Brian May’s Hallfredh Acoustic Guitar
Brian received this guitar from Dave Dilloway in exchange for his Egmond parlor guitar. Dave was Brian’s friend and bandmate – he played bass guitar in their band called “1984” from 1964 to 1968.
At some point after receiving the guitar, Brian modified it so it would sound more like a sitar. He did so by adding some fretwire before the bridge saddle, which the strings would vibrate against when played.
Yeah, I have a very old, cheap Hairfred which makes that buzzy sound that’s on “Jealousy” [Jazz] and “White Queen” [Queen II]. I’ve never seen another one like it.
I made it sound like a sitar by taking off the original bridge and putting a hardwood bridge on. I chiseled away at it until it was flat and stuck little piece of fretwire material underneath. The strings just very gently lay on the fretwire, and it makes that sitar-like sound.Guitar Player magazine – January 1983, Interview by Jas Obrecht
Aside from the songs mentioned above, the guitar was also photographed among the band’s instruments during the Ridge Farm Studio rehearsals session in the summer of 1975. These rehearsals were of course in preparation for the “A Night at the Opera” studio sessions. However, it’s unknown whether Brian ended up using the guitar on any of the songs or not.
Hairfred or Hallfredh?
Even though Brian himself most often referred to the guitar as “Hairfred”, based on excellent research by Phil Chapman, it was discovered that the brand name is actually Hallfredth. We won’t post any of Phil’s research here out of respect, so if you want to learn more about it please visit – Hairfred guitar: a tale of torn labels.
GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted on this page, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.
If you notice a piece of gear missing, and you wanna add it yourself, you can do so on this page Add Gear to GroundGuitar.
In case you want to talk to me directly and privately, please use the Contact Form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)