Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


The Guitar That Rocked Queen and the World

Brian May’s Red Special tells the story of how Brian May and his father, Harold,  hand-built an electric guitar in 1963. Brian dreamed of a guitar that would outperform any of the existing commercially made electric guitar at the time, and his father had the technical knowledge and skills to help make that dream come true. Brian played his guitar on every Queen album and in all of Queen’s live shows around the world.

“My dad and I decided to make an electric guitar. I designed an instrument from scratch, with the intention that it would have a capability beyond anything that was out there, more tunable, with a greater range of pitches and sounds, with a better tremolo, and with a capability of feeding back through the air in a ‘good’ way.”

In Brian May’s Red Special, readers will discover everything they ever wished to know about Brian’s unique instrument. Brian talks about every aspect of the Red Special, from its birth to playing on the roof of Buckingham Palace, from Live Aid to the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics – and beyond. All of this is accompanied with original diagrams, sketches and notes dating from the building of the guitar, as well as a great selection of photographs including Brian on stage with his guitar, close-ups and x-rays.

“There is more to the Red Special than the technical aspects, though; there’s the human side, too. The guitar represents a link to a part of Brian he’s kept private up to now: the home life of his earliest years, his relationship with his parents, specifically that with his father, and how that all dovetailed into the very genesis of Queen – and the birth of That Guitar”, says Simon Bradley who wrote the book with Brian May.

Brian May’s Red Special includes rare and previously unseen photographs of the Red Special, Brian, his father, and Queen, as well as pictures of every piece of the fully dismantled guitar. This book is an must-read for any guitar player, classic rock enthusiast, or Queen fan. 

Brian May’s Red Special

$30.00 (US)

Inventory #HL 00119108

ISBN: 9781480341470

Width: 8.75″

Length: 11.25″

144 pages

For more information, please visit

– Hal Leonard Books, An Imprint of Hal Leonard –