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
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 Hot Space. Fred's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Wales is not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.