It is sort of a strange-looking guitar. The cutaways remind you a little bit
of a Les Paul, but not really. The tailpiece looks like half a heart, the
knobs are big and shiny, and there are six small buttons. Oh, and a star.
This is a rough description of Brian May's Red Special guitar, the
instrument he and his father built from scratch. It sounds like no other
guitar in the world, and from the moment the future Queen guitarist picked it
up in 1963, he has been creating sounds no other musician has ever captured.
Here in this beautifully photographed book, May talks about how he and his
father, Harold, designed and ultimately constructed what would become known as
the Red Special. Everything you'd ever want to know about this iconic
instrument is presented here:
- The Body
- The Colour
- The Binding
- The Scratchplate (pickguard)
- The Pickups
- The Switching System
- The Bridge and Tremolo System
- The Controls
- The Truss Rod
- The Neck
- The Fingerboard
- The Frets
- The Nut
- The Headstock
May details every process of the construction.
He talks about how the instrument became part of--and then a defining element
of--Queen's sound. There are astonishing photographs peppered throughout the
entire book, including never-before-seen shots of the guitar, live
performances, and Brian himself as a toddler and pre-Queen teen.
Brian continues to make music with this special guitar in a re-formed version
of Queen that includes Adam Lambert. He even talks about that in this
wonderful diary of the life of a guitar.