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Angus English guitar repair man late 70th and 80th


sellen

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Came over this site recently. cool article, if you haven't read it already

 

The Angus Young Connection

 

In the late 70’s I had my first workshop tucked around the back of a garage. It wasn’t the best location but at the time

it really didn’t matter, I was doing something that I had only dreamed of. A few guitar repairs were coming my way

to start the ball rolling, along with the occasional order for a custom instrument. Around that time one of the road crew

from AC/DC turned up with one of Angus Youngs Gibson SG’s. It was in a bit of a state to say the least, but the main

problem it had was a broken truss rod. Someone in Australia had previously attempted to repair it but without success. I removed the fretboard so I could see what was going on and I discovered that

the fixed end of the truss rod had been damaged by excessive use of a brazing

torch, where the wood surrounding the truss rod had been charred. Consequently

the rod could not take the tension anymore and was near to total collapse.

I rebuilt the Inside of the neck with new timber (Mahogany) and the final repair was

as good as new. That guitar was a Walnut colour with an aged cream double sided

pick guard. This repair obviously went down well because it wasn’t long before I had another to

contend with. This time it was electrical and mechanical, whereby the bridge,

tail stock, pots and the selector switch were completely solid and no amount of

lubricant would free them up. The pick-ups were also the victims of the dreaded

‘Angus sweat’ which must be like acid because it ate through the coils. All the

electrics and bridge were changed, and the pick-ups rewound. This time they were

set in a two pack resin so it couldn’t happen again. I also had to change the pole

piece screws as these had rusted to nothing. I replaced them with socket cap screws,

which are visible on the old posters of Angus.It didn’t stop there. The next was a body repair where the whole of the control area

Had been eaten away by the ‘Angus sweat’, and the odd knock clinched it to make it

unusable. This time it wasn’t worth repairing so I made a new one neck and all,

including the lightning flash inlays, again in the Walnut finish. The only original thing

left on the guitar was the head face with the Gibson logo. The constant appearance

of the crew members with yet more SG’s for servicing or pick-up rewinds led to the

suggestion of making a guitar for Angus. In the midst of all this Angus was not aware

of his pick-ups being rewound. The road crew thought it would be better if he didn’t

know, in case he didn’t like the idea. Anyway, the thought of making a guitar for Angus

gave me a real buzz. That instrument was finished in time for the Donnington festival

when the Slade boys were supporting. That was the first time I had ever met Angus

and Malcolm, they were really nice guys. The best thing of all was to see that Angus

was so pleased with the guitar that he just went straight out on stage in front of

thousands of people and played the whole gig with that guitar with no fuss.

What a man!

Angus playing the custom made sg at donnington 1984

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pick of a similar84 donnington sg(The actual Angus sg had Gibson at Headstock)

wp516f82a1.jpg

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FYI, Angus's SG was repaired by John Diggins, the same luthier that built some of Tony Iommi's guitars.

Thats right,Here's some stuff on John Diggins talking about Tony iommi

 

Tony Iommi I was first introduced to Tony back in 1970 when working with John Birch, who was a pioneer of custom made pick-ups

making them in such a way that they were mechanically noiseless.In those days Tony used a beautiful Gibson cherry red SG special that had

been fitted with some of John’s early pick-ups in the stainless steel covers.

It was this guitar that I used as the blueprint for the contours on our own SG.

In the following years Tony and I became good friends as I was able to solve

some of the niggling intonation problems that he had suffered for many years.

He aslo had some of the early prototype John Birch guitars, such as a 24 fret

Les Paul shape (pictured) and the first 24 fret black SG with crucifix inlays

and stainless steel scratchplate, which he used up until about 1980.I couldn’t make the guitar in John Birches time so I made it at home. It was made on the kitchen table

and was completed in about 2 weeks. The lacquer was still soft when it was taken to the US, and it

was this factor combined with severe changes in temperature and humidity that caused the paint to crack

and flake off, giving the ‘Old Boy’ the well worn look that it has today. The guitar was not given a proper

unveiling until I had produced the pick-ups that could deliver the sound that Tony was happy with.

 

The Jaydee ‘Old Boy’ SG has become one of Tony’s favourites and it is still used today. In 1975 I was aked if I would tour the east coast of the

States with Black Sabbath as a guitar tech for Tony.

I was reluctant at the time but I gave in eventually through

Tony’s persistance. It was then that I thought it would be a good idea to make Tony another guitar to take to the States as a spare, and also to experiment with

pick-ups.

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