Queen’s Brian May and His Homemade Guitar

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.

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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. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn

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