How To Play Like Brian May

Simon Bradley enlisted the help of Dave Colquhoun to put together an insider’s guide to emulating Brian May’s playing style for Total Guitar magazine in September 2019. Dave’s accolades include winning Total Guitar’s prestigious Guitarist Of The Year competition in 1994 and coaching Gwilym Lee on the Bohemian Rhapsody movie. He offers twelve insights into Brian’s style illustrated by Queen tracks.

  • Using the D/A chord (Hammer to Fall)
  • Phrasing and feel (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • Soloing with melody (Somebody to Love)
  • Finger vibrato (Killer Queen)
  • Guitar vibrato (One Vision)
  • Picking dynamics (It’s Late)
  • Volume control (Spread Your Wings)
  • String bending (We Are The Champions)
  • Using your index finger (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • Understanding legato for smooth playing (It’s Late)
  • Taming feedback (We Will Rock You)
  • Finding harmony (All Dead, All Dead)

I have found the lessons on Lick Library’s two volume Learn to Play Queen instructional videos by the late Michael Casswell very accessible:

Ten tracks are covered in total, five per disc: Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Hammer To Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Now I’m Here, We Will Rock You, One Vision, Killer Queen, I Want It All and Fat Bottomed Girls.

Brian May/Queen Professional Instructional Videos

The embedded videos below are specially selected from YouTube instructional and demonstration media produced by professional musicians.

Brian May Style – Quick Licks – Guitar Solo Performance by Michael Casswell
Classic Albums – Queen – A Night At The Opera Guitar Lesson Course (Death on Two Legs Extract)
Bohemian Rhapsody Guitar Lesson by Carl Brown of
Love of My Life (Live, Acoustic) Guitar Lesson by Carl Brown of
Hammer To Fall Guitar Lesson by Carl Brown of
’39 (Live, Acoustic) Guitar Lesson by Carl Brown of
Tie Your Mother Down Guitar Lesson by Carl Brown of
We Will Rock You Guitar Lesson by Carl Brown of

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