Most guitarists usually play with their fingers or an opening pick, but Queen’s Brian May has found an alternative when it comes to playing, often using sixpence to help him get the sound he wants.
For those who don’t know, a sixpence coin, often also referred to as a tanner, is a British coin that was first minted in 1551. The coin was originally made in silver until 1947, afterwards. what it was made from cupronickel. In conversation with Radio BBC Raised on Radio [per Guitar World as heard below], May has confirmed that he still prefers to use the sixpence when he plays to this day.
“I used to use very flexible peaks because I thought it was good for gaining speed,” he explains. But gradually I found out that I wanted more and more hardness in the peak, and the stiffer it is, the more you can feel what’s going on with the string in your fingers. So in the end, I picked up a coin, and it was just perfect. That’s all I needed. “
He continued, “I changed the way I held the opening pick, sort of bending one of the fingers, and I never came back from that point.”
He added: “It’s hard enough to give you all this contact, [and] it is also flexible enough not to break your steel strings because it is made of nickel silver, ”he said. “And it has this nice jagged edge, and if you turn it at an angle to the strings, you get a nice kind of splash. So to me the guitar is like a voice, and that splash is one of the consonants which help to make the guitar speak. “
The guitarist recently had successful eye surgery and it was revealed in April that Queen co-founders Brian May and Roger Taylor were working with current singer Adam Lambert to try and write new music. But it is true that the musicians had not yet found anything in which they were confident.
Brian May talks with BBC Raised on the radio
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