Brian May’s Gibson Flying V

Brian started using this Flying V as a backup for his Red Special in 1982 after the John Birch replica was damaged. Like most of Brian’s backup guitars back in those days, this guitar too ended up being just a necessity and was ditched right after the Hot Space Tour.

I also have a Flying V, which is a recent acquisition. I got it because I smashed up my Birch guitar. I got very frustrated with it one night and uncharacteristically threw it offstage. It happened to be a very high stage, and it smashed into lots of pieces.

Guitar Player magazine – January 1983, Interview by Jas Obrecht

Based on the few photos that are available of Brian with the guitar, his Flying V had a tobacco sunburst finish, white body binding, a stop-tail bridge, and two humbuckers with no metal covers.

A decent photo of Brian with the guitar, including a little bit of story behind the concert during which it was photographed, is available on Matt Granz’s Flickr page – it’s worth checking out.


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7 months ago

The party line is that he bought it to replace the Birch replica, but he actually had them both for a while, as a photo from early August 1982 in Toronto confirms. There, you can see Brian with the original homemade guitar and, next to him, both the Birch and the Gibson Flying V.