The (almost) Final Word On Back In Black? (UPDATE Shoot To Thrill)

20 Apr The (almost) Final Word On Back In Black? (UPDATE Shoot To Thrill)

Update: trying to grasp “Shoot To Thrill”.

Only an attempt, this one also is far from final. However, some reactions are already happening.

Angus seemed to have been “higher” on the guitar volume knob for this one, as he is evidently “boosting” the bass freqs more (you can hear it definitely even in the rhythm tone).

So on this 1971 SG Standard, volume knob was all time on 9 for both rhythm and solos (did only a single take).

Interesting Sonnox Equalizatioin curve as well. I had to take out some db on the five hundred hz to make it work better. It’s true as Mr. Platt said, there are various and slightly differences in tone between every song.

Naturally, even this one will get its own perfromance where I will try to nail 100% (well, the 100% of the real-life achievable results simulating certain things: remember I do not have an MCI console and its equalizers, no mic pres, no U67/U87, no Compass Point Studio room, no real speaker breakup volume: I am playing at .ess than a watt in power! There will be always differences in these attempts here. We’ll have to be content).

As for the amp, I tried a 50watts, my 1987 (modified by Bray).

Settings were identical to the ones used for Back in Black below.

So the rhythm is also the 1987, not the solos only (which was done for my own experimentation: how would the Vega work on a 50watters? Answer, well, just as “beautifully”!).

Cabinet is still the 4×12 with prerola G12Ms. My favorite.

Shoot To Thrill Vega 1987





this morning I went back to my usual thing, Back in Black (the song for now).

I wanted to re-try and capture it, but using what I have been using these last days, i.e., the REAR Vega output and its boost. You know there is two boosts: a front panel one (with a lot of hiss) and an incredibly quiet one on the rear.

In my opinion, this is what he used.

Here it is to you.

Amp settings are as basic as they can be:

– 1959 Marshall model (year 1976)

• Bass 8, mid 5, treble 5, volume 6(!)

• 1971 Gibson SG Standard, original t-top, rhythm 8, solo 10.

• Vega TX on 1.5 o’ clock; Vega RX REAR boost +20db, audio adjust (its amount) to full,

• just one mircophone (condenser AT4047)  used(!) flat on the 4×12 G12M PreRola Speaker


The ProTools EQUalization curve with the Sonnox plugin is the lightest I have ever used; basically, +4 db on the 2k frequency, and cut the highs to 15k (maybe less, but since the take was whole, i.e., rhthm and solo – and on the record it was separate takes and separate settings) I needed to balance.

Bass freqs cut at 20hz (i.e., curve “starts” at 20hz and goes up slowly till it meets the 500hz odb increase line). Maybe an image will do better.

However, not surprisingly, you have to now know that the sound is there even without Equalization; in fact, I believe that even the solo sounds just right even if played with a 50watters (I used a 100watt) as probably Angus did.

It’s just that amazing “texture” that is all there.

When you hear the solo, you will definitely hear the bass boost (well, a total boost) coming up. That’s the Vega kicking in fully at 10 on the guitar. When you go back to 8, you will lose some boost (and lots of bass). But the tone will be very balanced. It’s really that boost on 10 that will get you that incredible driven and fat sound on some solos on the whole Back in Black album. Un-achievable without the Vega.

I just “brushed” the strings. I am NOT hitting hard at all. Brushing. Even for the solos. This is because the Vega TX is very responsive, and the dynamics switcth very well. You get a lot by just brushing. AND it’s easier to play.

Have a listen.


With this, I am basically shutting down Back in Black (yeah right, will never do!) in terms of tone quest. I will re-do another video performance of it. And the solo tutorial.

Other Back in Black (album) songs will naturally be researched however, THIS is the basic texture.

Back In Black VEGA Final

Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

  • avatar
    Posted at 08:23h, 16 May

    Hiya I found this link from an SG site I visit which is written by a guy from Germany who discusses Angus SGs over the years and then discusses SGs in general and pickups etc. the guy seems very knowledgeable, not sure if it is all fact or guess work but makes a good read. You have probably read it before so apologies if you have: http://home.pages.at/reddevil/equip1e/guitar.htm

    Cheers 🙂

    • avatar
      Posted at 08:30h, 16 May

      Thank you. This is Johannes Rosenstock, a former friend of mine (many years ago! I think he is also a member here) and most of that information comes from me at the time. Funny, isn’t it? I think it was the 1990s! I also gave him one of my very first Gibson SGs vintage I had. A 1971 in fact! Thanks, Fil 🙂

      • avatar
        Posted at 08:57h, 16 May

        Hi Fil

        Oh dear sorry about that, a useful link anyway
        🙂 and you both make a great write up and very interesting to read, especially the number of SGs that Angus has purchased over the years. Thanks for the reply, fantastic site and videos please keep doing what you do, cheers 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 00:36h, 28 April

    Hi guys,
    Amazing achievement getting that tone with all the old equipment. Since there are limited amount of quality vintage gear about it would be great if your next quest could be to reproduce a similar tone with new gear you can buy off the shelf so more people can enjoy that ACDC tone. I have a Vintage Modern 2266, a 1960X cab and about to purchase a Gibson SG Standard and hoping that a boost and a compression pedal would get a similar ACDC tone.

    PS: SD, I’ve been following you for a long time since back in the YouTube days. Thanks for all your efforts of sharing your passion. Rock on mate!

    • avatar
      Posted at 00:50h, 28 April

      You be welcome and thanks very much for joining.
      Absolutely yes: get close to those tones with newer gear. It’s in my plans. However, for intellectual honesty, I wanted to be sure to achieve it with the original components first. This, the reason of amassing older gear for so many years. Many claim they got the tone, but none ever shows clips. I did 🙂 And I was close but not enough for years. Recently I made it a mission of mine. And some work proved to be right 🙂 Once this is done, proved, accepted, documented well and all, I will proceed to trying to replicate it with newer gear. There, told you my future plans. Welcome again! Fil 🙂

      • avatar
        Posted at 20:01h, 24 August

        Hello SD. Following on from the previous message about newer gear. I recently bought the new black Angus signature SG and a Marshall YJM100. The only thing I’ve added is a 30 year old Boss GE-10 equaliser to the effects loop due to the amp being a bit to much on the treble side. SG straight into the amp and both channels linked and I love the sound. Maybe you could try the new YJM100 and let us know what you think? Thanks!!!

    • avatar
      Posted at 00:54h, 28 April

      Welcome here 🙂 Yeah, that were also my thoughts. How to get this tone with modern equipment? Is it possible at all? Theoretical, it should be possible, I think. Would love to test a Vintage Modern, I was even about to buy one 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 19:47h, 22 April

    Hey FIl,

    On your Bray 1987 did you utilize the MV mod at all when recording STT or did you have it at 10 and use the Aracom??

    Wondering because I’m using your settings on everything else but I have to have the master at about 1/4 vol to keep it to a tolerable level. But I think I might be getting some tone loss here. My speakers seem to get a little “fuzz” the lower I go.

Post A Comment