Music
Queen’s Brian May and His Homemade Guitar

Reader Seven Sexton sent us a link to this awesome 1992 video of Queen’s Brian May talking about “The Fireplace,” his famous electric guitar that he and his dad built from scrap bits such as a mantle from a 100-year old fireplace (hence the name), a chunk of a table, a spring from a motorcycle, and a piece from his mother’s knitting needle.

Amazingly, this is not some fragile relic he keeps in the closet, but a working guitar, one you’ve heard on many Queen songs. His family was poor and his dad built most of their home electronics, including their television and radio. Wonderful, inspiring little piece. I love the opening quote from him:

I’m still a kid. Basically, I LOVE the sound of the guitar. I love making it. I love standing there and making that noise.

2017 Update: Here is a longer 2014 video of Brian explaining The Fireplace build, on the occasion of the release of his book about the guitar, Brian May’s Red Special.

4 thoughts on “Queen’s Brian May and His Homemade Guitar

  1. He went back and completed his Ph.D. thesis in astrophysics on October 2007 which he didn’t complete when Queen hit it big. Then on 17 November 2007, Brian May was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, taking over from Cherie Blair, and installed in 2008.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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