned pickguard to match the beveling. The neck pickup appears to have the plastic cover removed, suggesting it may have been rewound or otherwise altered at this point.

By 1970, Birch had designed a new neck pickup, rewound the bridge pickup, made custom mounting rings for the pickups and modified the pickguard and tenon cover to fit around them. He also added a zero-fret, a stopbar tailpiece and finished the fretboard with a coat of clear polyurethane.

By 1975, Iommi replaced the bridge and tailpiece with a Leo Quan Badass wraparound bridge/tailpiece.