Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Where are the Red Special guitarists???

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AmeriQueen user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 29 Aug 06, 15:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I am starting to practice guitar again, hoping to one day be able to play a ton of Brian's songs and maybe even create sounds of my own. I have the Red Special set up and it sounds very accurate to the real thing.

This got me thinking. How is it that today, with all the Brian equipment out there, that only Brian himself plus a few guitarists that play in Queen cover bands are the only people you hear that play music with the Red Special sound?? Wouldn't you think that by now some new band would show up in the public eye with a guitarist who plays with a Brian style setup? Two bands that I really don't like, the Darkness and the Foo Fighters claim to be obsessed with Queen, labeling Queen as their favorite band. Why is that their guitarists don't play a Red Special guitar, like a Greg Fryer or Guyton guitar replica? Why is there noone else following Brian's footsteps? You can't say it's out of trying to be original, because what could possibly be original in playing the massively common Fender Strats and Gibson Les Pauls?

It's time for some band out there to commit to original guitar music, but with Brian's custom tones. It's time for someone to step up. If I had the talent to make it as a guitarist in a new band, I would be the first to copy his tone for my own music.

Fireplace user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 29 Aug 06, 16:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Good question, but I think many guitarists don't want to be accused of being a copycat, even if they play their own original music. I myself have no such reservations however!

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Posted: 29 Aug 06, 17:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I was thinking this would be a simple one to answer. But now I think about the strats and les paul guitars thing, I realise you have a point, to an extent. However, I could also say that because Brian is the only person with a very specific sound, it makes it harder for any band out there to want to latch onto the equipment that makes his sound possible.

Peace,
Adam.

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Posted: 29 Aug 06, 19:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Bottom line is, I think many guitarists don't realise how versatile the Red Special actually is.
I use it all time on studio recordings, and it's only when I do the little harmony thingies that people start noticing it sounds like Brian May.

SilverShoes user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 29 Aug 06, 23:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think it comes down to the fact that guitarists are generally very picky in terms of what they like to play. You'll have guys who only like Les Pauls, or only like Strats, or whatever. So a lot of guys just go with what their comfortable with.

And as someone else pointed out, a lot of guitarists are probably concerned they'll be labeled a "Brian clone". I mean, it doesn't matter that you're using tones that are maybe different than what Brian used, or playing in a totally different style than Brian. A lot of players probably think people'll see him/her playing a copy of the most immediately identifiable guitars in the world and form an opinion without actually LISTENING to the music (and believe me, this actually DOES happen a lot).




"Compromise? That word is not in our vocabulary"-Roger Taylor, quoting Freddie Mercury
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Posted: 30 Aug 06, 04:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My oppinion is, that Red Special is too perosnal - it's too much Brian, for me to want to play in public, unless I was playing Queen-songs.
I wouldn't like to create my own music with such a personal and unique thing, as Red Speical - even though it'd be a replica.

Though, I would like to make adjustments on a Startocaster or a Telecaster, to make a new sound, or at least a more personal one.


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bobo the chimp user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 30 Aug 06, 07:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'd love to use it in a studio environment. It's definitely going to be my backup guitar once I spruce up the ol' Strat a bit.

To be really honest... I don't see using it as being a ripoff. It's like this - to get the tones I'm after, I can play on my Burns, or I'll have to build myself a guitar with similar wiring that doesn't look like a Red Special. In which case it'll probably look like a Fender since that's what I'm comfortable with.. so now I'm ripping off old Leo Fender.

'scuse me while I don't give a rats - if you're playing new music on it, it's not really ripping him off. And if you're doing covers, well thats a different kettle of fish.

The thing about the Red Special, or any guitar, is that it's not automatically an aural clone of his sound. It does actually take work to get it to sound like "Queen". People don't seem to understand that signature products like these are also pretty fun to experiment with and create *new* sounds.
I reckon we'd be actually crippling creativity if we automatically saw anyone using a Red Special as a rip-off.


"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
Adam Baboolal user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 30 Aug 06, 08:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nice comments as always Zeb. Yes, I've just got my Valvetronix AD50VT Vox working with my Brian guitar and VBM1 booster portion. It gets that Brian sound pretty close. But before the amp and the booster, it's not the familiar sound you'd think of. I already had a vox amp, but it would only bring the cleaner sounds close, not the overdriven portion. Not even with the VBM1 did it work straight off. I had to incorporate other devices to bring it out.

Great amp, btw!

So, While some will recognise it and think you're trying to be Brian. There are more intelligent folk that won't care.
And remember, if looks are a concern, get a different colour!

I think it would be nice to see people adopt the guitar more readily. But then I think of that very personal sound that Brian has made. Wouldn't it be strange to see and hear it with someone else?

Peace,
Adam.

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Posted: 30 Aug 06, 10:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Interesting thoughts. I got a red Guild in '87, it was stolen, then replaced with a different colour, and at first I was gutted. However, from a looks POV, it's a totally original guitar and no one thinks you're trying to be a Brian May clone, plus it has the BHM monogrammed pickups so in the long run I'm happier with it.


You know, good times are now.
bobo the chimp user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 30 Aug 06, 13:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

See, if you're lucky you'll generally run into fairly open minded people when you're playing. A lot of the folks who've seen my Red Special have been pretty receptive to the idea of it playing something that isn't Queen... naturally, there's that half hour where they sit there and tell me to play 'that song' and then 'this song' (half the damn Queen catalogue sometimes) but I find just as often that they're open to new stuff (or, old stuff that isn't Queen).

I find it far too intriguing an instrument not to contemplate a bit of experimentation. Besides, with even the 'cheaper' Red Specials - you don't blow that kind of money on a guitar and keep it in the closet :P


"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
Phill the Thrill user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 30 Aug 06, 14:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i agree with the thought that, because it is such a distictive looking guitar, that everyone would recognize as "the brian may"
guitarist dont want to use somthing that SO obviosuly belongs to someone else....

its like the paul mcartney bass, you dont see them around too much...to distictive and "copy-cat-ish"

who know maybe in the future when (god forbid) brian may dies and has been gone for a long time. we may see more people using the red special

"why imitate what we still have the original off?"


Queen+PR Vancouver 13/04/06 anyone? Please FIND and SHARE it!
Boy Thomas Raker user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 30 Aug 06, 14:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's also funny, that after Hendrix came on the scene, you had a ton of Hendrix imitators. Same thing for Clapton, Van Halen and The Edge. Tons of players who've incorporated their styles, yet no one has ever really imitated Brian's sound. I think his sound, and layered style is just unique to him, and while tons of guitarists started tapping and we had a few years of EVH clones, I think somone would sound ridiculous playing like Brian.

Back on topic, the Guild at least is an incredibly versatile guitar, and mercifully I'm not good enough to play anything like Brian so no one ever asks if I'm trying to copy him.


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SilverShoes user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 30 Aug 06, 19:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Phill the Thrill wrote:

i agree with the thought that, because it is such a distictive looking guitar, that everyone would recognize as "the brian may"
guitarist dont want to use somthing that SO obviosuly belongs to someone else....

its like the paul mcartney bass, you dont see them around too much...to distictive and "copy-cat-ish"


Interesting analogy. Indeed, when you DO see people playing the Hofner "violin" bass, it's a deliberte attempt to invoke the Beatles vibe.


"Compromise? That word is not in our vocabulary"-Roger Taylor, quoting Freddie Mercury
AmeriQueen user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 02 Sep 06, 04:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I guess my point is that:

If I am a guitarist, in a band, trying to make my mark, I would find following Brian's sound to be no less original than being another one of a million Strat/Les Paul/etc guitarists.

bobo the chimp user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 02 Sep 06, 13:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yeah.

I'd like it to be up there with the Strat and the Les Paul in that; these guitars (and their makers) changed guitar playing, but they didn't just change it by being the instruments of famous people. The Red Special (played by Brian that is) has probably had a bigger (perhaps subtle?) impact than most people realise, but it's a shame that not as many people are willing (or able, due to unavailability) to experiment with it.


"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
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Posted: 02 Sep 06, 18:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

AmeriQueen wrote:

I am starting to practice guitar again, hoping to one day be able to play a ton of Brian's songs and maybe even create sounds of my own. I have the Red Special set up and it sounds very accurate to the real thing.

This got me thinking. How is it that today, with all the Brian equipment out there, that only Brian himself plus a few guitarists that play in Queen cover bands are the only people you hear that play music with the Red Special sound?? Wouldn't you think that by now some new band would show up in the public eye with a guitarist who plays with a Brian style setup? Two bands that I really don't like, the Darkness and the Foo Fighters claim to be obsessed with Queen, labeling Queen as their favorite band. Why is that their guitarists don't play a Red Special guitar, like a Greg Fryer or Guyton guitar replica? Why is there noone else following Brian's footsteps? You can't say it's out of trying to be original, because what could possibly be original in playing the massively common Fender Strats and Gibson Les Pauls?

It's time for some band out there to commit to original guitar music, but with Brian's custom tones. It's time for someone to step up. If I had the talent to make it as a guitarist in a new band, I would be the first to copy his tone for my own music.


Actually I think the Foo Fighters labelled Led Zeppelin as their favorite band.