Brian May on the Strange Origins Of Iconic Guitar Riffs

Brian May and the Mystery of Guitar Creativity

From MusicRadar.com, Brian May shared some tips for guitarists. The tips were interesting, but I love how readily he admitted that even he doesn’t know where many of the best guitar riffs come from:

Somewhat reassuringly for those of us still grappling with the art of writing earworm riffs, May suggests that there is no secret formula that he is hoarding when it comes to creating the kind of magic that he has made a living from since Queen’s inception.
“I don’t know where [the Roll With You riff] came from,” he says. “I don’t know where my riffs come from. I was looking for something that I could play interactively with Kerry.

It’s also nice to see that Brian doesn’t even think too hard about always making tonal adjustments by buying new gear (something that keeps many guitarists away from being happier people, IMHO)

“With gear, I am the same as I always was,” he says. “I haven’t changed that much in 40 years, really. I had an AC30 and a treble booster and my own guitar that I made with my dad. That is my sound most of the time.
“I don’t really like to use many effects. I use delay for certain things, but mostly on this album I don’t think there is any trickery at all. I just like to go in and play.”

I love how he makes the point that the guitar is a voice, just like the human voice. Coming from Brian May, the guitarist who spent years working and performing with Freddie Mercury, this is just awesome:

“Guitar can do lots of stuff: it can make the nice background, it can make a nice rhythm bed for things to lie on. But, the guitar of the last 50 years or so, post-Hendrix, is a voice which demands to be heard in the same way that a human voice demands to be heard.”

Read the full interview here.