Brian May Says He’ll Never Play His Guitar Solo On ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Live Without A Pick


Queen guitarist Brian May gave an interview to Guitar Player in which he admitted he would never play ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s solo live on stage without a pick.

As you may know, Queen released their fourth studio album, ‘A Night At The Opera’ on November 21, 1975. With this release, the band achieved international commercial success, and the album featured the classic hit ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ which appealed to a mainstream audience and achieved chart success worldwide.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was written by Freddie Mercury as a six-minute suite. Since its release, the song has remained Queen’s most famous hit and is considered among the greatest rock songs. Written and composed by Brian May, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s guitar solo is also regarded as one of the most influential guitar solos of all time.

During a conversation about the solo of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ Guitar Player asked Brian May whether his use of picks affected the tone of the solo. As a response, May said the pick has little to do with the solo’s incisive tone. He then revealed he has started using the pick less these days.

Following that, the guitarist said he believes that he gets more expression while using his fingers, but he will never do that live on stage. According to May, this is because people want to hear songs the way they were on the album. Moreover, he revealed that he actually plays the solo differently each time based on how he feels at that moment.

Guitar Player asked Brian May the following:

“There’s something about the tone of that solo. Maybe the way you pick, or the metal picks you use?”

Brian May then responded:

“The pick has a little bit to do with it, definitely. It all adds up to that incisive tone. These days I’m using the pick less and less, and I find that I can get all of that range of sound using my fingers. It’s odd. I don’t know why that is. Maybe because I play more and more at home, and there isn’t always a pick at hand, I just end up using fingers.

I also find I get more expression out of the fingers these days, and I like it that way. Probably live I’ll never do that, because live, people want to hear it the way it was on the record. But it’s always slightly different every night. Although I’m playing that solo almost note for note, it always comes out differently because of the different feelings going through my head or the fingers falling in different places. But that’s the closest to a set piece that I have, I suppose.”

Below, you can listen to Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ one more time to delight your ears.