Book Review: Brian May’s Red Special – The Story of the Home-made Guitar that Rocked Queen and the World

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The Red Special
“The story of the home made guitar that rocked queen and the world”
Brian May with Simon Bradly

What a terrific historical account of the magical instrument played by the lead guitarist who produced so many iconic riffs and licks from its 24 fret oak fingerboard and body.  That electric guitar, The Red Special, was created and built by Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May and his father, Harold, and nearly every song from the legendary band featured its many tones, amplification, tremolo and “feedback through the air in a good way.”  

This book published by Hal Leonard takes the avid Queen fan, guitar enthusiast, or just lovers of music history and coffee table books through the early years of Brian May, how he came to play guitar in the first place, and of course the development of the project with his father – complete with early stages of the instrument during its construction, blue prints drawn by Brian’s father, notebook pages on the shaping of the body and details of the parts, and their origin that ultimately became the instrument Brian played. 

The story is told by Brian and he takes the reader through every aspect of the Red Special including how and why the name was chosen.  In addition to the sketches and notes, there is a museum of photos including close ups, x-rays, and Brian performing.

This book is a joy ride through some great rock and roll history and full of details that many were never aware of or even thought about when listening to those great hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Killer Queen,” “We Will Rock you/We are the Champions,” just to mention a few. 

Now Brian has his own guitar line Brian May Guitars and here is the website to check it out: Enjoy!

Can be purchased online at, local music dealers, or on

Additional selling points:

• Includes rare and previously unseen photographs of the Red Special, Brian and his father, and Queen.

• The guitar has been fully dismantled and every piece is photographed.

$30.00 (US)
Inventory #HL 00119108
ISBN: 9781480341470
UPC: 884088905385
Width: 8.75″
Length: 11.25″
144 pages

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