Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A silver sixpence...


Brian May from 'Queen' is one of my favourite guitarists.

I always liked the solo from 'Killer Queen', back in the seventies, and indeed, since then, he has made some astonishing riffs, including one standing on the parapet of Buckingham Palace!

It's common knowledge that his guitar of choice is one he and his dad made some years ago - the 'Red Devil'. It is a unique instrument, and his plectrum of choice is an old sixpence. I know there are many good guitarists who grace these columns, Thud, Elecs to name but seven of them, and they will probably know what I mean when a guitar string is plucked, and the thumb or forefinger just touches the string at the same time, an amazing sound can be produced. It's almost impossible to do it twice, which may mean that a slightly different version happens if the technique is tried a second or third time, but these repeat notes create a huge vocabulary of rich guitar sounds.

So Brian, today is your seventieth birthday, and by coincidence, it is also mine, so Happy Birthday!

7 comments:

rvi said...


Happy birthday mate and thanks for keeping all 7 of us happily amused for the past (however many) years. Trust you have something special planned for dinner tonight.

Somewhere in the attic or cellar I have a small leather purse which contains a complete set of one of every then current coins all dated 1964. Probably not worth much these days but something to pass on to my grandchild(ren) - (when my lazy sprog gets round to it!!).

Never tried plucking with a tanner, but I confess I have used one of those plastic ring pulls you find these days in a carton of milk. The loop on it goes nicely on a finger while the sharp end makes a decent sound on the strings. En passant, my good lady, whose main hobby is sewing things, uses one of these ring pulls as a thimble which, she claims, is just as effective as the real thing.

Thud said...

I'm sure you and the family will enjoy today...congrats!

Thud said...

I forgot to add that Billy Gibbons of zz top is my fav playing that way....chickin Pickin! (pinch harmonics).

A K Haart said...

A belated happy birthday.

Michael said...

Hi Reevers,

Thank you so much!

I'm not sure I realised that you played the guitar, so my apols!

I've still got a few old sixpences dotted around, and will probably give them to a daught as she makes retro jewellry, and they're great for cufflinks! (That's when you wear a shirt I think...!

Michael said...

Thud, we had a great party in the pub, which roped us off in a corner!

Thanks for your good wishes!

I'm just going to Youtube Billy Gibbons!

BTW, when I had my first acoustic guitar, I sometimes used to hang a lid from a big blue Sellotape tin over the hole, with just a shred of Sellotape. It closed the hole very loosely and also vibrated in a peculiar way, which made a huge sound which I just loved!

Also sometimes played with a blunt razor blade, and that was 'interesting'...

Michael said...

Thank you Mr H!

Phase two is tomorrow at daught's house, so pandemonium will continue no doubt!