Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Was Brian actually a good rock guitarist?

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Boy Thomas Raker user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 15:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not posting this as a slam at Brian, but when Aric said he'd be posting his version of "It's Late", YV replied "I am really looking forward. "It's Late" - that must have been quite difficult."

I'm an average player, and I find a lot of Brian's faster passages incredibly difficult. But other guitarists on QZ say things like "It's Late", "Dead on Time" or "Princes of the Universe" to name a few, are simple. Are these people that good, am I that bad, or were Brian's solos just average and nothing special? IMHO, "It's Late" is one of the greatest solos ever, and one I can't get close to playing :( Interested in people's thoughts.


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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 15:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Good isn't the same thing as fast or difficult.

The notes Brian plays are easy to reproduce by a good guitarist. But it's the feeling that is most special about Brian's playing (Next to his skill to write great guitar solo's that really complement the song)




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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 15:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Good isn't the same thing as fast or difficult.

The notes Brian plays are easy to reproduce by a good guitarist. But it's the feeling that is most special about Brian's playing (Next to his skill to write great guitar solo's that really complement the song)




"On the first day Pim & Niek created a heavenly occupation. Pim & Niek blessed it and named it 'Loosch'."



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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 15:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Offcourse brian was a good Rock guitarist,I dont know what to say more about this topic.


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Boy Thomas Raker user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 15:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I just find it weird that his stuff is perceived as easy. It's not a million miles a minute, but some things he rips and he's so clean, I just don't see it as being particularly easy.


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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 16:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I realy like his solo from a kind of magic.


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ANAGRAMER user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 16:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Brian is an EXCELLENT rock guitarist
When he first came on the scene in the 70's, he blew everyone completely out of the water. It's just that his playing is so FAMILIAR these days that you forget what a unique talent the guy has!


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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 17:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This is so true. I was around when Queen first began to make their appearance on the radio, and, Brian's guitar sound was blowing people out of the water, back then.
In my opinion, Brian IS the best, given the factors already mentioned by others in this thread. I know others strongly disagree, but, this is my feeling. No one sounds like Brian.

ANAGRAMER wrote:

Brian is an EXCELLENT rock guitarist
When he first came on the scene in the 70's, he blew everyone completely out of the water. It's just that his playing is so FAMILIAR these days that you forget what a unique talent the guy has!



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The Real Wizard user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 18:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Playing notes is one thing. I'm sure there are tens of thousands of guitarists who can play the notes of every Queen song perfectly.

But then there's the feeling, and that's a whole other thing. Few guitarists play with feeling to the extent that he does. These guys on YouTube may play the notes, but most of them have zero feeling. Of course, the idea of feeling is relative to one's opinions and all that, but Brian is highly respected in the world of musicians as being one of the most emotive players in the history of rock.



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Boy Thomas Raker user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 21:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks all. Probably a poorly worded question, I should have asked if Brian's solos are easy to play and not complex. I find it hard, surprised so many people say they're easy. My favourite guitarist for doing so much with a single note, and a genius at orchestration.


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Posted: 22 Nov 07, 21:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Brian is, and will go down as an excellent guitarist. There are two ways to look at-as a song writer and/or as a soloist. Very few did both great. Pete Townsend was a great guitar song writer, but a very mediocre soloist. On the othe hand, someone like Hendrix or Page could do both very well. Also, don't get hung up on how many notes played quickly as neccesarily being a sign of ability. David Gilmour never did that, but he also never wasted a note because he had feeling and taste. Not eveything Bri did was brilliant, but most was very good and some was just plain great-ask other guitar players (pros-not You-Tube wanna-bes copying other peoples work).


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Posted: 23 Nov 07, 00:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

.....ASSDUDE...... wrote:

Sir GH<br><h6>ah yeah</h6> wrote:

Playing notes is one thing. I'm sure there are tens of thousands of guitarists who can play the notes of every Queen song perfectly.

But then there's the feeling, and that's a whole other thing. Few guitarists play with feeling to the extent that he does. These guys on YouTube may play the notes, but most of them have zero feeling. Of course, the idea of feeling is relative to one's opinions and all that, but Brian is highly respected in the world of musicians as being one of the most emotive players in the history of rock.


And would it be fair to say, its one thing to play something already outlaid for you, but to actualy create something is much more difficult


Exactly. That's what separates the men from the boys, really. You can play whatever you want, but it all comes down to your ability to connect with people through quality songwriting.



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Posted: 23 Nov 07, 00:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I am learning to play guitar myself and Brians solo's are not easy, as others have said it's not only the speed and technical ability he's got, it is definetley the emotion. Angus Young for example is an excellent guitarist, one of the best ever, and I am amazed at what he does. But even after watching him live and the way he does things, I still believe that Brian is better because in almost every song he makes the guitar talk, sounds weird I know but to me he really gets the best out of the guitar.

M.H


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Posted: 23 Nov 07, 10:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I find it interesting that most learned guitarists will immediately bring up 'feel' being an irreplaceable part of the playing.
The funny thing here is, if a guitar player is to impress their own feel on a song (or solo), then it will invariably be played somewhat differently to the original.
I used to learn Queen solos note for note, but I don't really bother anymore. I'm not in a tribute band, so it's not important.

I do love picking apart exactly what it is that makes Brian's playing unique. One thing I picked up on early on (and subconsciously adopted, meh....) is that rather than obviously playing in a scale, Brian more often than not picks his way through chords. A lot of fugal stuff (fuck, is that the right word??? Meh, someone bail me out here).
That, and I think he has a brilliant touch when it comes to bluesier stuff. He pretty much plays the same thing every time, but it's so awesome, I don't really care.

He's just one of those fellas that can make the guitar sound lyrical. That's where the real worth comes from. Solos you can hum or whistle, but still technically sound.


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Posted: 23 Nov 07, 11:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Brian is one of the best rock guitarist, period. He may not be one of the most technical, but when it comes to feel and sound, he's one of the best. It's the same way with Hendrix, he wasn't that technical, but he could make a guitar sing.

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Posted: 23 Nov 07, 16:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi!

Well, since I was mentioned specifically, perhaps my explanation can help?

I don't find Brian's solos at all easy to emulate. His phrasing and timing is unique and really a bear to match. I have never done it to my satisfaction on any of the songs I've covered. It's one of those diminishing returns things, though. I can get *most* of the way there with a certain degree of effort, but the last bit that makes his playing magic will always elude me. I'm not that gifted. I would never claim that I could 'easily' play most of Brian's solos. Even to get the mediocre level I've gotten on my covers requires more takes than I care to admit.

Most of his riffs and rhythms are easy, though, IMO. And it's a lot of fun to play his riffs. He is an excellent arranger, so you get some cool chord voicings and chord changes you don't normally hear in 'rock' music. It's Late is a perfect example. It rocks hard. And yet, it contains some very 'non-rock' chord progressions.

When I get to recording the solo, it won't sound like the original, because I won't be able to capture that feel.

Hope that helps.

Aric


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Posted: 23 Nov 07, 16:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Was??? He dead? :o


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Posted: 24 Nov 07, 17:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I am very much interested in guitar music and I can look at this subject from different points of view, I would like to say that you are all right about what you are saying about Brian, he is excellent not only in terms of his talent (as a writer) but also he has got his own style, his own sound and he IS an accomplished player.

When I was about 7 years old and started to listen to Queen just after Freddie died there were two things that made me addicted to the music - Freddie's voice and Brian's guitar, and how these coexisted in those beautiful harmonies.

Brian is very skilled though you cannot hear it directly on the albums. Maybe in the solo from "The invisible man" where he's running down a scale chromatically. BUT you can hear him shred in "Was it all worth it" during that monumental, orchestrated part, again, a chromatic run, almost imperceptible, so use headphones, most of all it's difficult due to the timing.

Another example, "Chinese torture", where he 'sweeps' or 'rakes'across the strings, he plays very clean arpeggios up and down, very difficult for beginners (listen to Jason Becker's 'Serrana' or 'Altitudes')

But Brian is very innovative too, take the song 'Jazz' for example, I may be wrong as to that one but he uses one-hand tapping technique in one of the passages in that song, to say more - he produces that characteristic harsh sound by raking the pick, I mean the coin along the bass strings, he uses tapping technique in 'Sheer heart attack' too, was it '77? then imagine that Van Halen used that technique in his 'Eruption' only in '78, but in a much more developed and mind blowing way, which doesn't mean it's difficult to play, the picking part is much more difficult;

So, Brian never tried to show off and we will never get to know how skilled he is, but you should take into consideration that he plays his fast solos with a coin, which for me - a devouted shredder is quite impossible, I use a plastic pick

And for those who think they are not good at guitar, I have to tell you that technique is a matter of practice and time, I used to think that I'd never be able to shred but I can shred right now, and I have never been practising with a metronome, which is essential to develope speed, so the truth is it is possible for everyone

Of course there are those great guitar players that are unsurpassed, to name just few:

Joey Tafolla (check out his track 'Out of the sun')

Paul Gilbert ('Technical difficulties',and many more)

Jason Becker (a genius)
Marty Friedman ('Dragon's kiss' album)
Tony Macalpine in the 80's

and my favourite guitarist

Kee Marcello from Europe (listen to 'out of this world' and 'prisoners in paradise' albums - you will not believe in what you'll hear






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Posted: 24 Nov 07, 18:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great post. Thanks for those recommendations... I haven't heard all of those guys, so I'll definitely have to check them out.



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bobo the chimp user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 25 Nov 07, 06:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Paul Gilbert ('Technical difficulties',and many more)"

By far, not his best work. His playing itself can't be faulted, but I cannot get over the bit where a good chunk of the song paraphrases Comfortably Numb.


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller