Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Electric Guitars - The Ultimate List (so to speak)

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Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 28 Nov 09, 13:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's about time to make this one. Some general points:

* While the doctor played most of his electric bits using his homemade Old Lady, there were several occasional exceptions to the rule. Reasons varied from peer pressure (e.g. Crazy) to number of strings (e.g. Long Away) to having his Red Special at another location (e.g. Flash's reprise after The Hero) to trying out different sounds (e.g. Mother Love).

* Of course, whenever one of the other three (or a guest) played electric guitar, they used something else.

So, year by year, these are the guitars the Queen members owned and/or used during the Queen era:

1970-1971: According to Barry Mitchell, Brian didn't have a back-up at the time. Freddie, according to 'As It Began', had a Telecaster; John surely had an electric guitar since that's what he built the Deacy amp for. Later on his choice would be Tele as well, but there's nothing to suggest or deny that it was that way back in the early days.

1972: Brian said in one of his first interviews that he'd only used the Red Special to record the debut album.

1973: By the time of KYA and Liar videos he'd already got a Pre-CBS Stratocaster. It IS possible that he tried it out for 'Queen II', but there are no further details about it.

1974: Brian'd acquired a Les Paul which, again, he may or may not have used in the record. John played electric for the first time (Misfire), but there's no accounting on his gear, except that he used his own amplifier.

1975: On 27th September, Fred announced Brian acquiring a new guitar 'especially made', and sort of implied it'd been (or was going to be) used on the record. I assume he was talking about the Birch replica. There are also some pix of Brian playing a Burns Bison during those days. Even if he did record with the Birch and the Bison, there's nothing to confirm or deny those things made it to the final cut. According to GB, there's an I'm in Love With My Car demo with guitar from Rog, no idea about what he used if that's the case.

1976: Burns Double-Six on Long Away, and perhaps nothing else. Roger had a Strat at the time (I Wanna Testify) and maybe he used the same for Drowse, maybe he didn't.

1977: No new acquisitions, apparently.

1978: There's a Kramer in the inner sleeve, apparently belonging to Roger (he probably used it for Fun It and/or More of That Jazz, or both, or neither), as well as a Strat. John, reportedly, also played rhythm, he probably used something not included in the photo, or the Strat (which fits the sound).

1979: Brian used Rog's ancient Broadcaster for Crazy, and then bought a black Tele for the song on stage.

1980: John played guitar on AOBtD, which could've been a Tele (judging by the sound). In fact, a list the road crew sent to the Fan Club mag that year mentioned a Telecaster amongst John's equipment for the North American tour. Since he didn't play guitar during the concerts, it was probably just for practising. Brian used some 'random' guitar and amp for the Flash reprise solo at the end of the OST. Satellite Strat for PTG video but not recordings.

1981: That's the year when John's famous black-gold Telecaster (CE 10484) was made, and possibly he got it at the same time as the Fender Precision Special, given to him by people at the Fender factory in LA. Some time between 'Jazz' and 'Hot Space', Roger started to favour Schecter guitars instead of Kramer. Brian used the Double-Six again for Under Pressure and there are some pix of John playing a Strat around those days.

1982: Brian got the Gibson Flying V and had it as back-up for (the rest of) 'Hot Space' tour plus 'The Works'. Maybe he also used it in the studio, maybe he didn't.

1983: During 'The Works' sessions in LA, the Dr borrowed Ben Fenner's Gibson Firebird and used it for (at least) Tear It Up and Hammer to Fall. The Gibson Chet-Atkins is technically electric even if it looks and sounds like an acoustic guitar. Freddie's Tele that he'd use on stage for 'Works' and 'Magic' tours was made in 1983, maybe he also got it then (being so close to the Fender factory).

1984: Brian got the Guild replica for the Montreux thing, but on tour he kept bringing the Flying V as spare.

1985: Live Aid is AFAIK the first concert where Brian had the Guild as back-up. I seem to remember a Strat at Musicland Studios during the OV sessions. It wasn't used for that song but maybe for another one, or maybe it was never required. It's probably John's.

1986-1991: Very little (if anything) has been documented about other guitars used in this period. There's a pic of Rog playing a Tele... but that could've been for The Cross.

1992: Brian uses a Godin in the Tribute, but there's nothing to suggest he used it on the record.

1993: That year the Parker Fly was first built. So Brian must have used it in the 1993-1995 period for Mother Love. Since he used Guild for BTTL tour and Fryer for AW (record + tour), it's possible that he also employed them during MIH sessions. Though neither Rog nor John are credited as guitarists, they may have played some. If so, there's nothing documented about their gear.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 28 Nov 09, 14:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Fantastic thread, thanks Seb. Good education.


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Posted: 28 Nov 09, 15:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"1983: During 'The Works' sessions in LA, the Dr borrowed Ben Fenner's Gibson Firebird and used it for (at least) Tear It Up and Hammer to Fall".

- Interesting. Where the hell did you find out about this? It's a (very belated) answer of sorts to a question I posed here years ago: http://www.queenzone.com/forum/417344/the-curious-incident-of-the-bens-guitar-in-the-works-.aspx

As you can see, I theorised then that the guitar belonging to Ben was the one on MOTP, but it seems you have info that that's not the case. Can you elaborate and substantiate?

Furthermore, what are your thoughts on which guitar is on MOTP? I'd be very surprised if you're still open to the idea that it's the Red Special.

And who the hell is Ben Fenner anyway?....



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Posted: 28 Nov 09, 15:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Engineer?

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Posted: 28 Nov 09, 23:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote


http://queenforum.parlophone.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=50486&p=1809485&hilit=ben+fenner#p1809485

Now, I see my obvious mistake: it was Munich, not LA.

And of course you were right: there's no way the one on Prowl is the RS.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 29 Nov 09, 12:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Didn't Roger often use a Schecter electric guitar, and did so for a long time?  I certainly saw him use it live with The Cross, and there is a pic in a fan club magazine from 1990 ish showing him sitting with one across his lap in th studio with Freddie during the Innuendo sessions.  Can't recall without watching it, but he may have been using this black Shecter on the Montreux footage with The Cross on Manipulator and Heaven For Everyone.

It's very possible that he used this on some of the Queen guitar tracks he recorded like Fight From The Inside etc..??

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Posted: 29 Nov 09, 16:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Brian May played Roger Taylor's original Fender Broadcaster in the Back Chat video. Of course that does not mean he played it on the record.


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Posted: 03 Dec 09, 07:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Do we know if John or Roger played the Red Special on any tracks that they played guitar on?  It is possible, if the guitar was set up in the studio without Brian around and they wanted that particular sound for the rhtyhm guitar part?  (On the flip side, it could alternatively be that there is no chance of this because it was deemed that only Brian would play his guitar?)

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Posted: 03 Dec 09, 08:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I can't see any point in any of them playing the red special other than Brian, if they wanted that tone they would have got him to play it, I doubt it was in the studio much without him other than over night.

I would imagine if say Roger wanted a guitar part done he would specifically not want it to be the RS sound.

I am sure they all have played it at some point for just mucking about, but I doubt it's on record anywhere with anyone else other than Brian at the helm


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Posted: 03 Dec 09, 09:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

> Didn't Roger often use a Schecter electric guitar, and did so for a long time?  I certainly saw him use it live with The Cross, and there is a pic in a fan club magazine from 1990 ish showing him sitting with one across his lap in th studio with Freddie during the Innuendo sessions.

Yes, but I think I already listed the Schecter. AFAIK, he got it after 'Jazz' and before or during 'Fun in Space'.

> It's very possible that he used this on some of the Queen guitar tracks he recorded like Fight From The Inside etc..??

More likely he used it for Action and/or Calling All Girls.

> Brian May played Roger Taylor's original Fender Broadcaster in the Back Chat video. Of course that does not mean he played it on the record.

And indeed he didn't. Interestingly enough, it was Roger who got the Chet-Atkins for Dr May back in '83-'84 (and that's the one Steve Howe would use for Innuendo).

> Do we know if John or Roger played the Red Special on any tracks that they played guitar on?

Theoretically, it could happen (same with Fred, who reportedly played on more than just Crazy). According to what Peter Hince told Deaky.com some years ago, Brian wasn't as protective of his RS as one would imagine. I mean, he had no problem about the crew looking after it, so I don't see why it'd be a problem to loan it to one of his bandmates and friends for an hour or two.

Misfire has all guitars by John except the antiphonies at the end. When I first learnt that, I was quite surprised since they sounded too RS-esque (except for the solo). But I suppose you can get that same sound (as the one on Misfire) by using an overdriven Strat. And, as the track confirms, the Deacy amp has A LOT to do with the choir sound.

> It is possible, if the guitar was set up in the studio without Brian around and they wanted that particular sound for the rhtyhm guitar part?

Theoretically it may have happened, but there are no details about it. It's much more possible for it to have appeared on Roger's solo albums or The Cross, IF that's the case at all.

> (On the flip side, it could alternatively be that there is no chance of this because it was deemed that only Brian would play his guitar?)

Actually, the reason why Bri used a different guitar for the Flash's Theme reprise at the end of The Hero track, is that his RS was in Munich and he was in London. Which means he did allow other people to take care of it. They're not conjoined.

> I can't see any point in any of them playing the red special other than Brian, if they wanted that tone they would have got him to play it

Theoretically, they could have wanted that tone but a different playing style.

> I would imagine if say Roger wanted a guitar part done he would specifically not want it to be the RS sound.

There's nothing to confirm or deny that.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 16 Jan 10, 15:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Bumped it.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 17 Jan 10, 08:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote


The Guild was used on the '84 Works tour, my mate has some photos from one of the Wembley shows showing Brian with it.

And has nobody seen Rio? Brian is clearly seen using the Guild during NIH. Also Dragon Attack on the boot if I remember correctly.

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Posted: 17 Jan 10, 11:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Brian used a Joe Satriani Ibanez on 'Nothing But Blue'.

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Posted: 17 Jan 10, 14:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Good point about the Guild. I suppose Brian carried both that and the V just in case, as he did in other tours (e.g. in 1976 he had two spares: Birch and Les Paul).

Nothin' But Blue: Yes, but it's not a Queen song (though it does have two Queen members, just like TCR).



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 17 Jan 10, 14:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

Nothin' But Blue: Yes, but it's not a Queen song (though it does have two Queen members, just like TCR).

Along with She Was A Wicked, Wily Waitress, How Can I Go On, Heaven for Everyone (The Cross version).

On an almost related point Sebastian, can you confirm if Roger sings any vocals on Brian's Starfleet? Brian credits him on the sleevenotes along the lines of 'thanks to Roger for invaluable help on the harmonies', but I don't know if Rog actually sings any of the parts or whether he just helped him work them out?  I know Brian is famously great at working out parts, so I'm guessing that it is probable that Brian worked them out but needed Roger to actually sing some of the higher parts.

Cheers






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Posted: 17 Jan 10, 15:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Roger sings the higher harmonyn in the Stafleet chorus. It's a high note but nothing Brian couldn't hit by himself - maybe he just wanted that kind of sound. The sound of their voices combined is great (e.g. Son and Daughter). Maybe that's another 'ultimate list' I should do: bits sung by Fred only, by Rog only, by Bri only, by Fred+Bri, Fred+Rog, Bri+Rog.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 29 May 10, 08:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Bumped.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 29 May 10, 14:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian wrote: Roger sings the higher harmonyn in the Stafleet chorus. It's a high note but nothing Brian couldn't hit by himself - maybe he just wanted that kind of sound. The sound of their voices combined is great (e.g. Son and Daughter). Maybe that's another 'ultimate list' I should do: bits sung by Fred only, by Rog only, by Bri only, by Fred+Bri, Fred+Rog, Bri+Rog.
That would be great - I'd love to see a breakdown of the less obvious parts (I listened to Play The Game actually today in 5.1 and was stumped as to which was brian and which was Roger on a couple of parts!)

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Posted: 29 May 10, 23:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think I'll add that when I put the solo stuff on my website. I hope it's soon, I'm already beginning to research.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 30 May 10, 06:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

if only i can go back in time and rip the parker fly from brian's hands, possible to even slap him and say "pick real guitars" ......