The Real Reason Why Queen Guitarist Brian May Uses Banjo Strings On His Electric Guitars

Who doesn’t knows Queen band? The band existed for almost 5 decades and sold 170 million to 300 million records, making them one of the best selling bands of all time.

Queen comprised of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor & John Beacon. All of them were legends in their field. But, today we’re here to talk about, Brian May, the guitarist & songwriter.

In 2012, May was voted 2nd best guitarist of all time by Guitar World magazine. May started his career with s band called Smile, which he formed just after college. He stayed with the band from 1968 to 1970, until finally joining Queen in 1970.

With Queen, Brian got immensely popular & successful. Along with this, the guitarist was also famous for his eqipments and guitars of course.

In a interview with Rick Beato, the guitarist revealed about using banjo strings on electric guitars. He explained, “We didn’t have.008-gauge sets, the Fender and Gibson sets were all 010s or .011s or whatever, and that’s what I started off with“.

But then, he heard of a store in Cambridge Circus, where he could get banjo string fixed on his guitar. He said, “And that was the key to everything!”.

Suddenly, he could move all your strings over and start to bend strings. “That was the most fantastic thing that happened to us as kids”, he further added.

May also said that the extra flexibility in bending the strings afforded by the lighter gauges meant that he could imitate bends of James Burton on the solo to Hello Mary Lou, Ricky Nelson’s classic track.

Brian May was also famous for his Red Special guitar, which he built with his father when he was sixteen. The guitar served as his primary guitar for his beginnig years.

In addition to his homemade guitar, May was famous for using coins intead of plastic plectrum, as it gave him more control in playing.