Brian May’s Ovation Pacemaker 1615 12-String
This is the guitar that Brian used to record Love of my Life, ’39, and the intro part on Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Since two of these three songs came from the same album, A Night at the Opera, that means that Brian likely acquired his first Ovation 12-string sometime just prior to the studio sessions, so around early to mid-1975.
As is his usual practice, he used the same guitar when performing the songs live with the Queen. However, in more recent years and tours, he switched to a Guild 12-string instead.
The guitar features a Sitka spruce top, the famous Ovation bowl body type, an ebony fretboard, and a walnut bridge. It’s an “electrified” model, equipped with a FET preamp and a Piezoelectric Steel String pickup, which obviously meant that it could be plugged directly into an amp.
Brian likely owned more than just one of these guitars – so in case something went wrong with one of the Ovations mid-tour, he would have a quick backup.
Brian’s way of Stringing it
According to Brian, he strings this guitar upside down. This doesn’t mean that the guitar is strung for left-hand use, but that he simply swaps the heavy and the light strings that go in pairs on 12-string guitars.
I string it upside down, with the lighter strings on the treble side.That means that when I’m picking with my fingers rather than the thumb, I’m picking the high strings, so you can play tunes on it a bit more easily.Brian May on 9 Queen guitars that aren’t his Red Special
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