The high energy rock guitar solos of AC/DC guitarist Angus Young have been filling arenas for decades and inspiring generations of guitar players. His playing pulls from traditional blues and rock and roll ideas that are played very aggressively and on the edge to fit with the powerful rhythm section behind him. In this Angus Young guitar lesson, you will learn common guitar licks and techniques that are used throughout every AC/DC album.
The solo opens with a traditional rock and roll guitar lick. This is very reminiscent of something that early rock guitarists like Chuck Berry would play. You can get a more aggressive guitar sound on this lick by muting and striking the strings in front of each bend. Use your picking hand to mute the A and D strings and then use the pick to strum into each bend. This is a simple technique that can also make most blues ideas fit better behind a rock track.
The second idea is a minor pentatonic run using eighth note triplets. Using different note values throughout the solo can add interest preventing you from playing an entire solo of constant eighth notes.
The third lick uses a technique called unison bends that Angus Young uses on many AC/DC solos. It involves striking two notes at the same time and then bending the lower note until it is the same pitch as the upper. This is also a good way to practice your bending intonation because you will hear the beating between the two notes stop when your bend is perfectly in pitch. It can also be an interesting sound to keep the bend a bit flat to use the beating as an effect.
The fourth lick uses oblique bends. Oblique bends are a double stop where one note is bent and the other remains on the original pitch. This is extremely common in country guitar playing. Angus Young often uses this in a rock guitar style by picking each note aggressively rather than hybrid picking like a country guitarist.
The solo ends with a pull-off line done in the style of the lead guitar melody of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”. This idea descends the scale while adding a pull-off to the open G string for every note. I prefer the sound of each note being picked in this idea but you can also play the entire pull-off lick while only striking the first note.