Brian May's Red Special Guitar

The Story of the Home-made Guitar That Rocked the World

Brian May's Red Special Guitar

By:  May, Brian
Bradley, Simon

$33.95 Paperback
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Carlton Books

Limited ***

8.5 X 11.0 in
144 pg

MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Rock
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts

In Brian May's Red Special Guitar you will discover everything you ever wished to know about Brian May's unique guitar. Brian talks about every aspect of the Red Special, from its birth to playing on the roof of Buckingham Palace, from Live Aid to the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and beyond. All of this is accompanied by original diagrams, sketches and notes dating from the building of the guitar, as well as a great selection of photographs including Brian on stage with his guitar, close-ups and x-rays. Rare and previously unseen images are included throughout, as well as a full exploration of every aspect of the guitar that has been fully dismantled and photographed.

Brian May and his father, Harold, started to hand-build an electric guitar in 1963. Brian dreamed of a guitar that would outperform any of the existing commercially made electric guitars; his father had the technical knowledge and skills to help make the dream come true. Brian played his guitar on every Queen album and in all of Queen's live shows around the world.

"My dad and I decided to make an electric guitar. I designed an instrument from scratch, with the intention that it would have a capability beyond anything that was out there, more tunable, with a greater range of pitches and sounds, with a better tremolo, and with a capability of feeding back through the air in a 'good' way" - Brian May

Although best known to the world as the lead guitarist of supergroup Queen, in 2007 Brian May completed the PhD in astrophysics that he abandoned when Queen first started to find fame.


Simon Bradley has been a guitar journalist since 1996, and he has written hundreds of articles and interviews on all aspects of the instrument for many magazines and web sites including Guitarist, Total Guitar, What Guitar?, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Future Music,,, and many more.