How To Make Some Angus Young Style Guitar Parts

If you're heavily influenced by AC/DC guitarist Angus Young, check out this article; it's sure to please!

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New Discovery!

This isn't really a lesson, nor is it a 'new' discovery, but more of a tip, a review possibly, but anyways. I have found via listening to AC/DC records, watching them play and practise, that creating an Angus Young style riff or style of playing is fairly simple. Play a catchy sequence of power chords without going past fret 4, and then follow that up with a short, snappy solo line going anywhere up to fret 7, which can be repeated simultaneously. The Back in Black riff is a great example of this. This probably isn't how Angus himself works out his parts, but this is the way I use, and I thought I would share it. I would also add, it works kind of well. For example in the second bar just add a short solo type bit, then play bar 1 again only this time add a different solo after it. Then go back to bar 1, and then after that play the same sequence again. Include vibrato on some notes for an even more Angus sounding riff!
e|-------------------------------------|--------------3-0------------------| B|------------------3-3-3--------------|--------------------3-0------------| G|------------------2-2-2----------2-2-|2-----------------------2^(4)`2p0--| D|-2----------------0-0-0----------2-2-|2----------------------------------| A|-2-------------------------------0-0-|0----------------------------------| E|-0-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------| e|-------------------------------------|----------------------------------|| B|-----------------3-3-3---------------|----------------------------------|| G|-----------------2-2-2----------2-2--|2---------------------------------|| D|-2---------------0-0-0----------2-2--|2---------------------------------|| A|-2------------------------------0-0--|0---------------------------------|| E|-0-----------------------------------|------7-4-7-5-7-6-7-7-------------||
As we can see, there is just a simple bar of chords, with a short solo bar afterwards. This technique works great, and fans of Angus I would recommend it. A lot of you have probably already found out this technique, but I thought I'd share it anyway. Also, this is not an insult to Angus, it's just my interpretation of thinking up similar sounding riffs/licks. Anyway, have a go at this technique, and then if you feel more adventurous have a go at this technique below for thinking up Angus style chorus riffs. If you study the chorus riffs of AC/DC's music, they tend to consist of some chords or power chords, with a short melody, usually about 2-4 notes long, then reverting to the same chords moved down an octave or two. Sometimes, like in you shook me all night long, there is a single note played before the first power chord or chord of the chorus. We can use the chorus of Thunderstruck as an example. Notice there is a short melody in the middle of the power chords/chords.
E--------------------|------------------------| B--------------------|------------------------| G--------------------|------------------------| D-4---2--------------|-2----------------------| A-2---0--------------|-0-------2--------------| E---------------2-4--|---------0--------------|
Of course, we all know that not all AC/DC songs follow these guidelines. Songs for example like Thunderstruck and Money Talks. Both of which are still worthy of infinite greatness. For these, start anywhere up to fret 14 and include open strings often. A good example is the intro to Thunderstruck. This is the intro to Thunderstruck;
E------------------------------------|--------------------------------| B--0h4p0h7p0h4p0h7p0h4p0h7p0h4p0h7p0h|4p0h7p0h4p0h7p0h4p0h7p0h4p0h7p0h| G------------------------------------|--------------------------------| D------------------------------------|--------------------------------| A------------------------------------|--------------------------------| E------------------------------------|--------------------------------| E----------------------------------|--------------------------------| B--5p0h8p0h5p0h8p0h5p0h8p0h5p0h8p0h|5p0h8p0h5p0h8p0h5p0h8p0h5p0h8p0h| G----------------------------------|--------------------------------| D----------------------------------|--------------------------------| A----------------------------------|--------------------------------| E----------------------------------|--------------------------------| E-------------------------------------|--------------------------------| B--12p0h10p0h9p0h10p0h9p0h7p0h9p0h5p0h|7p0h4p0h5p0h4p0h5p0h4p0h5p0h4p0h| G-------------------------------------|--------------------------------| D-------------------------------------|--------------------------------| A-------------------------------------|--------------------------------| E-------------------------------------|--------------------------------|
That's all for now really. I might post a video lesson soon. Steve Lawson 2008.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    ihavenoname93
    thrilla13w wrote: you spelled practice wrong in the second paragraph first line
    perhaps it is spelled differently outside you're country no?
    ibanez87
    sorry mate, this is just another bad representation of Angus's playing. You should STRESS more that Angus uses TONS of FULL chords with little distortion. Too many people say AC/DC is all about power chords because full chords sound like crap with the heavily distorted tones these people try to use when playing AC/DC. There are TONS of full chords. And it's a common myth that Angus pull-offs Thunderstruck. He only does it one-handed in the video just to show off. He really PICKS EVERY NOTE. sorry mate, but this article is just more misinformed info that's being spread. I almost wish you would take this off.... sorry if I insult you, but this is just the way it is.
    ihavenoname93
    ibanez87 wrote: sorry mate, this is just another bad representation of Angus's playing. You should STRESS more that Angus uses TONS of FULL chords with little distortion. Too many people say AC/DC is all about power chords because full chords sound like crap with the heavily distorted tones these people try to use when playing AC/DC. There are TONS of full chords. And it's a common myth that Angus pull-offs Thunderstruck. He only does it one-handed in the video just to show off. He really PICKS EVERY NOTE. sorry mate, but this article is just more misinformed info that's being spread. I almost wish you would take this off.... sorry if I insult you, but this is just the way it is.
    no they're pretty much power chords. i have a complete official AC/DC tab book that says so
    NOSPI
    ihavenoname93 wrote: thrilla13w wrote: you spelled practice wrong in the second paragraph first line perhaps it is spelled differently outside you're country no?
    no actually, there's two words.But you did get it right. Practise is usually used as the verb, practice as a noun. Today we have band practice. At band practice we will practise. If that makes sense. My god i've said the word so much it has no meaning to me anymore.
    amir razmara
    You Say that "creating an Angus Young style riff or style of playing is fairly simple" !!! OK..Then why aren't you doing it? :d :d
    SauerPilsner
    I agree with loco99. You can conclude that many AC/DC songs are based on A5 E5 and D5 and other power chords, but not that solo thing. i cant renember that many songs of AC/DC where the intro/verse includes "small solo" and power chords. Nothing personel i just dont agree
    ToastYerLicks
    Not a bad article, but you might want to fix the tabs. There's an ad about halfway down. that messes up the allignment of your first tab.
    ILoveGuitar07
    at first I thought this ment angus young style "actual guitar parts" You know...like making a pickup or somthing...idk..lol any way, he does have a formula that he uses and that they have been using for a long time. It works! Nice article! Help open a brain or 2!
    loco999
    This aint no lesson its only tab example, and theres no routine how to create riffs, if you listen to Angus riffs you will see that he base his riffs on rock n roll, not on some sheme or something. And creating music isnt same as doing maths where you have one formula that you should stick to.
    Blas3
    good stuff, although I think it's more of a tabulature exampling article