Just how good ìs Brian May?

Good Company - The Life Of Brian
Kes
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by Kes »

I once worked with a guy who was pretty good on a guitar, and his opinion of Brian was that prior to his pulling out of that US tour with hepatitus and then a duodenal ulcer, he was an incredibly technically gifted guitarist, and that having the illness made him change his approach, and sheer speed was replaced, out of neccessity, with a greater ability to just choose the right notes at the right time.

That was his opinion, anyway

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WeeMann
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by WeeMann »

On a technical level, Brian doesn't really rate himself and, to a point, I'd agree. When you compare him with people like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather, EVH, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc, he's clearly not in the same league, although he is no slouch.

Where he really is great is his feel, his creativity and his general attitude on the instrument.

Oh, and that tone.

The tone is partly created by the guitar and amp set up (I've seen people emulate it relatively successfully, as per my previous post), but so much is in his fingers, as anyone who plays guitar will tell you. If you don't have the technique, no amount of gear will help you sound good, let alone great. As Ray said on the last page, Vai tried the guitar and sounded like Vai - he's not the only person I've seen quoted like this.

His creativity though... He doesn't advertise it, but his musical knowledge, his knowledge regarding harmony particularly, is brilliant. You don't create the kind of soundscapes that he does by accident. There is the argument that McCartney and Lennon didn't really know what they were doing on a technical level a lot of the time, just following their ears and instincts and using George Martin to tell them what they were creating and build on their genius (again, taking nothing away from them), but Brian has that knowledge and it shows. The way he'll take a theoretical idea then create a piece of music around that idea is something that most people wouldn't even think of - the ever ascending stairway on ADATR and the chord sequence to to Show Must Go On, for example.

Going back to Vai, a couple of my favourite quotes came out of the Guitar Legends concert in Seville. Brian said he was in awe of Vai, feeling unworthy of sharing a stage with him (I'm paraphrasing here!). Vai's attitude to being on stage with Brian? Exactly the same. And I don't get the idea that either are being falsely modest. I think they are both aware of their weaknesses on the guitar and can see that the other is better in certain areas.

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Leigh Burne
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by Leigh Burne »

Personally, I've always rated feel as being exponentially more important than technical prowess.

You can play a million notes a minute and still produce a shit solo. Gilmour is hardly known for shredding but most people would agree he's one of the finest guitarists ever to have lived.

Cyborg
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by Cyborg »

Kes wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:57 am
I once worked with a guy who was pretty good on a guitar, and his opinion of Brian was that prior to his pulling out of that US tour with hepatitus and then a duodenal ulcer, he was an incredibly technically gifted guitarist, and that having the illness made him change his approach, and sheer speed was replaced, out of neccessity, with a greater ability to just choose the right notes at the right time.

That was his opinion, anyway
I think Brian himself said more or less the same in an interview.

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runner70
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by runner70 »

Brian is one of a handful of guitar players that are totally recognizable on any song they play on. Are there technically better players than him? Of course - Vai, Satriani, Eddie Van Halen will play circles around him and are way faster players and shredders. But you surely recognize May after the first chord he is playing. And you do not find too many guitarists these days like that. Surely one can copy him note for note - still it does not sound like him 100% - he has that extra ingredient that s for sure.

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runner70
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by runner70 »

Leigh Burne wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:33 pm
Personally, I've always rated feel as being exponentially more important than technical prowess.

You can play a million notes a minute and still produce a shit solo. Gilmour is hardly known for shredding but most people would agree he's one of the finest guitarists ever to have lived.
Excactly- Playing a million notes a minute does not make you a great player.

Kes
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by Kes »

Here you go. A nice page with two Brian May video interviews on it. Well worth a read, and a watch. Courtesy of Guitar Interactive Magazine.

https://www.guitarinteractivemagazine.c ... r-quality/

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WeeMann
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by WeeMann »

runner70 wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 7:02 pm
Leigh Burne wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:33 pm
Personally, I've always rated feel as being exponentially more important than technical prowess.

You can play a million notes a minute and still produce a shit solo. Gilmour is hardly known for shredding but most people would agree he's one of the finest guitarists ever to have lived.
Excactly- Playing a million notes a minute does not make you a great player.
Whilst I agree, the two are not mutually exclusive either.

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Leigh Burne
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by Leigh Burne »

WeeMann wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 1:44 pm
Whilst I agree, the two are not mutually exclusive either.
Oh I absolutely agree. Gary Moore's one of my musical heroes, and he was an absolutely ferocious player when he felt like it. But it still had feeling to it. Some people seem to think pure speed is the be-all and end-all.

Kes
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Re: Just how good ìs Brian May?

Post by Kes »

I'll post some of Brian's videos

First Star Fleet


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