Angus Young is underrated

As stocking stuffers, my fiance used magazines covering some of my hobbies. Some on woodworking, some on guitar, and some on computers. Since I had some time off, I decided to try to spend some time with my guitar, so I flipped through and found the music to an AC/DC song – “You Shook Me All Night Long” – and since I knew the rhythm part, I decided to try to learn the solo. The result is that I did, and after flipping through and listening to some other stuff and twiddling around, I’m really impressed!

AC/DC doesn’t do anything fancy. Never have. From “Highway to Hell” all the way through “Thunderstruck”, the style has been essentially the same. Hard driving rhythm/riff-rock. The guitars in their songs are so addictive that I never even learned the leads to their songs — just the rhythm parts and main riffs and such. They’re fun songs to play. But if you make a study of the lead stylings of Angus Young, you come away with quite a lot, actually. He does some interesting stuff! He’s got the box-based easy blues styling of Paige, the melodic, note-borrowing style of Clapton, but it’s very hard at the same time.

There are a lot of underrated guitarists, ones you don’t see in the guitar magazines a lot because they don’t have a top 40 hit on the radio. Angus Young is one of them. When you do see him in the mags, it’s usually something like “Back in Black” or, indeed, “You Shook Me”. Occasionally you see “Hell’s Bells”. But there’s tons more tasty stuff on just about every AC/DC album in existence. I urge you to check it out and really pay attention to the solo on “You Shook Me”, which is a great learning exercise, complete with string skipping, dramatic position changes, major/minor note flipping, and some of the nicest, most creative phrasing you’re likely to hear in a pure hard rock guitarist. At the same time, this stuff is really actually not hard to play.