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Lyle Ronglien >> Angus Young style >>

In The Style of Angus Young (AC/DC)
part 1

Lesson Sample

Lyle: Hi and welcome! Before you get started, we want to look at his equipment and how he gets his killer tone. Angus plays on a Gibson SG. He likes the look and light weight of it and the double cut-away giving him an easy reach to the higher frets. One of my favorite players is Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath who also uses the Gibson SG. Gibson Guitars makes a Angus Young Signature SG that he now uses, designed by Gibson and Angus together. The pickups in it are: Rhythm: '57 Classic Humbucker, Treble: Angus Signature Humbucker.

Lyle: Angus McKinnon Young, born into a musical family on March 31, 1955 in Glasgow, Scotland, stays true to his faithful combination of his Gibson SG and Marshall amps. He started playing guitar at a very young age using his brother Malcolm's guitar. By age 11, Angus had his own guitar and was teaching himself how to play. He uses light gauge strings 9-42.

Lyle: To help get the sound of Angus on your amp, try setting the tone controls about half way. If it's too bassy, roll off the bass control. Don't use too much distortion or overdrive, keep the sound a bit on the clean side. He likes to use a Marshall JTM45 in the studio. It has a glassy clean tone and fluid, warm sustain. 45W output, 2 - 5881 power tubes, and 3 - ECC83s for tone.

Marshall JTM45

Lyle: Now you know a little about his setup, let's look at a bit of his technique. Here's tonight's jam track:

Looping Sound Clip 1

Lyle: The rhythm guitar part in the jam track is a tight rhythm riff using power chords in the open position:

Lyle: Watch the video clip, you'll see both hands muting the strings between chords:

rhythm riff

Lyle: In the rest of this lesson I want to show you what I feel is an important factor in his playing, His bends and vibrato combinations. The jam track is in the key of E minor and you'll be using riffs based from the E minor pentatonic scale.

Here is a series of bend and vibrato riffs right from this scale. Be sure to listen to the media of each TAB file so you can hear the riff with vibrato.

bend riff - 1

Lyle: In order for you to get that Angus Young sound, you'll have to get these bends and quick vibratos first.

bend riff - 2

Lyle: You are going to be combining these simple examples in a moment so memorize where these are.

bend riff - 3

bend riff - 4

Lyle: The next example combines all 4 of the bend/vibrato riffs:

bend riff - 5

Lyle: Ok, take all 4 bends, just like in riff - 5 and play them with the jam track. Each bend/vibrato riff gets one measure.

Lyle: Watch the video and you'll hear what I mean.

Lyle: Can you hear the Angus style within these bend/vibrato riffs?

Johnny944: Sounds great except for the weird noise that I don't want when applying vibrato...?

Lyle: Johnny, that would probably be the other strings vibrating.

Johnny944: How do I stop them?

Lyle: Try to use your index finger and reach over to mute.

Lyle: Johnny, look close at my index finger of my fretting hand in the videos, you'll see it "sneak" over and mute.

Lyle: Here are some other quick vibrato riffs from the E minor pentatonic scale that don't use bends.

Larry: Lyle, when I try bend the high E at the 17th fret, the tone goes higher, then all of a sudden the string stops ringing and just makes a nasty squeaky squeal. Any thoughts on what I may be doing wrong?

Lyle: Larry, sounds like you might be loosing your grip and downward force on the string and it's stopping from ringing or your guitar needs a fret job. Larry, I would have a pro take a look. Sounds like a little fret job could take care of that.

Lyle: Here are some other quick vibrato riffs from the E minor pentatonic scale that don't use bends.

vibrato riff - 6

Johnny944: Lyle, I find it much easier to bend notes "downward" is this ok?

Lyle: Johnny, It is for some strings. You'll find that bending the 3rd string up is important when trying to play a fast riff with the 2nd and 1st strings. Here's a few more vibrato examples for you to analyze and memorize.

vibrato riff - 7

vibrato riff - 8

Lyle: Here's another tab file that has all of these vibrato example in a row:

vibrato riff - 9

Lyle: Ok, check out this next tab file. It's a little solo that uses most of the simple riffs you learned here in this lesson. Notice that when played all together against the jam track, it starts to sound like a Angus Young solo!


Lyle: Be sure to listen to the media of the tab file so you can hear what it sounds like with the jam, or watch and listen to the video.

Lyle: That's all for this lesson. If you would like further study on this topic or any other topic, email me at for info on how you can get your own customized guitar lessons like this using Riff Interactive technology. Your private lessons can be downloaded to your pc for anytime, anywhere study. Thanks and see you at the next lesson. - Lyle

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