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.

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.

CLOGS.

Brian May’s storied homemade guitar is certainly one of the most iconic instruments in rock. Guild produced a version of the Queen guitarist’s “Red Special” for a few years, the stock pickups of which were DiMarzios. Ad taken from Guitar for the Practicing Musician, September 1985.