Brian May Talks About His Gear and Shows How to Play Queen's Hits

Red Special guitar in hand, Brian May discusses his equipment and techniques, and demonstrates a number of his guitar solos.
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Brian May recently posted this fantastic tutorial video from 1983 on his YouTube channel.

Those of you who were playing back in the Eighties may recall that Star Licks Productions created a series of instructional videos featuring well-known musicians demonstrating their unique musical styles and techniques. The collection debuted with a wide-ranging group of players, including Steve Lukather, Tony Iommi, Al McKay of Earth, Wind & Fire, Albert Lee, and guitarist/educator Wolf Marshall.

Brian’s video was certainly one of the highlights of the series for fans of his work with Queen. In it, he takes his Red Special guitar in hand as he discusses his equipment and techniques, and demonstrates a number of his guitar solos.

He starts out with a tour of his gear, including his guitar, his Pete Cornish–modified treble booster, his Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble pedal and digital delays. He also describes how he uses the pedals with his three-amp setup to keep the effected signals separate from the main signal. “It’s very important, otherwise they get all messed up,” he explains,

Brian then continues with presentations of famous and lesser-known Queen songs, including “Brighton Rock,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” “Somebody to Love,” “It’s Late,” “Dead On Time,” “Put Out the Fire,” “It’s a Hard Life,” “Keep Yourself Alive,” “Jesus,” “Father to Son” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

As Brian explains on the video’s page, it was his idea to present the lessons in the video format rather than as audio cassettes.

“[Producer] Mark [Freed] initially came to me with an idea for making audio cassettes of guitarists explaining their techniques. It seemed a good one and we arranged to meet and make it happen.

“But I said ... if we’re going to the trouble of recording this stuff, why not film it as well, and make it into a Video Cassette?!

“So we made a ‘pilot’ video, and people liked it, and this became the template for a whole collection of videos which, I think, stand up very well to this day.

“Maybe we should do an update?!”

We’re down with that. In the meantime, this clip will do just fine.

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