Music Radar has run a new interview with astrophysicist Brian May who also happens to play guitar for Queen. In the article, May talks about Golden Days, his collaboration with vocalist Kerry Ellis (including what’s behind their version of the Gary Moore classic “Parisienne Walkways”), the mystery of riff writing, and the role of guitar in popular music:

Guitar can do lots of stuff: it can make the nice background, it can make a nice rhythm bed for things to lie on. But post-Hendrix, (the guitar) is a voice which demands to be heard in the same way that a human voice demands to be heard.

Read more and give a listen to a May/Ellis track at MR.

Right here.

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We here at Pointy Guitar just love a good list. Luckily, Guitar World has come to entertain us with “The Top 30 12-String Guitar Songs of All Time.” In addition to predictable double course icons like Led Zeppelin and The Byrds, the article cites some more off the wall choices like #22, Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “You Know You Know”:

‘You Know You Know’ off their first album stands out as guitarist John McLaughlin’s shining moment with the instrument. Fun fact: This song was later sampled by both Mos Def and Massive Attack.

(You were wondering how Mos Def and Massive Attack would make it to the pages if of PG weren’t you?)

And #23, Queen’s “’39”:

Brian May’s massive-sounding 12-string acoustic is an integral part of this sci-fi masterpiece about a group of astronauts who set out on what they think is a one-year journey, but when they get back, they realize they’ve been gone for 100 years. They simply don’t write Einstein allusions like this anymore.

Read about all 30 (and listen to many) at GW. 

Right here.

Brian Harold May

Brian Harold May

Here’s a 1991 ad for Maxima Gold Strings (name changed to Optima in the early 2000s) featuring Brian May. That year was a monumental one for Queen, of course: In February the band released Innuendo, an excellent return to form and final chapter for vocalist Freddie Mercury who died in November. Ad pulled from Guitar World, May 1991.

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Brian Harold May CBE

Though Brian May wasn’t incredibly active musically in ’02 (he made a few guest appearances on other artists’ recordings and, oh yeah, played “God Save the Queen” on the roof of Buckingham Palace), he was still appearing in full page ads. This Korg ad was one of two in Guitar World, March 2002. (See the other here.)

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Brian May Signature model

Brian May’s “Red Special” has a long and multifaceted history. The instrument has been mass produced by the guitarist’s own Brian May Guitars since 2004. Prior to that versions of the iconic axe were manufactured by Guild (as shown in this DiMarzio ad from ’85) and by Burns, as shown here. Scanned from Guitar World, March 2002.

Are your guitars members of the family to the point that they have nicknames? Guitar Muse is running an article chronicling some storied instruments that are recognizable by moniker. The summary includes Tony Iommi’s “Old Boy,” Willie Nelson’s “Trigger,” and Yngwie Malmsteen’s “The Duck,” about which they note:

When Yngwie purchased it, as a teen, it was Olympic White in color. Since then The Duck has seen a new paint job, several pickup changes (all Seymour Duncans), new frets (after a fan threw a bottle at the guitar and popped off the 17th fret), at least 6 neck (due to headstock breakage) changes.

And check out this fact about Brian May’s “Red Special”:

(T)he guitar has been “upgraded” and repaired a few times. In 1998 and 2005 it was refinished and had some other cosmetic work done on it, and later the zero fret was replaced. The other frets have not been touched.

Read about them all at GM.

Right here.

In the past few days we’ve lost Dick Clark, Levon Helm, Men at Work’s Greg Ham, and now influential British guitarist Bert Weedon. Though perhaps known more anecdotally in America, Weedon was a giant figure in the U.K. From BBC News:

As a solo guitarist, he had many hits, including Guitar Boogie Shuffle, Apache and Nashville Boogie. In 1976 he became the first solo guitar player to top the Official Top 40 album charts with 22 Golden Guitar Greats.

Weedon’s Play in a Day instruction book was also significant in the development of a generation of guitarists. In a sidebar of the BBC article, Guitar Techniques Magazine Editor Neville Marten sums up:

Bert may be best remembered as a teacher. With ‘students’ that number Eric Clapton, Brian May, Sting, Pete Townshend, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and countless others, Weedon could well be described as the most genuinely influential guitarist of all time.

Read more at BBC.

Right here.