09 Feb Angus Young’s Guitar Style: It’s PHYSICAL
I remember telling myself (and everyone I talk to about this, been years) how I always though Angus’ guitar style was physical.
This struck me as an evident truth when I got better at it. It still strikes me when I have to play lead (try to) like his lead solo on “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” posted the other day. If you look at the beginning of the solo, there is a major (in terms of, intense) bend there, done on the D string. I am sure that that is how he did it on the album. It’s a freaking tough job and it’s completely physical.
Why am I underlining this a-gain? Because not only Angus does it this way, and it’s a proven fact (and an acknowledged one: please watch both videos below) but also, I think personally (this is just ME!) that THIS is the way that a guitar should be played. At least, a rock and roll/blues guitar. Timing and physical approach (which things are bound together). You that are reading this, never forget about this.
It won’t only help you to replicate better your beloved AC/DC sound and tunes: it will help you to be a better musician. I have no doubts about this.
By being physical though, don’t think for a split second that he’s not in complete control of it: he is controlling his body and mind constantly. Hence the sweat. There’s no relaxation when playing like this. It’s pure energy, and it is what will hit you as a listener.
Do not believe in relaxed performances. Controlled yes (in terms of being concentrated on what you do; not in terms of playing like a fucking robot!!!).
I am still often called an idiot (current youtube comments on my older “Getting the AC/DC sound” a video that made almost half million views(!); I still “move to much”, make too many faces, ugly ones etc.). But every single time I check on those who are so aggressive at me and try to see how THEY play, well… not much there 🙂
I just don’t care. I used to react to this a lot worse than I am now (recently), as it would literally ignite me (laughs). As time goes by – and I am more self assured of my own skills as a musician – I tend to care less and less.
I invite you to do just the same and play with your whole body. You will feel naked and lost at first, in time, it will come to you and you will entertain anyone with your guitar playing.
If you wanna learn guitar then this is your man! If you’re trying to learn English then you’d be well advised to pick someone (even anyone) else lol.
And err so, I always thought the SG was a lighter guitar cos you could just pick it up like this (shows how), See…..um…….well what I suppose people of an average, medium height can just sort of bend it…..
but when they bend it, they just sort of bend the string, you know (demonstrates crap) but with me it’s like I’ve gotta sort of go (demonstrates Godlike!) You know you have to sort of lean…lean into it you know lol. And a lot of people when you’re playing on stage, a lot of people say it’s a lot of movement but it’s actually me trying to get around the fret-board, you know. (Demonstrates double-stop bends) It’s just, I suppose, a thing of nature when you’re playing live, you know, and sometimes it’s the movement itself, you know, that actually helps you get the note, or you think, you know, you think of ways of trying to.. well you think I’ve gotta get that note, and how am I gonna get it out…. and like with myself, your knees sort of crunch up together and you just sort of go (demonstrates) lol’s it’s almost like a virgin there.
You know, if you had to get an effect or something, you would think of something that you could do with a guitar, like if you’ve heard the song Jailbreak, like, in the middle there’s a guitar break with the vocal thing, you know when Bon, he was singing and eh, you know he would do this ‘heartbeat’ thing, and then he would go ‘spotlight’ (demonstrates vibrato) you know, you make a rude noise and then you get ‘sirens’ you know and ‘rifles’ firing so you got that…. you would try and think of a thing, where, how to do it on the guitar without it sounding like somebody had put an effect on…and we always though it was better too because you were thinking about what you were doing.
You try to do what’s there off the record but I think …. we’re lucky in the form that we got little breaks and stuff that you can play and it’s just years of playing that you’ve built up between you and an audience. You get, I dunno, I suppose from the early days picking up things, you would watch somebody like Chuck Berry, and he always had little raps going on with an audience, you know he’d go ALLAY (allez if your French, lol, Rob) and the audience would go allay! (repeats) He’d just go like this (hand to ear) and the audience would respond, so I would try and do it with, well I thought Chuck can do it and maybe I can do it with the guitar. (Demonstrates how to build it up).
Well Malcolm and myself was, you know we would…….. I got it mainly from watching him, you know he was always sort of (demonstrates) and if you hear a track like one of the new ones, Stiff Upper Lip (plays riff)
As a kid I would sit and, I thought I was oh so clever you see, I thought I could sit and knock these little things together, and you were thinking it was a good exercise for me and you could sort of practise away with them, you know and even in the track Thunderstruck it was the same thing, it came up like a… it started like a one handed… so it started that way (demonstrates) and then you would end up (demonstrates two handed)
We used to have a funny thing, it used to seem after 6 o’clock at night when the sun went down or whatever time the sun would go down…was when suddenly it’s a bit vampire(y) in a way lol, the sound would start to fall into place. What sounded like, you know, a shambles in the morning sounded like something very together at night.
Hyce suggested that we watch this, and we do (thanks Hyce!).
Some physical playing and ugly faces right there for ya